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BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?

GUEST,dianavan 27 Aug 07 - 06:46 PM
Little Hawk 27 Aug 07 - 11:25 AM
Uncle_DaveO 27 Aug 07 - 11:04 AM
Amos 27 Aug 07 - 10:51 AM
Dave the Gnome 27 Aug 07 - 10:28 AM
Dave the Gnome 27 Aug 07 - 10:27 AM
Uncle_DaveO 27 Aug 07 - 10:16 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 27 Aug 07 - 07:14 AM
Little Hawk 27 Aug 07 - 03:06 AM
Slag 27 Aug 07 - 01:43 AM
Rowan 27 Aug 07 - 01:34 AM
katlaughing 27 Aug 07 - 12:58 AM
Amos 26 Aug 07 - 11:58 PM
Janie 26 Aug 07 - 11:40 PM
Stilly River Sage 26 Aug 07 - 11:35 PM
JennyO 26 Aug 07 - 11:30 PM
Uncle_DaveO 26 Aug 07 - 05:36 PM
Uncle_DaveO 26 Aug 07 - 05:32 PM
Janie 26 Aug 07 - 05:08 PM
Little Hawk 26 Aug 07 - 04:50 PM
Janie 26 Aug 07 - 04:43 PM
M.Ted 26 Aug 07 - 04:30 PM
katlaughing 26 Aug 07 - 04:21 PM
Stringsinger 26 Aug 07 - 04:08 PM
katlaughing 26 Aug 07 - 03:37 PM
GUEST,mg 26 Aug 07 - 03:29 PM
GUEST,Don Firth 26 Aug 07 - 02:47 PM
Uncle_DaveO 26 Aug 07 - 02:31 PM
Little Hawk 26 Aug 07 - 02:05 PM
mg 26 Aug 07 - 01:55 PM
Little Hawk 26 Aug 07 - 01:44 PM
Uncle_DaveO 26 Aug 07 - 12:52 PM
Janie 26 Aug 07 - 11:51 AM
Amos 26 Aug 07 - 11:42 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 26 Aug 07 - 11:28 AM
Uncle_DaveO 26 Aug 07 - 10:11 AM
Slag 25 Aug 07 - 11:49 PM
Amos 25 Aug 07 - 04:38 PM
Little Hawk 25 Aug 07 - 03:43 PM
GUEST,mg 25 Aug 07 - 02:34 PM
GUEST,mg 25 Aug 07 - 02:14 PM
Little Hawk 25 Aug 07 - 02:02 PM
Amos 25 Aug 07 - 01:51 PM
Little Hawk 25 Aug 07 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,Don Firth 25 Aug 07 - 11:42 AM
Amos 25 Aug 07 - 11:34 AM
GUEST,Don Firth (I get my computer back next week) 25 Aug 07 - 11:23 AM
Rapparee 25 Aug 07 - 11:04 AM
Little Hawk 25 Aug 07 - 12:48 AM
GUEST,leeneia 25 Aug 07 - 12:43 AM

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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: GUEST,dianavan
Date: 27 Aug 07 - 06:46 PM

1. Write about what you know

2. Make it short, sweet and to the point

3. Remember your audience


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 27 Aug 07 - 11:25 AM

I asked my dog about that, Peter. He says you're wrong. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 27 Aug 07 - 11:04 AM

Another definition of "access" is that in The Random House Dictionary of the English Language:

an attack or onset, as of disease

I remember the account of some ancient philosopher (please don't ask me his name), of whom it was said, "In an access of anger, he struck and killed his wife."

I meant "access", and frankly, never thought of it as an unusual usage.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Amos
Date: 27 Aug 07 - 10:51 AM

The rare use of 'access' to mean 'a moment of' (for example, "swept up in an access of generosity" is perfectly correct, and honorable the more for its rarity.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 27 Aug 07 - 10:28 AM

...or even langUage


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 27 Aug 07 - 10:27 AM

BTW - ending with a preposition and splitting infinitives were rules formulated out of classical Latin, in which neither could be applied. Why on earth we should continue to apply the rules of a long dead language is somewhat a mystery. Double negatives, while ungainly, can sometimes be effective. The mathematical rule that two negatives make a possitive do not apply to langiage.

D.


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 27 Aug 07 - 10:16 AM

Peter K, yes, that was me--or I suppose I should say "that was I".

And I meant it. You apparently thought I meant "excess". I meant the word "access".

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 27 Aug 07 - 07:14 AM

Was that really you, Uncle DaveO, writing about "an access of informality"? Oh dear....

I'm drifting towards Amos's position re depending on who/whom one is writing for - but I don't buy his explanation. For a start, what he cites as a parallel example (depending on whom's ox...) introduces the posessive case. In the original we're looking at a noun clause I think. Thus it could have been "depending on the weather." So I think we parse it independently of all else. In that case the verb (with auxiliary) is "is writing" and "one" is the subject. Ergo "whom/whom" is the object so "whom" is correct.

Little Hawk and mg, it is verbs that take objects, not prepositions.


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 27 Aug 07 - 03:06 AM

Actually, Uncle DaveO, I agonized for at least 30 seconds over whether to type "us pedantic types" or "we pedantic types". I did. I finally settled on "we pedantic types" because it seemed like the better choice. If I were to go into the deeply complex issues concerning why it seemed to be the better choice, I fear it would take an inordinate amount of time and typing.

Therefore, I'm not going to. ;-)

I also agonized briefly about whether to end the same sentence with the preposition "in". Very briefly. ;-) ;-) I think it's okay to end sentences with prepositions.

Like my dog, I am a law unto myself, so I do all these things with the sublime assurance that I am right, after agonizing for what seems a suitable period of time.... (big grin)

Amos, I realize that "my bad" is considered acceptable by many people now. But then, so is rap music! I rest my case. (smile)


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Slag
Date: 27 Aug 07 - 01:43 AM

Write the way you talk (see above). What is the purpose of your writing (know your audience, see above)? If you are writing for yourself then the problems should be minimal. For a class? Find out what the instructor considers grade A work. For a Publisher or an editor? Good luck. If one should take time to actually comment on your submission, highly value whatever they tell you.

If you write using your normal speech patterns and grammar, the creative process will flow much easier. Never consider your first draft a finished work. Get it down. Work it. re-work it. Let it incubate. Come back to it after a while. Show it to another writer whom you trust, or who you trust. Details like grammar you can work out later.

Read Hemmingway, Mark Twain, Jack London (his "Martin Eden" is a fine read, semi autobiographical, about a young writer, no less!), Jack Kerouc, Ray Bradbury, etc. Read the greats and study how they do it. Tennesee Williams uses a million words, like little bush strokes in a magnificent painting. Hemmingway paints a picture with a few broad strokes and leaves you to fill in the details. Develop your own style.

You asked the question so I have to assume you enjoy writing. Make the enjoyment your highest goal. If other people enjoy what you have created so much the better, but have a blast doing it!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Rowan
Date: 27 Aug 07 - 01:34 AM

I've always been a bit parsimonious about parsing. But I know one shouldn't use "But" or "and" at the beginning of a well-written sentences; one's likely to get a foot up the butt! Although around here it's usually expressed as "a foot up the khyber!"

I'll get out of your way now.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Aug 07 - 12:58 AM

Uncle DaveO was wrong in one instance, though.:-) It was me he was quoting rather than mg about agreeing with him and Sins, etc.

And further, Dave, I know what you mean. My dad used to drive my mother nuts when he would get on the phone with other oilfield workers. He'd slip into the "ain'ts" and other "improper" words/grammar when she knew darn good and well he knew better. It was his way of working with them, though. He never held himself above any of the workers, even if he did have a marvellous command of the language.


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Amos
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 11:58 PM

A classic frolicking ground for us who are pedants.

"My bad" is perfectly acceptable vernacular American English. It is not formal language. It has become widely used as informal acknowledgment of error. And it is a LOT faster to say than, "That was my mistake. which I acknowledge."




A


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Janie
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 11:40 PM

Dave O. is not only write. He is also right. (See what I mean about being proofreading challenged? I've come back to this thread several times, and just now caught that one.)


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 11:35 PM

That's more or less a myth--prepositions are okay to end sentences with. ;-D It's a normal speech pattern, many people have stopped fighting it.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: JennyO
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 11:30 PM

for us pedantic types to frolic in.

Never use a preposition to end a sentence with :-)

How about "in which we pedantic types can frolic"?


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 05:36 PM

Little Hawk, you said (and in a thread about good writing and grammar, no less!):

This could yet become a classic thread for we pedantic types to frolic in...


"For we"???

That would be "for us pedantic types to frolic in." Tut-tut!

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 05:32 PM

GUEST,mg said, in part:

I agree with Janie and Uncle DaveO,though, a creative writer will use various voices depending on their characters and thus "correct" grammar will vary also.

Yes, mg, that's right. But I wasn't referring to the language you'd put in the mouths of fictional characters. I meant our own voices in different circumstances.

What I meant (and evidently didn't make clear) is that we tend, sometimes unconsciously and sometimes by design, to blend into the society we frequent. If I should be (as occasionally has happened) in the company of garage mechanics and truck drivers and other good ole boys from southern Indiana for a period of time, my pronunciation, my vocabulary, and my grammar will tend to blend toward their dialect. If I go all the way, I'll be adopting the grammar of that dialect. In that company, that's not ungrammatical, except if one tried to judge it by the standards of a more formal dialect that just doesn't apply.

I worked for many years for a federal judge--a brilliant, well-educated man with a doctorate in law from times before a mere law degree got to be called a "Juris Doctor". His legal writings were not only well-reasoned but expressed in fine grammatical English style.

But there were times when, in an access of informality, he'd come out with shocking down-home southern Indiana expressions like, "I come downtown and eat breakfast this morning," which would never, ever, have flowed from his pen. He was speaking in dialect, by reflex.

I remember teasing him a little about this in an informal setting, and I said, "I think, back in the days when the Judge was engaged in down-and-dirty politics in southern Indiana, he spoke as his constituents did for political effect, and blended with the voters so thoroughly he internalized their way of speaking, and it's still there years later, just waiting for an opportunity to break out."

He nodded. "That's right."

To one degree or another we all do that.

No grammatical scheme is absolute in all circumstances. There is no such thing as "The English Language;" there are only many dialects we lump into a group we call "English". So far as that goes, there is no "Language"; it's all dialect. And every dialect has its own grammar.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Janie
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 05:08 PM

If I ain't a gonna expend the energy to check my spelling, I sure ain't gonna expend the energy to go beyond 'my bad' :>)

Specific to Mudcat, I do wish it had a spell check feature. Typing to another program with spell check and then copying the edited result to here doesn't make having written conversations worth the effort, much, though not all of the time. I am not an effective proof reader of my own work. I don't know what has happened to my spelling, which used to be quite good. Now I often can not remember how to spell words, or don't recognize that I am mispelling them. On top of that, I am not a great typist. Whine, whine, whine.

Janie


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 04:50 PM

"My bad" is not good English, Janie! It indicates that one is not willing to expend the energy required to say something with more than 2 syllables in order to express the concept that they are in error. (grin!)

This could yet become a classic thread for we pedantic types to frolic in...


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Janie
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 04:43 PM

Dave O. is absolutely write about the spelling. I knew it didn't look right but was too lazy to check it. My bad.

Janie


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: M.Ted
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 04:30 PM

It is probably best not to ask this group any question that requires an absolute answer.


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 04:21 PM

Hi, Frank, yes, thanks. I still have my copy from Junior High! But, for editing it is the Chicago Manual of Style which happens to be online now! Of course, I'll have to subscribe if I get the job and want to be able to access all areas of the publication.:-)


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 04:08 PM

Hi Kat,

The magic words are "Strunk and White". (Beg, borrow, steal, .....)

And: Eschew any obdurate propensity for sesquapedalianim.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 03:37 PM

A well-known British author Alan Sillitoe has always tested the quality of his writing by seeing how it sounds when he reads it aloud.

I've always done that with my writing, too. It makes a big difference sometimes.

I am going to send a link for this thread to the senior editor to whom I sent my editing test. I am sure it will get a chuckle and then, he'll probably want to hire the lot of you! Oops, maybe I'd better not until I know I have the job!**bg**

I agree with Janie and Uncle DaveO,though, a creative writer will use various voices depending on their characters and thus "correct" grammar will vary also.


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 03:29 PM

true...and most of us don't speak that way...I rarely use whom in speech and quite often break the rules in writing. But it is part of my religious heritage to at least know the rules...mg


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: GUEST,Don Firth
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 02:47 PM

"This is the sort of pedantic nonsense up with which I will not put!"
                                                                           --Winston Churchill

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 02:31 PM

Many people in today's world see "whom" (in whatever context) as hifalutin', and wouldn't use it to save their lives. A little hyperbole there, but you get the point, I'm sure.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 02:05 PM

You're right, by golly, "whom" IS the object of "you ask"...

There are a lot of lonely "whoms" wandering around these days, because so few people can be bothered to use them.


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: mg
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 01:55 PM

whom is the object of ask. You ask whom. I still think there is a hidden, assumed, object there. Whom you ask is a phrase that goes with the hidden object. Depending on the cat whom you ask. Depending on the sailor whom you ask. It is like a contraction where the word is implied but not spoken.

But you could have one of those intransitive verbs and then who would be ok. He is the person who wrote the book. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 01:44 PM

Yes, it would properly be "depending on whom you ask", since "whom" is the object in that case, and "you ask" is not the object. The again, it would properly be "depending on who does it". That's because in that case the object of the prepostion "on" is an entire phrase "who does it", so the word "who" in that entire phrase remains unchanged. The word "who" is the subject of the phrase "who does it", while the phrase itself is the object of the preposition "on".

Confused yet? ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 12:52 PM

Janie told us:

Maticulously correct grammer is not something I consider to be an absolute of good writing.

Meticulously correct grammer spelling, however should be considered an absolute of good writing!

Actually, grammar (despite what our grade-school teachers may have told us) is not that absolute in itself. Every one of us speaks at least one (probably more) dialect of the language, and perhaps writes a somewhat different dialect. And each of those dialects has its own grammar, understood and followed by its speakers/writers.

Cockney has its own understood rules. Gullah has its own understood rules. Ebonics (remember that?) has its own understood rules. Geordie has its own understood rules. And on and on. The set of rules we generally refer to as "good grammar" represents an attempt to codify what is expected in high, formal English.

Every one of those grammars (and there are hundreds if not thousands of them) is subject to change over time. The formal grammar I was taught sixty years ago is recognized today by the foremost English mavens as severely outdated in many respects. What passes today for educated high English grammar will be laughably outdated in another sixty--actually, in another fifteen or twenty--years.

The trick is to recognize at what level of formality one intends to write or speak, and to what audience, and in what dialect.   Then apply the appropriate grammar to that standard.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Janie
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 11:51 AM

Maticulously correct grammer is not something I consider to be an absolute of good writing.

Janie


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Amos
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 11:42 AM

I beg to differ,, Pete. The clause "depending on for whom one is writing" is built around the verb construction "writing for whom". A parallel example would be "depending on whom's ox is being gored.". Obviously, whom is incorrect in the latter example. It is facetious. It is not about depending on someone, but rather an idea that depends on for whom one is writing. The concept is what is depending, and it is depending on a fact.

If the verb to depend meaning "relying on a person" was being used, the construction might be, for example, "depending on who is depending on whom." :D


A


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 11:28 AM

Uncle DaveO you've got a good test, and for people who don't know the answer instinctively it can also be used to resolve the I/me question. BUT.... You've allowed Amos to lure you away from the phrase at issue. It is depending on who, not write for who. I wonder if Amos would ever write depending on whom you ask. For my money Mrs Beezley was right and deserves to have her PC returned.

Notwithstanding his pontificating on the subject, George Orwell had a ponderous, sometimes laboured style. However he did write (in a different essay) "The art of writing lies largely in the perversion of words." He was bemoaning gaps in even in the colossal English-language vocabulary and must have had a point or Edith Sitwell would not have needed to write: "The morning light creaks down again."

A well-known British author Alan Sillitoe has always tested the quality of his writing by seeing how it sounds when he reads it aloud.

Rapaire, there is nothing exceptional about it's and its. One is a contraction, the other is a personal adjective like his. Or should that be hi's?


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 26 Aug 07 - 10:11 AM

Amos said:

One does not "write for who".

Many of us (including me) tend to glaze over when given the technical grammatical reasons for approved usages. I flatter myself that I can write well and write grammatically, but somehow my English teachers never made most of the terminology relevant or meaningful.

There are simple procedures, though, that accomplish the same (and correct) result, without resorting to grammar jargon.

In the case of who/whom, the decision of which to use is always solved by retaining the sentence structure but substituting "he" or "him" ("she" or "her").

In Amos's example above, "One does not write for he" is immediately recognizable as wrong. It has to be recast as "One does not write for him." Thus, "write for whom" is indicated.

I have never seen this test fail to indicate the right usage.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Slag
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 11:49 PM

Ah so Amos-san. I believe acronym is PICNIC (Problem in chair, not in computer). Guest Leeneia, see my earlier post: Know your audience, Know your subject. To wit, four time better than half-wit.


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Amos
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 04:38 PM

One does not "write for who". C'mon For is the preposition directing the verb to write, and whom is the object of it.




A


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 03:43 PM

(laughing in disbelief here...)

Ummm...yeah. Right...

Have you considered getting treatment for your condition, mg? Try freebasing some "Little Friskies" in order to attain greater clarity.


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 02:34 PM

oops ..I meant whom is object of preposition for. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 02:14 PM

I think you are both wrong. It definitely should be whom but not for the reasons stated. I think depended on is one of those phrase verbs and whom is not the object of the preposition on but the object of the phrase period. But that could be argued. I also think that whom is the object of the preposition whom and that there is a hidden or assumed object..such as "the person" .... so the phrase or clause of the sentence is really (I am rusty obviously)
is really

depending on (verb phrase..but that is arguable) (the person...assumed object) whom one is writing for (or for whom one is writing).

I am Catholic. We know these things, or at least used to. mg


Tsk tsk, Little Hawk! That should be either ". . . depending on who one is writing for," (which ends the sentence with a preposition, but that seems to be more acceptable these days), or ". . . depending on for whom one is writing," (which is more formal).


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 02:02 PM

Once again proving that anyone can eventually hit the bullseye...if he just fires enough arrows...

Right, Amos? ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Amos
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 01:51 PM

Ms Beezeley, you are sadly, deeply, in error.

Little Hawk, for once, is precisely correct.

So va fingule.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 01:23 PM

LOL!!! (snort!) MORE, people, give me MORE examples of Chinese translation!!!

To say "on who" in any context is grossly incorrect, Don. It has to be "on whom" to be correct, because "whom" is the object of the preposition "on".


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: GUEST,Don Firth
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 11:42 AM

The only way they'll get my computer away from me (once I get it back from the shop) is to pry it off my cold, dead desk!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Amos
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 11:34 AM

Ours:

If even this does not remedy the problem, you may be dealing with a condition known as FBKC (failure between keyboard and chair). In this case, please restore your computer to its orignal packing and return it to the vendor for a complete refund.

Theirs:

You are spawn of a devil and do not deserve a computer. Surrender the computational unit and all containers to the State and await reassignment.


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: GUEST,Don Firth (I get my computer back next week)
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 11:23 AM

". . . depending on whom one is writing for."

Tsk tsk, Little Hawk! That should be either ". . . depending on who one is writing for," (which ends the sentence with a preposition, but that seems to be more acceptable these days), or ". . . depending on for whom one is writing," (which is more formal).

Mrs. Beezley


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Rapparee
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 11:04 AM

Our approach: You got that sucker turned on, dummy?
Their approach: You got that computer turned on, stupid one?


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 12:48 AM

That's interesting leenia. Can you compose a few sentences that demonstrate our approach and the chinese approach, so as to show the differences?


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Subject: RE: BS: What are the absolutes of good writing?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 25 Aug 07 - 12:43 AM

So far no one has mentioned one very important factor. If you know what kind of people will be reading the thing, then craft it to meet their needs and expectations.

My husband has done much technical work for a company from Taiwan. For a long time, reports were greeted with frustrated cries of "It doesn't make any sense!" I suggested that he try writing reports that contain as few abstract nouns as possible, because the Chinese are used to writing that is based on pictures, and pictures are based on concrete objects.

That company had gone through 11 consultants in 10 years. They have kept my husband on for nine years now.


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Mudcat time: 16 October 9:26 PM EDT

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