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English Matters

Discussion in 'Education & Personal Growth' started by Ansuya, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. knot2share

    knot2share Gold IL'ite

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    Kammo, glad to see you too! Aapka dil phir bhi bachha hain ji!!!

    And thanks for that edit - it does read much better now. That is exactly my problem too - I type as I speak to you in my head and never go back to read if it is/was right or not.

    Getting back to serious issues now - Srama's query below is yet to be answered isn't it??

    Ansuya,

    a quick question. Can you please help me understand how to, where and when to use hyphen, comma and semi colon.

    Thanks!

    And if I can add something to that please - what is the difference between hyphen, en-dash and em-dash ? When would one use these? I have a vague idea but not very clear about it. So, would like to hear from the expert. Thank you!
     
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  2. pandora

    pandora New IL'ite

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    oops!!!
    was just testing whether the edit button works!
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2013
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  3. Radhai

    Radhai Platinum IL'ite

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    Oye Uttaraa... u happy? :rantI typed "Thank You." to an important mail.. went back and edited it to " Thank You" felt incomplete.. then to suppress my nagging feel opted to leave a voice mail and avoid the dreaded period!! and to think that this period can show up any day of the month.. :spin
     
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  4. knot2share

    knot2share Gold IL'ite

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    Pandora!! - too late, as I just read through the bold ones in the article. The new word that I came across recently is 'ululant' introduced by an friend who is into poetry of course. Only such people and journalists can churn words like that into their writing!! Perspicacity ........ Indubitably ....... really, do they want us readers or not???

    I do like the sound of 'ululant' - the way 'l' plays on my tongue - delicious, yeah! yumsmiley
     
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  5. Ansuya

    Ansuya Platinum IL'ite

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    Dammit, people.

    "Ululate" is a common word to those of us exposed to traditional African or Arabic cultures. Knotty, you are right that it is seductive sounding, because it is somewhat onomatopoeic - that is, it sounds like what it is describing. A crowd of ululating women creates a dark, hypnotic, extremely evocative mood.

    As for the big words, look at any well-written article in a respected English-language source (NYT, BBC website), and the writing is, more often than not, clear, precise, and accessible. As far as I'm concerned, any journalist worth her salt will AVOID language that confuses or alienates three-quarters of her audience. The purpose of communication is to communicate - not to fan out our vocabulary-feathers, peacock-like, so that people can ooh and aah at how "learned" we are.

    Or maybe I'm just making excuses because I am easily confused by complex sentence construction and obscure terminology.

    P.S. Knotty, I'll get to the hyphen discussion as soon as I can set aside some more time to procrastinate and ignore what I'm supposed to be doing.
     
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  6. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Ansuya,

    My English professor used to say, "Communication is to express not to impress". You are echoing the same sentiment here. I remember going through the initial public offering of a company in 1996 when all the Underwriters made a simple business plan and strategy into a very complex English text with their linguistic skills. SEC had a drive called, "Simple English" prospectus to make sure companies don't confuse the investors with their use of complex words. Then, our in-house counsel and many of us sat down to simplify the prospectus to explain the business properly to the investors.

    Viswa
     
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  7. knot2share

    knot2share Gold IL'ite

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    Thanks Ansuya! I suppose I am the only one who knows very little about 'ululate'. Sorry!! I managed to listen to a couple of videos on ululating. Since Aunty Google says 'howling' or 'wailing', I expected it to sound more like 'aawooooooooooo' than a high pitched ululating :) . But I get it and now I understand why that is a very common word.

    No hurry at all on the hyphen discussion. Please take your time and you must finish what you were planning to. Ignore or procrastinate ?? NO NO! This can wait.

    PS: I did not realise that IL now does not allow you to edit your own post on the same day. Earlier we used to have a 24 hour window, but that has now shrunk. So, pardon me for my typo in the previous post. I wrote :

    The new word that I came across recently is 'ululant' introduced by an friend

    and should be

    The new word that I came across recently is 'ululant', introduced by a friend
     
  8. Uttaraa

    Uttaraa Platinum IL'ite

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    In Toastmasters, there is a functionary called 'Grammarian' who notes interesting usage of words during a meeting, and at the end of the session, delivers his report. IL is abundant with rich vocabulary, word play and slang that users sprinkle in their writings. If we had an observer, similarly watching the traffic of vocables streaming through the forum, what would that report look be like; I've corralled some of the girdled words of IL that grabbed my attention this year are -

    Soks and his Latin, Greek, French, German and sometimes when he is lazy, the standard English he treats us with. There are hoard of words but if I were to pick one there was one short post with words 'sans' and 'avec'. In French, sans means without and avec means with. I don't know why but my eyes glowed on seeing the pair and the way he interposes his posts with lush language;)

    Ansuya and her not so schoomarmish presence here! Her usage of this word in a post rippled a laughter that warped my belly.

    In the beginning of the year, the talks on infractions stirred my receptors. Should we issue infraction, cast infraction or throw and catch infraction - IL was buzzing with this word with one popular usage of sending infraction like an inquisitor's papal bull. Infraction taking on a new meaning of indictment, and I loved the way it was bandied in the corridors of law-makers.

    My favourite 'troll' and all the associated trollish, troll-like, trollable acts. IL is my first and only virtual forum visited as a daily ritual and I was not aware of a devious version in netspeak of a middle-earth troll plodding in the forums till I came across the word here. And every time someone alerts the group with entry of 'Troll', I imagine us armoring with sticks and sickles to fight him/her off.

    'Take someone to the task', a quick search reveals the spike in usage of this phrase whilst offering a shoulder to cry. A consoling member, a sympathetic mother, a fellow victim demanding a fair trail and criticizing, reprimanding the culprit's acts.

    The word of the year - the more I saw the word cropping up everywhere the less I was convinced that it will fade away. And it remained on the billboard at the top for weeks and the cover posts rallied the word to the top as it started to tumble. A naive DIL trapped, naive neighbour overworking during pot-lucks, naive DH exploited by in-laws, naive colleague, and we had our naive posters. The word naive, the way it is pronounced itself makes a case of innocent free from mens rea. This season with the word humming in my head I said to my mate -'Lets go to that naivety play'. I only hope he did not misconstrue my malapropism and apprehend it as my stance of nativity as a naive act.

    Would love to read your picks of the year ;)
     
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  9. Radhai

    Radhai Platinum IL'ite

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    - to each their own (mostly a pre-emptive measure to get out of arguments:rotfl, sometimes used as an escape route too)
    - agree to disagree (when one of the party runs out of points or patience):)
     
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  10. Uttaraa

    Uttaraa Platinum IL'ite

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    Rads,

    Perhaps, both the phrases equate the usage of graphic 'showhand' in situations where rolling a white flag is felicitous in ending a conversation.

    I was expecting my commissary to trawl the pages and turn up with atleast 20 words ;)

    Good job! The second one is one of my favorites here. I should use it on my mates someday when they advise purple goes well with green ;)
     

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