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Old 13th July 2007, 12:55   #1
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Smile A YetiGuide® : How To Post In Proper English

Hello everyone,

Often, for many of us, the English language can be a weak point. A Dictionary or Thesaurus may not give us the correct meaning, or proper usage, especially with relevance to Team-BHP and our love for all things automotive.

We are an automotive forum whose members communicate in English and just as we do all things properly, why not post properly too?

Why is it that some posts can get everyone's immediate attention and some just are so difficult to read, that they get ignored? We will address exactly such issues and many more.

I've started this thread as a basic guide to spellings and punctuations and anything else that comes along.
I am sure that together we can build up an excellent database for people who are interested. I can help and intend to do so.

Please feel free to ask a question, any question with regards to English. No questions are stupid. It's better to ask here, than post in wrong English.

Remember, your posts are preserved on the forum and people can read them for years. It's better to ask a simple question in this thread, than have the world read your post in incorrect english.

AND, if for some reason, you are shy, send an email. I will try to help you. But it's best to ask here, the answers will help our entire community.

Let us create posts that will be a pleasure to read and will have everyone's attention, without needing a single smiley!

A few important points first:
  • This thread is not part of the rules at Team-BHP. It is not mandatory for you to use absolutely correct English on the forum.
  • The thread is merely a discussion on the English language, with a few tips to improve post quality.
  • This discussion is relevant here because Team-BHP is an Indian forum that uses English as the means of communication between it's members.
  • Every bit of information on this and the following few posts, is generated at Team-BHP. No reference books or websites have been quoted.

This is not an English lesson. For this there are many online dictionaries and language based sites.

I am no expert, but I love the language and study it, so I tend to make a few less mistakes. But we all make mistakes.

This thread is only for those members, who would like to improve the quality of their posts. Members are neither obliged to read, nor post on this thread.

There are many amongst us that love English, as a language. You are requested to chip in with your experience and expertise.

This is an open discussion.

There is NO shame in saying - "How should I say this?" or "Is this how you spell this word?" or "I'm trying to say this. What's the best way to word it?". Life in itself, is a daily learning process.

So let's set aside our egos and pride and get down to improving our language skills.

Last edited by Rehaan : 15th July 2007 at 14:59. Reason: v1p3r's correction
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Old 13th July 2007, 13:05   #2
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Default Basic Problems

Have you realised that sometimes some posts are almost impossible to read and you end up zoning out completely before you've finally reached the actual reason why the person created the post in the first place and you haven't even understood what he was trying to say so you just move on to the next post. Sometimes someone will make a single post and everyone has understood what he said and in fact have even responded to it but nobody even understood what you were trying to say rather they have completely misunderstood your point and it has even turned into an argument that you're not even part of?

Just like the one above, a badly punctuated sentence is an absolute pain to read.

Punctuation is not an option. It is a necessity. If you want to make a readable, enjoyable post that people respond to, use good punctuation.

Knowledge is the food of life, but punctuation is the salt, pepper and masala. The same food will not taste good without it and taste fantastic, if used well.


Sentences: Avoid long sentences. Don't type as you think, think first, then type.
Nobody likes long sentences. Keep the length of your sentences short and people will be able to read it easily. Even 2 words can make a fine sentence. Like this.


Periods: No, I am not referring to those heart-warming, delightful 4 days in a month that every married man looks forward to.
I am simply referring to the gaps, between your sentences.

Try to visualise yourself speaking. You have variations. Sometimes you pause while speaking, simply to allow the other person half a second to absorb what you just said.

The same applies for your post.

Use a single full stop, after each sentence. That's what it's for, isn't it?

More full stops, like this..... simply indicate an unfinished sentence (like stopping for a quick breath of air, in between your sentence). Why would you separate every sentence with it? It is an annoying habit and now against Team-BHP rules! (That's how annoying it is, lol)

Ending your sentence in a full stop, truly indicates the end of your sentence. If you wish to pause slightly, use the comma

Did you know that the comma is the least used punctuation mark on this forum?
I would rate it as one of the most powerful, yet subtle forms of punctuation there is.

Read this: He drove his car out turned left floored the pedal and zoomed off.
Now read this: He drove his car out, turned left, floored the pedal and zoomed off.

2 commas have made sure that the post is very easy to understand.

Don't forget, all punctuations (. , ? ! : etc.) need to be followed by a space immediately after.


Capitals: It is very important to begin a new sentence with a capital letter. It signifies the beginning of a new sentence and is easier to mentally register, for the reader.

Remember, the following words need to begin with a capital letter
  • The first word of every sentence (including names of new threads)
  • Proper names, of cars, manufacturers or people (Team-BHP nick-names do not apply)
  • "I" the article that refers to yourself

However typing completely in capitals, indicates either an urgency, or a raised voice, or just plain shouting (RUDE, RUDE, RUDE!!!!)
This is basic forum and chat etiquette.


Extra Blank Lines: On a forum, a whole bunch of words can often lead to confusion. I find that the change of topic, even slight, indicates the need for a new paragraph.
IMO the use of one or two blank lines, between points, makes it easier on the reader's eye.

While, this is not necessarily correct English, it does make your post more readable. Do consider it.


Brackets: A fantastic tool, to say something, without taking the limelight away from your actual point.

Read this:

Let's say you like the Red SX4, or even the white SX4, will you pay so much for it?

And now read this:

Let's say you like the Red SX4 (or even the white SX4), will you pay so much for it?

Easier to understand, isn't it? It's also great for an OT quickie. (heh heh)

Hey, I saw a bottle green Palio parked outside!! (I was with my girlfriend, having coffee at the time)


BIU: You see the 3 signs there, on the top left hand corner. Bold, Italics and Underline. Use them to highlight important parts of your post.


Quote: When you want to quote someone, what need is there to quote the entire post?

If you are commenting on a particular part of the post, just leave that part in. Don't de-emphasize your point by quoting a complete post, most of which is probably irrelevant to your answer. By quoting just the required sentence, your point will have come across immediately.


Language skills: Always remember, it's not the words you know. It's how you use them.
You don't have to use big words to sound educated. You can make a wonderful post, using simple, everyday English words.


These are just a few points I thought of. I am sure many more will follow as this thread chugs along.

Cheers,

Sam
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Old 13th July 2007, 13:34   #3
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Default Advice or Advise??

Many of us have great confusion with these 2 words.


Advise is pronounced with a slight "z" sound at the end. it is a verb, an action.
I will advise you. Can you advise me? GM advises an oil change. - all of these are correct.

Can you give me some advise is completely wrong.

---------------------------------------------------

Advice is pronounced with a clear "s" sound at the end. It is a noun. A thing.

I will give you some advice. He gave me some good advice. I will take his advice. Please give me your advice. - 100% correct.

As you can see, in this case, the advice is a thing given. Not an action, the action is to give or take it.
Therefore Let me advice you is also wrong.
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Old 13th July 2007, 14:30   #4
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Default Apostrophe Now! - Redux.

Apostrophe: A very powerful punctuation. This word is pronounced APAWS-TROPHY.

------------------------------------------------

Apostrophe followed by an s: Often threads are begun and sentences are made, without even understanding what an apostrophe is used for.

Here is an incorrect sentence: What is the difference between component's and speaker's?

When you indicate a plural, there is never an apostrophe!

Here is the correct use of the apostrophe:I simply love Rudra's photography.
In this case, the photography belongs to Rudra, it is his skill. Hence the apostrophe is required.

Also correct:I cannot stand the Zen's rear lights. Once again, the rear lights belong to the Zen, so you need an apostrophe.

But you cannot say: I used to have two car's, or GM sold 1000 Optra's this month. - This is totally incorrect. To indicate plural, just drop the apostrophe.

Like this:I love all kinds of girls. - This is a correct (and true) sentence.

--------------------------------------------------

Apostrophe, without an s:

It is also used without an s, in many circumstances, mostly while combining words.

I'm: This is a combination of I and am. The apostrophe is used.
Im going. Incorrect.
I'm going. Correct.

He's
She's
A combination of HE/SHE HAS or HE/SHE is. He's a jerk. She's got poor taste in men.

They're and There:

They're: A combination of They and are. They're is often swapped with there. Incorrect. "There going to be there.", quite wrong.

They're going to be there. is correct. There is a word, relating to location. They're is a combination of THEY and ARE.

Similar words are

We'll (We will)
They'll (They will)
you'll (You will) - pronounce as YOOL. not yawl. for example: You'll be in India, next week
He'll (he will), pronounced Heel, not hell (lol)
She'll (she will), pronounced Sheel not shell.
She'll be coming round the mountain when she comes (when she comes)

Similar combinations are:
I'd
You'd
He'd
She'd
We'd
They'd

All the above are a combination with either WOULD or HAD. For example: They'd rather be in Thailand. She'd promised me a kiss, but gave me a slap.

I'm (I am)
you're (you are)
He's (He is)
She's (she is)
They're (they are)
We're (We're)

Example: We're going to Ibiza. Sing it like the Vengaboyz.

You're and Your:
You're is commonly mistaken with your. It's incorrect to swap the two.

Your is a word that describes a belonging. This is your house. Your family is inside. Your car is outside. Your girlfriend is beautiful.

You're is a combination of YOU ARE. You're driving too fast. You're a tall guy. Hey lady, you're hot looking!!
Therefore it is wrong to say Your an idiot. Your running away.


The combination of YOU and ALL is incorrect, mostly and a very Texan thing to do. For some reason it has been adopted in India.

Example: What are you'll doing here? All of you'll are stupid (Pronounced yawl).
Let me inform you that this is not correct English. It is an Indian acceptance (Just like we say things like Chal I'm going). Since it is an acceptance, we all use it. I do too, on occasion.
So you'll had better understand, lol.

Who's and whose: Another common mistake. The two words are not swappable. It would be correct to say Who's there? Who's going to ride my bike? Who's made this mess? But totally incorrect to say " Who's car is this?"

Who's is a shortening of WHO IS (or who has).

If you want to ask the above question you can say "Whose car is this? I wondered whose turn it was next. Whose friend are you anyways?"

Whose is always used with a belonging. In the above case, the turn or the car or the friend.


Apostrophes are always required at a time of shortening and/or combining.
Let's go. (let us go)
Y'day, B'day
Shan't (shall not), won't (will not), wouldn't (would not)

You cannot say I wont tell you. You need the apostrophe. He won't lose the race.


Sometimes an apostrophe is used to show a gap in pronunciation (it's not pronounciation, it's pronunciation, but the word is to pronounce. *Shrug* don't ask me why)

For example Hawai'i. (Back to the island, heh heh) The apostrophe shows a marginal gap between the 2 i sounds, as it is a foreign language.

There are many more uses for the apostrophe, I am pretty sure we will discover them, as this thread progresses further.
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Old 13th July 2007, 14:46   #5
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Default Common mistakes

Than, Then: While the difference between these two words (in spelling and pronounciation) is not much, their meaning is very different.

Than: (Pronounced with an AY sound, like bat, cat) is a comparitive term.

For example: My car is cleaner than yours. I would rather eat potatoes than meat.
You cannot say something like: My car is faster then yours. This is quite wrong.

Remember, while comparing two things or actions, the word than is used.

Then: (Pronounced with an EY sound, like bed, get) is a time based word.
For example: I ate and then I left. She showed up right then. Then what do you mean? So then, what should we do.

Each one of the sentences have something to do with a comparitive time. One action, related to the next one.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Spelled or Spelt? Spilled or Spilt?: Both are correct. It is more UK english to end the past tense in a t. Americans will always say spilled.

IN the USA, it would probably be wrong. Not here.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Where and Were: Again 2 similar words, commonly misspelt in the forum.

Where: (Pronounced WHAIR): A question, regarding the place.

Where are you? The car was next to me, right where I was standing. Where shall I find a garage? All correct.

Were: (pronounced wur) Past tense of "to be", used either in plural(Items or people), or in second person (you).

For example: There were some really bad tyres on the car. They were annoyed. Were you happy? You were very cute as a child. We were very drunk that night
As you can see, the tyres and they are plurals of objects and people.
While the last 2 sentences refer to a second person (you)

You cannot say things like: Were are you? She were looking for you. These are quite wrong.
---------------------------------------------------------

Carefull or Careful? Usefull or Useful? When you use the English suffix full, you drop the second L.

Therefore Careful, Useful and similar words have only ONE L at the end.


--------------------------------------------------------------------

More to add have you, young Skywalker? - Post your advice on this thread!


You seem troubled, Lord Vader - Ask your question on this thread!
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Old 15th July 2007, 12:18   #6
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Default Common Spelling Mistakes

Not wierd, it's weird.

Not grammer, it's grammar. *Most common error*

Not qoute, it's quote.

In fact, a useful thing to remember, is that in spoken English, Q is always followed by a U. Always.
The only exceptions to this rule exist on a scrabble board. Words like Qi and Qat are only accepted on a TWL or SOWPODS board, not on this board, heh heh. (Anyone likes scrabble? PM me, I'm an online scrabbler!)

Not gaurd, it's guard.

These are the correct spellings of Rhyme and Rhythm.

Not definately, it's definitely.

Not recieve, it's receive.

Not freind, it's friend.

Not guage, it's gauge. (pronounced GAYJ)

While the verb is to explain, the noun is explanation. Notice one i has been dropped.

Ofocurse there are many more, but my brain is rapidly deteriorating and it's a Sunday morning.

Cheers and love,

Sam
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Old 15th July 2007, 13:56   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Kapasi View Post
While the verb is to explain, the noun is explanation. Notice one i has been dropped.
Ah, guilty as charged. I do this one all the time.

I used to get fairly confused with the spelling of their as well, until someone told me "its like a the with an ir added".

Ok sirji, please explain the

Its and It's.
Its = it is?
It's = belonging to it?

EDIT: actually i just went through your thread and i guess you have used it's for it-is. So i guess there is no "its" in English, unless it means many its.

cya
R

Last edited by Rehaan : 15th July 2007 at 13:58.
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Old 15th July 2007, 14:03   #8
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Very nice thread sam and very informative too.You know written english can be corrected to a great extent but it is rather difficult to correct the pronunciations especially the Uk english.

Last edited by kooldude : 15th July 2007 at 14:06.
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Old 15th July 2007, 14:07   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post
Ok sirji, please explain the

Its and It's.
Its = it is?
It's = belonging to it?

EDIT: actually i just went through your thread and i guess you have used it's for it-is. So i guess there is no "its" in English.

cya
R
"It's" is normally used as the joining of it and is, or it and has. As it is a shorten-and join, you must use the apostrophe.
Example : It's a hot day today.(It is) It's been a long hard journey (It has)

HOWEVER, Its - belongs to it- does not follow the apostrophe rule.

Normally the "belonging" has an apostrophe. Example: This is Rehaan's question.


When the belonging is attached to a pronoun
Mine
Yours
Ours
Theirs
His
Hers
and
Its

There is no apostrophe.

The dog rolled over on it's back WRONG - there should be no apostrophe
The dog rolled over on its back. This car is yours. CORRECT.

I hope that answered your question

Last edited by Sam Kapasi : 15th July 2007 at 14:22.
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Old 15th July 2007, 14:21   #10
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Good thread, Sam! Something that was really needed.

To avoid most common typos, a nice, practical and easy thing that most people can do, would be to use Firefox 2.

Firefox 2.x has a built-in active spell-check function (like the one in MS Word) that underlines wrong spellings as soon as they are typed. We can see the wrong spelling right away and correct it manually, or just right-click and choose the correct spelling.
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Old 15th July 2007, 14:25   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Kapasi View Post
When the belonging is attached to a pronoun

There is no apostrophe.

I hope that answered your question
Darn, i had no idea.
Will try to remember that from now on, thanks.

cya
R
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Old 15th July 2007, 14:31   #12
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Excellent thread Sam. Really really useful. i still keep getting confused between their and there. This should take care of that problem.

Also, other than apostrophe, could you tell us when to use the semi colon correctly?

@hydra good point on the firefox spell check but it doesnt fix grammar which I am not very good at.
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Old 15th July 2007, 14:33   #13
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Great effort in getting this thread Sam! I forwarded it to our office call center and reception . Hope you don't mind!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hydrashok View Post
Firefox 2.x has a built-in active spell-check function (like the one in MS Word) that underlines wrong spellings as soon as they are typed. We can see the wrong spelling right away and correct it manually, or just right-click and choose the correct spelling.
x2 and like when I type this post it underlines hydrashok .
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Old 15th July 2007, 14:34   #14
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Oh Wren & Martin,


Here's bowing to thy magnanimous tutorial of Her Majesty's language - her Lordship is considering a Knighthood to bestow on thee.

Neways whasshaking bro ?

Last edited by theMAG : 15th July 2007 at 14:36.
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Old 15th July 2007, 14:36   #15
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For the spellings, I use a nifty little tool called WordWeb. It sits in the tray quietly, and if you doubt the spelling of a word, just select that particular word, and then start WordWeb. It suggests a correct spelling, if you are not too off the mark. For eg. I always tend to type 'embarrasing' instead of 'embarrassing, which is embarrassing at times. A quick reference to WordWeb helps me eliminate some of these common doubts which I have.
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