Grammar police

(122 Posts)
chattychattyboomba Thu 16-May-13 00:05:05

there is no such word as 'Et' as in 'I et spaghetti for dinner, I et the lot!'
If you want to say 'eat' as in past tense, the word, my friends is 'ate' ATE! Do you hear me!!!!???angry

Also 'i were sat there' NO! Wrong!
I was sitting there... OR I sat there.
Got it? Good.

DebsMorgan Thu 16-May-13 16:51:51

Ah, but I think smugness is forgivable if you are right wink

HintofBream Thu 16-May-13 17:14:49

Just realised in my previous post I said "propositions" instead of "prepositions". No pedant seems to have noticed, and I don't know whether to be relieved or cast down as it was clearly too boring for anyone to read. Except you, kind LittleMGB, and I did realise which way round your son does it once I had read your post properly. Certainly I was not suggesting you were trying to be posh, though I am sure you are, in a very nice way.

KateSMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 16-May-13 17:20:11

Hullo all,

The OP has asked us to move this to pedant's corner...so we'll be doing that shortly!

<manically checks grammar>

HesterShaw Thu 16-May-13 17:25:14

And there I was thinking it was a friendly chat between normal people sad

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 16-May-13 17:29:09

OK! Lovely!

That way it won't go whoooosh after 90 days. We get to keep it forever! grin <and snort slightly>

MadBusLady Thu 16-May-13 18:33:54

Hester I was once on a thread about the difference between "cue" and "queue" that got moved to Pedants Corner shock. Pedantry used to be arguing into the night about the split infinitive, now it's apparently pedantic to object to glaring mistakes.

Crikeyblimey Thu 16-May-13 18:54:05

I know this thread has moved on but I have a northern accent (Lancashire) and occasionally say things such as "et" and even "get it etten" when I am being deliberately "Lancashire" but I don't use those words in regular speech and I do know the difference.

Accent is not an excuse for poor use of language and poor grammar. Different occasions call for different levels of pedantry.

HesterShaw Thu 16-May-13 18:56:49

Oh yes. THAT thread. The one in which we normal people pedants pointed out that "que" isn't actually a word, unless you counted a small French word as in "est-ce que....", possibly meaning "that" though I can't be sure.

MadBusLady Thu 16-May-13 19:00:19

"Et" isn't poor use of language though Crikey, it's a legitimate pronunciation. See the sound files in the dictionary entries people linked to above.

Ha, "que" yes, I'd forgotten that. confused

Someone has probably said this already, but 'et' is a perfectly legitimate way of pronouncing 'ate'. In fact it is listed before the 'ate' way in my dictionary.
One which really annoys me is when people say 'The reason being is that....' instead of 'The reason being that...'.

I seen this thread and had to post.

I don't think anyone is suggesting accent is an 'excuse', though.

People are saying that grammar and pronunciation don't always need to conform to RP standards. In some countries (eg. France, though even there, I understand there is a movement away from this), there is a strong idea that certain grammatical forms or accents are 'right' and others are 'wrong'. This hasn't always been the case in the UK and increasingly it is recognised that multiple forms might be acceptable.

Crikeyblimey Thu 16-May-13 19:11:43

Well my spoken English certainly doesn't conform to RP - I have a lovely accent and I'm proud of it - I say bATh and pAth with a hard "a" but it is still the correct word.

I wasn't aware that "et" wasn't incorrect (ooh - scary double negative), so I stand corrected.

I also say "ate" with an accent (sounds more like "ayt" when I say it).

I wasn't trying to correct you. I love accents, all kinds.

I just meant to explain that lots of people wouldn't talk about English grammar or pronunciation in terms of 'correctness' or 'incorrectness'. Lots of people would acknowledge that one is seen as more formal, but that doesn't make the dialect version 'incorrect'. I think the basic idea is to do with saying that dialect versions get a raw deal and so do people in those areas, often, so it is important not to make out that someone is somehow more 'correct' for having been born in an area where RP is spoken. It's similar to the way that, back in the day, you'd never hear a Scottish accent in a radio presenter, but now you do.

Crikeyblimey Thu 16-May-13 19:26:47

Sorry if I came across a bit snippy - didn't mean to.

I am actually quite surprised that "et" is acceptable pronunciation (not in a bad way, just surprised).

I do think accents get a hard time. It's not that long ago that people's educational level was assumed based on accent. Thankfully, we seem to be moving away from that.

I remain pedantic about using correct words though. Sit vs sat, less vs fewer etc. having said that, this isn't an accent thing - its simply wrong. Does big me though when people play the "accent" card to excuse this type of incorrectness (which I know isn't a word smile )

Not at all; I was worried I'd been rude.

I'm just saying that there is an argument that any dialect pronunciation is acceptable - there doesn't have to be a hierarchy. And I'm with you in thinking it's good that we're moving away from the hierarchical idea. I had a wonderful teacher who spoke broad and proud 'poor white' Texan, which he explained means the kind of accent associated with the really badly-educated people.

I don't agree that fewer vs less is 'simply wrong' - I think it's complicatedly wrong wink - but I agree that it is far, far more important to understand why people use 'fewer', than it is to understand why someone pronounces a word in a particular way. IMO understanding about grammar is useful, even if you choose to break the rules and even if you're so used to a dialect from that you prefer that. RP accents are less important to understand than standard grammar.

Crikeyblimey Thu 16-May-13 19:42:59

Yep - seems we do agree.

My lovely dad taught me the difference between less and fewer and it makes it really really simple. You can have less mashed potato and fewer chips smile. If you can pick an item up and remove it from the group, then fewer is correct. If, by removing an amount the pile gets smaller - it is less smile

Great at grammar "mi" dad smile

grin

Awww. Bless your dad.

See, my mum's approach was different ... I have her voice shrieking in my ear '^fewer^! Not less!' Also she would shriek 'to whooooom' in a ringing voice in the playground while I waited for the earth to swallow me up. blush

It worked, though.

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 16-May-13 19:53:46

LRD, is your Mum Margot Leadbetter?

Mine wrote letters to the school complaining about the quality of our English lessons. I quietly died at the time, but realise now that my god, she was right.

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 16-May-13 19:54:26

Where did my grin disappear to after Margot Leadbetter? Are they not allowed in pedant's corner? confused

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 16-May-13 19:54:37

Oh, they appeared there.

Erm, I had to look up that reference, so obviously not! grin

She (and my grandpa) did teach me precisely enough pedantry to annoy my teachers, though.

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