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Being on here for a few years as moderator and reading the odd post (well, most of them) I‘ve noticed particular Americanisms that can have the the Yanks up in arms, like Call Me Al, and have the rest of the English speaking world dumbfounded. A poster wished that Call Me Al’s car DOESN’T burn and it’s interpreted as he does. It wasn’t a one off. Someone posted this morning that the Dragon CAN’T get a little taxing when they mean it CAN. There’s also the old “I COULD care less”, which to us non-American means it is a actually possible for you to care less than you do at present, when you really mean you COULDN’T care any less. What is going on with the English language here that what is understood is the opposite to what is written?

While I’m at it, another little thing is the confusion of many with the usage of then and than. It occurs quite often, again from the US.
‘Than‘ is used when comparing things, ‘then’ when talking about time. Eg Pete is taller than Joe. Sam walked to his car then opened the door.

Is it simply common confused usage being accepted or something not being corrected back in third grade in some regions in the States? I really don’t know and would appreciate some enlightenment. I’ve given this little spiel as a rest of the world point of view, or at least the view from this bottom corner of the English speaking planet.
 

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Ohhh my, now THEN, you have opened a can of worms with more potential THAN a bomb!
Did I pass???? heheeee ;-)
Clever. Well, someone had to say it. To me it seems the same as saying stop when you mean go. I just want some opinion on the subject.
Also getting a rest of the world view might help with interpreting responses from locations other than the US by the US members. An awareness by an American that they are writing the opposite of what they mean might help them correctly interpret what members from other parts of the world are saying and might just avert the odd blow-up.
 

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Don't forget the country was founded by people expelled by Cromwell and then had a really large infusion of Germans a couple of centuries later (German is actually our largest ethnicity, which surprises many). Therefore, we stubbornly do whatever we want (i.e., speak American) and could care less what others think!

Note that Canadians are much tamer and remain loyal subjects. I would expect them to correctly use English.

I kid . . . I kid . . . . ;)
 

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With the advent of texting (etc) the grasp of writing skills has definitely been adversely impacted. We also try to get things out ASAP (See just did it myself : As Soon As Possible) that we trip up! As for our American Cousins, they are always looking for short cuts (Color vs ColoUr etc heheee)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Therefore, we stubbornly do whatever we want (i.e., speak American) and could care less what others think.
So you do care what others think or you don’t care what others think? That’s the confusion that non-Americans have with interpreting what you write/say and that you guys have with interpreting what WE are saying.
 

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So you do care what others think or don’t care what others think? That’s the confusion that non-Americans have with interpreting what you write/say
Ahhhh . . . but that's the beauty of it. Keep 'em guessing, don't show your hand, stealth.

Seriously, I think what you may be seeing is the "egalitarian in practice" nature of American society where those of humble background and modest education can achieve enough success to become 4C owners. Add to that a high proportion of immigrants who may not speak English or American as a first language. This country is somewhat different in these regards.
 

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A poster wished that Call Me Al’s car DOESN’T burn and it’s interpreted as he does. It wasn’t a one off.
Well, Call Me Al got reprimanded by the moderator too for his outburst:
Or, Call me Al, you could turn the sensitivity down a bit.
There’s also the old “I COULD care less”
I imagine this is just ignorance and muscle memory. Some people don't know it's actually "couldn't care less", some people do but are so use to saying "could care less", then it's difficult for them to relearn.


‘Than‘ is used when comparing things, ‘then’ when talking about time.
This is a mixture of education and laziness. Some people are just too lazy to use the appropriate word, some aren't well educated to know the difference.

Ultimately, grammar and spelling isn't an issue if the idea is still conveyed. Language is about communication. If you're able to communicate your thoughts to another party and they can understand what you mean then you have completed your objective. And not to pick on Call Me Al, but he often uses "hardness" to describe treadwear is a perfect example of being incorrect, but still communicating properly.

It's only hilariously ironic when someone claims intellectual superiority over another, but struggles with proper grammar (see this posts: #184 and #188: Global warming discussions.).


So, in conclusion, I couldn't care less if someone uses proper or improper grammar as long as I understand what they are trying to say.
 

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Err, I think we all form some odd phrases: 50 British phrases that Americans just don’t understand

Then let's not get started on Cockney rhyming slang.... :)

I'm with you on the then/than thing though. I don't see it as often as you seem to, but it is annoying when people don't understand proper grammar. Rather than a regional thing, I might posit that there's a generational component...
 

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Before proceeding, probably need to breakdown the demographics of a typical USA-based 4C owner who posts here versus a typical >insert whatever country< 4C poster posts here.

On equal demographics, you'll likely find equal rigor when it comes to grammar and other related issues, such as form, formality, tolerance for typos, etc.

I go over to some message boards (e.g., Toyota), and posters from other countries have me as dumbfounded as some are left here about how some USA-based posters write.

That being said, there are some prolific posters on here that I will never interact with, nor will I even read a line of the long, long dissertations that they throw up on these forums. #cringe
 

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Before proceeding, probably need to breakdown the demographics of a typical USA-based 4C owner who posts here versus a typical >insert whatever country< 4C poster posts here.

On equal demographics, you'll likely find equal rigor when it comes to grammar and other related issues, such as form, formality, tolerance for typos, etc.

I go over to some message boards (e.g., Toyota), and posters from other countries have me as dumbfounded as some are left here about how some USA-based posters write.

That being said, there are some prolific posters on here that I will never interact with, nor will I even read a line of the long, long dissertations that they throw up on these forums. #cringe
ibid :)
 

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Alfanut,

Boomer!

If autocorrect corrects it, it must be right, right?

Even when I proof read a post before hitting the post button, I still find that I have to use the edit post function when I read it back later, which is what those three dots in the top right corner are for, for those that don't know.

ENGLISH [capitalisation automatically carried out by my iPad] is a bastardisation of multiple languages and is therefore very hard to ensure that all sentence structures and grammar rules are followed - even by people that claim to speak the Queen's ENGLISH [iPad did it again].

Languages are always evolving, if English [over-ruled iPad to express my free will against automation] hadn't evolved, we would still be speaking and writing like Shakespeare and other famous authors. I for one, am glad that this is not the case.

As a Baby Boomer myself, it amuses me when a superfluous "like" gets thrown into a sentence. By the way, how we speak and write as Boomers is just as amusing to GenX and GenY and whatever else follows those.

My favourite is when someone says that they have "lucked-out", when for me it make more more sense to say that you have "lucked-in".

Now if we, as ENGLISH [did it again] speaking nations struggle with it, spare a thought for our German, Spanish, French, Italian, etc etc speaking friends on this forum that are reading it in English [iPad got it right for once] and converting that into their native language. How confusing is the English language?

Back in my day, Alfanut would have been issued with a red pen and he would have written all over my post with remarks like 'grammar, spelling and see me'.

If we are going to give Alfanut a red pen, can we also give him some gold stars to issue for those posts without errors.

Love your work Alfanut.

Cheers,

Alf.
 

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Thanks Alf, I appreciate your thoughts. I have trouble with lazy fingers that accidentally touch my iPad screen which can then duplicate words or even enter words completely different to the ones I typed. I’m forever rereading my posts and finding mistakes.
Just to hijack my own thread, can you attend our little breakfast run on Sunday? I’m hoping the weather won’t be as crook as predicted.
 

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My humble (Canadian) take on it just isn't the written word but the spoken one as well. Good or bad grammar aside, many speak their particular dialect often with slang derivative accents and pronunciations which is IMHO lazy use of the spoken word. eg; Ya'll or teli...what's wit dat? Something a Canadian would never do!😜
 

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Love this topic although of course it is going far afield from our 4C. Here in the US we are a very mixed society with people from every nation and ethnic group. When I lived in San Francisco the neighborhoods were mixed also. Many immigrants have been here quite a few years. Their native dialect has become so Americanized that a person from the country they came from might think they are speaking a new language ;-)
Languages also have so many sayings and slang expressions that can be hard to understand. I understand that in England when you say you are a bloody fool, that is quite a nasty remark. Here it wouldn't get more than a chuckle. I have been to the UK twice for a month at a time and loved it.But my wife was quite taken aback when at one hotel they told her they would knock her up in the morning. In England that means they would give you a wake up call in the morning. If someone in the US asked if they could knock my wife up in the morning they might find a mouth of broken teeth ;-)
Many times people say a person has an Italian or French accent. Here in the US there are also regional accents. Americans all know which parts of the US you came from when you start speaking....even if you are speaking "English". As Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady said....."They haven't spoken English in America for years." And when I was in the UK, the Irish, Scottish, English people all spoke English but they didn't sound at all alike to me. I also have a good friend who lives in Australia....same story there. They also speak English but very different from the English spoken in other countries.
Cultural differences are also fascinating. My oldest son was married to a Japanese woman who was first generation born in the US. I enjoyed the differences between the cultures but I remember my son having to teach me how to interface with her parents and relatives to avoid creating wrong impressions or awkward moments.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I'll can't help feeling I've brought this topic up previously but felt it was time to bring it up again. I'm not naive enough to believe anyone is actually going to change, but what I'm after is for understanding. Some are ready to think the worst and fly off the handle (go ballistic) simply because of a misinterpretation of language. Hopefully, I've given a few examples as food for thought. Keep it calm and read carefully. As Philster often finishes, peace.
 

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And THEN there is the BRAKES vs BREAKS issue mostly found in the automotive forums. Now don't even get me started on the YOUR vs YOU'RE and TO, TOO, TWO issues!!
 
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