Posts Tagged ‘Composition’

I’ve been blogging for approximately five years now.  As everyone else, I was terrified during my first few months.  First, because English is not my native language and second, because I had no previous experience in writing publicly.  I feel this is a great responsibility.

Even though I have been studying English for more than fifty years, I still consider it a challenge to communicate in English.  There are so many different ways to express an idea; and it gets even more complex if you plunge into local expressions known as idiomatic phrases or idioms.  Each English-speaking country has its own particular idioms, which mean absolutely nothing to others who don’t live in that country or particular geographical areas within that same country.

Spelling errors, typos, incorrect sentence structure, bad grammar, sloppy writing styles, and poor content will all add up to losing credibility.  If you’re not careful in ensuring that your writing follows the rules of the language, you’ll end up with only one reader—yourself.

I commit myself to proofread very carefully what I write in Lingua Franca, but now and then, some typos seem to leak between the cracks.   Considering this fact, I read my posts several days later to see if I discover some unwanted pesky typos.  I usually do, and immediately correct them.  If I don’t, please let me know.

I was surprised of the many English mistakes that are included in mainstream Web sites, newspapers and/or  magazines.  I recently stumbled upon a Web site dubbed, “Terribly Write” which dedicates valuable time to detect these English errors. The name of the author of this site  is Laura, and she follows failed English like a hound dog.

This is what she wrote on her site about this issue:

“With the billions and billions of pages floating out there in the Web galaxy—and the billions and billions of words they contain—it’s no surprise that you’ll notice an occasional typo or grammatical slip. But, every typo, misspelling, wrong word, and punctuation misstep erodes the credibility of a website.”

I believe Laura hit the nail right on the head.  Constant errors in your posts will kill your blog, not matter how hard you try to keep it afloat.   By clicking this link, you will find some of the many English mistakes detected by Laura during her linguistic explorations.  Yahoo seems to be one of her favorite targets, as you will soon find out.

Another one of my New Year’s Resolutions, is to keep Lingua Franca as clean as possible from sloppy use of the English language.  I know, it’s a steep hill that requires a lot of work and dedication.  But you the readers, deserve that and a whole lot more.  Good Day.

Source:  Terribly Write – Laura

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(Credit: Pixdaus.com)

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My experience in learning another language is that it involves consistent dedication and long hours of study.  In my case, I have been studying the English language since I was six years old.  I know it sounds excessive, but I never had the opportunity of living in an English-speaking country; therefore the use of the language has been sporadic.

Blogging in English has been an excellent opportunity to link me more to the language; specially the written part of it.  Currently, I speak English on rare occasions.  One of those occasions is when I meet Americans at the airport in my freelance transportation business.  I try to make the English conversations as pleasant as I can.  My satisfaction is to leave satisfied customers behind.

Serious blogging requires the proper use of a language, in an effort to keep readers returning for more.  Those of you who are constant bloggers know how difficult this task is.

This post is about the proper usage of e.g. versus i.e. which are frequently confused.

The Latin expression “exempli gratia” (e.g.), usually shortened in English to “for example”, is often confused with “id est” (i.e.).   Exempli gratia (e.g.)  should be used after defining a class, to give an example of a specific instance (or more than one; you can provide a list).  It should be used inside parenthesis followed by a comma.  Literally, exampli gratia means “for the sake of example”.

Example: “The simplest crayon sets feature the primary and secondary colors (e.g.,  red and green).”

In the above example, the general class is the noun phrase “the primary and secondary colors”, which if you remember your first art class is the set {red, blue, yellow, purple, green, orange}.  “e.g.” here has provided examples from that set of colors.

The Latin expression Id est means “that is”“That is (to say)” in the sense of “that means” and “which means”, or “in other words”, or sometimes “in this case”, depending on the context; may be followed by a comma, or not, depending on style (American English and British English respectively).  It is often misinterpreted as “in example”. In this situation, e.g. should be used instead.

To further clarify the expression, “i.e.” should be used after a statement to explain it in another way, typically only one other way but possibly two (more would likely be confusing).  It could also be used to define a single word.

Examples: “Most crayon users prefer to scribble (i.e.,  draw erratically)” or “The most common crayon mishap involves a trip to the otorhinolaryngologist (i.e. the crayon has been inserted into the ear or nose).”

In the first example above, a single word was defined; in the second example, the word was implicitly defined, but the context of the whole phrase was clarified.

It seems to be more common for people to misuse “i.e.” when they mean “e.g.”, as opposed to the other way around.  Next time you want to polish your posts, keep in mind the correct usage of these Latin expressions.  Fine tuning the language is a good habit for a serious blogger.  Good Day.

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Entrance of a house in Bussana Vechia, Italy.  (Credit:  Pixdaus.com)

Entrance of a house in Bussana Vechia, Italy. (Credit: Pixdaus.com)

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