SitePoint Sponsor

User Tag List

Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    blahblahblah
    Posts
    1,447
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    All by myself... and my doubts with wording and phrasing.

    Direct link to current questions

    Hi,
    I work with a friend on a blog. I structure the content, choses the subjects, do the research and provide the info related to the featured subjects.

    My friend is doing the actual writing, wording and phrasing. Well, he will be without an internet access for the next 10 days or so. It was quite unexpected.

    Anyway, I am doing the writing during that short period of time. I often have doubts when it comes to writing. There's even is something irrational about it.

    I got great help from SPF members about such matters. I will keep my questions in this thread and hopefully I will be able to keep on adding content to the site. If it's really out of place, please mods let me know. I am also posting questions on english specific forums, but the help I got here was great so... why not enjoy it?

    Thanks in advance for your help and understanding.

    Here we go with a first set of doubts/questions. Most of the time, the context is not needed and would make the posts painful to answer to if provided to every question. When needed, a context is provided.

    1. "They ran to the bar entrance" vs. "They ran to the bar's entrance." Does that sound good at all?

    2. "The guy was speaking into a payphone"

    3. (Context: a coach to one of his players) "You've got to be at the doc's in about two minutes!"

    Thanks in advance
    Last edited by jjshell; Oct 4, 2007 at 14:06. Reason: updated current questions

  2. #2
    SitePoint Zealot
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Wiltshire, UK.
    Posts
    106
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    For me:
    1: "They ran to the bar's entrance" as long as they are outside the bar, if they were inside I'd say "They ran to the door."
    2: That conjures up an image of a nutter standing outside the booth and talking at it, I'd prefer "The guy was speaking on a payphone", although that conjures up images of sitting on top of the booth.
    3: I think the coach would be more forceful and say "You've got to be at the Doc's in two minutes."

  3. #3
    SitePoint Addict BlazeMiskulin's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    330
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It looks like what you're writing is fairly casual in tone, so the exactness of the grammar might not be quite as important as you think.

    There are a lot of things which are incorrect according to the text books, but which are perfectly acceptable in common speech. If you're trying to present information in a "comfortable" manner to the reader.

    The simplest thing to do is to read the sentence out loud (or have someone else read it so you can listen) and ask yourself "Does this sound like something a real person would say?" A common mistake writers make is writing in a technically-precise manner at the expense of readability.

    Language is a living thing. It's meanings, pronunciation, grammar, syntax, and style are all constantly changing. The rules are in place to identify the foundation and basic structure to the language. Language is not about rules. It's about communication. If you're communicating your intent and meaning to the majority of your audience, then don't worry too much about the rules.
    M Blaze Miskulin
    President
    Geek Niche Web Hosting

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    blahblahblah
    Posts
    1,447
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for your help

    Please allow me to post another set of questions:

    1. "He has allowed himself a few days off."

    2. Context: a girl looking at a guy. "Everything about him remembered her of someone she had met before."

    3. "There are many ways for this financial operation to turn/get wrong"

    4. "Please wait 30 minutes for the people in the room to get out."

    5. For someone looking absent: "His friend's face was blank".

    Thanks in advance

  5. #5
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Winona, MN USA
    Posts
    10,053
    Mentioned
    142 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)
    1. Most in English would just say "He took a few days off"
    2. 'reminded' instead of remembered
    3. instead of turn or get, I would use 'go'
    4. Okay as is
    5. okay as is.

    jjshell --- can I ask you a question? No offense intended, but is English a first or second language for you? The reason I ask is because you seem to be stumbling over some common phrases. You're making writing too hard. If English is your first language, write the same way you talk. If you'd say "I allowed myself a few days off" then go ahead and say it.

    However, if English is your second language, I do understand the problem, having used web translators to go from English to other languages. Phrases, especially in the vernacular, often lose a lot in the translators.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  6. #6
    SitePoint Zealot
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Wiltshire, UK.
    Posts
    106
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    In addition to Shyflower's comments, context may be important, in your first example if you are trying to emphasise that, for the person involved, it was unusual for him to take time off then 'he has....' or 'he allowed himself....' will help with that emphasis, if you're not trying to emphasise the fact then 'he took a few days off' is fine.
    In your final example, although it works Ok, it might also mean that the friend wasn't understanding a point made, again context is important.
    A British phrase (I don't know if it's used in the US) would be 'He looked (as if he was) miles away.' The bit in brackets is optional, more formal with it, more colloquial without.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    80
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Okay, let me give my to cent's:

    1. "They ran to the bar entrance"- I'd go with this one. The apostrophe s on other disrupts the flow of the sentence" so to speak. Or you can just use "They ran outside/indide the bar."

    2. No need to say he's speaking. its implied. Just use "He is using the payphone." or "He is in the booth"

    3. "You've got to be at the doc's in two minutes!"

    ---------------
    1. Shyflower is right on this one, however, if the guy is a workaholic, then this is better: "He allowed himself a few days off to________" fiil in the blanks with supporting reason.

    The rest, I agree with shyflower.

    You can do this!

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    blahblahblah
    Posts
    1,447
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for your help... It is so appreciated! You have no idea.
    @Linda: English is technically my second language, French being the first. However, I am always using English (in my job, with my expat friends etc.), and I spend a part of the year in the UK (which implies that I am not using a translator btw. ).

    In French speaking countries, there's a big difference between speaking in French and writing in French, hence my uneasiness. That's also why I work with someone for the writing part of the project, even though I guess I could do it on my own...

    Anyway... ya still up to back me up? Yeah. :yeah:

    1. (Context: after some homework) "Once they're done, they'll go/they go to bed"

    2. "to be overcome by/with a feeling".

    3. "The world is spinning around and around/round and round"

    4. "I know that story inside out (meaning: I've heard it a thousand times)"

    5. "For some people, taking holidays make them feel worse that working."

    Respect

  9. #9
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Winona, MN USA
    Posts
    10,053
    Mentioned
    142 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)
    1. the difference is between they will go to bed and the implied they do go to bed. Again, context matters. The first (will) would be used if you were talking to someone in the present about something that will happen in the future. The second (they go) would be used if describing something that normally occurs. For instance,
    "Tonight, after they finish supper, they will go to bed. " vs. "Every night after they finish supper, they go to bed."

    2. I think either works.

    3. either

    4. correct

    5. makes instead of make, feel worse than (just a typo I think)
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  10. #10
    SitePoint Addict
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Posts
    325
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Hey jjshell,
    Just one thing:

    5. "For some people, taking holidays make them feel worse that working."

    This sentence's phrasing introduces redundancy. You've already identified who you're talking about (some people) so mentioning "them" again is a kind of overkill. Might be good to rephrase so that you only mention them once:

    "Taking holidays makes some people feel worse than working."

    It's still a bit ugly though. What about:

    "For some people, taking holidays is worse than working."

    Depending on the context, you might want to explain what "worse" is:

    "For some people, taking holidays is [more stressful, less fun, even more boring, etc.] than working."

    ...Aside: who are these people????!?!? And where are they holidaying?


    g

  11. #11
    SitePoint Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    80
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Unsurprisingly, I agree with shyflower for the most part

    some suggestions though,:

    2. "to be overcome by/with a feeling".

    I'd personally be more comfortable in using "overwhelmed with (emotion)" instead of "overcome with a feeling"

    3. "The world is spinning around and around/round and round"

    The better choice is "round and round" but "The world is spinning" is enough. Its better off not using the tired cliche.


    5. "For some people, taking holidays make them feel worse that working."

    "For some people, taking holidays feels more terrible than working."
    "For some people, taking holidays is worse than working."
    A simple "Some people feels more terrible taking holidays." can also work.

  12. #12
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Winona, MN USA
    Posts
    10,053
    Mentioned
    142 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Wilks_eye View Post
    Unsurprisingly, I agree with shyflower for the most part

    some suggestions though,:

    2. "to be overcome by/with a feeling".

    I'd personally be more comfortable in using "overwhelmed with (emotion)" instead of "overcome with a feeling"

    3. "The world is spinning around and around/round and round"

    The better choice is "round and round" but "The world is spinning" is enough. Its better off not using the tired cliche.


    5. "For some people, taking holidays make them feel worse that working."

    "For some people, taking holidays feels more terrible than working."
    "For some people, taking holidays is worse than working."
    A simple "Some people feels more terrible taking holidays." can also work.
    I thought a lot about number 2. The way I look at it, it depends upon the emotion. We tend to describe negative emotions as being thrust upon us from the outside (overcome by anger) and positive emotions as springing from within (overcome with love). Still, I think the choice between by and with is subjective and for purposes of a blog, may be splitting hairs.

    I do agree with number three that round and round may be a bit better, but I also believe that either is correct. Although the phrase is wordy, in my opinion it still makes the sentence more descriptive.

    Of the choices given by Wilks_eye, the second is the best. The third is grammatically incorrect for two reasons. The first being the singular verb feels describes the plural 'people' and the second reason is that when you compare using a word such as 'more' you need to address both sides of the comparison.

    Georgina is right that the redundancy could be clipped from the sentence. My feeling is that the sentence would read better as such:

    " For some people, taking a holiday is worse than work."
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •