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Does Anybody Care? (About spelling)

By Possum 10 March 2009 83

Does anybody care if a sign is spelt incorrectly?

The agents for the units have responded to this, saying the sign will not be changed.

[ED – this sort of attention to detail really inspires confidence in the builders eh?]

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83 Responses to
Does Anybody Care? (About spelling)
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Catty 12:58 pm 08 Nov 09

RatsNest said :

Jivrashia said :

youami said :

Language is flexible – it is worth defending (and creating) shades of meaning to keep communication rich; but spelling will change under force of numbers, as it always has.

Even those that say ‘then’ (which is used to refer to a subsequent event) when they mean ‘than’ (which is used to compare two or more things)?
And the inability to determine the difference between ‘effect’ and ‘affect’?
And the common mistake of using ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re’?
And the list goes on and on… our language has gone to the dogs.

In regards to the ‘then vs than’ ‘effect vs affect’. I have a mate who cannot hear the difference between the e and a sounds in many words. I guess where he grew up the differences weren’t common phonemes. Gets a bit irritating when he is talking about various mates and I can’t tell if he is talking about Ellen or Allen.

The inability to distinguish “then” and “than” points to a complete ignorance of either grammer or usage. I even saw it used in the Canberra Times this morning, where its use made the comment completely confusing, as I did not know if the columnist was advocating doing one thing instead of another (which I think was the intent), or, as was written, doing one thing and then doing another.

youami 11:13 am 13 Mar 09

Emlyn Ward said :

Holden Caulfield said :

Perhaps while you were at the library you should have taken the time to consult a dictionary. Like you, I prefer the spelling “enquiry”, however, the copy of The Macquarie Concise Dictionary on my desk lists both spellings of “enquiry” and “inquiry” as acceptable.

Also, can you please post some reference to your apostrophe theory. Sounds like a load of cobblers to me.

In “enquiry” and “inquiry” we have two distinct words with distinct spellings and distinct meanings.

The fact that the illiterate among us have conflated the two words’ meanings under one spelling is hardly a justification for impoverishing our language like this – dictionaries other than the Macquarie novelty dictionary get it right.

As for apostrophes and plurals of acronyms – surprisingly, even Wikipedia gets this right:
“Multiple options arise when initialisms are spelled with periods and are pluralized: for example, compact discs may become C.D.’s, C.D.s, CD’s, or CDs.”

The apostrophe-less version of pluralised acronyms is a modern development and is not a rule, but rather a fashion.

The bottom line is that you can’t tell somebody that the plural of TV as “TV’s” is wrong – it isn’t.

I think I have to agree to disagree. I do find it amusing that you base your argument on style and apostrophe use against Wikipedia! I mean do you realise that it is a site populated, edited, and updated by anyone and everyone, literate or otherwise. Even the references on the website are not definitive by any means. Wikipedia is not an official source of information by any standards.

And yes, I await the posts asking how I support my argument. But I will not be Wikipedia!


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