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Help me with American vs English  [message #72455] Fri, 20 January 2017 23:33 Go to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 12894



Often we read a story with the word 'awhile' in it. In my experience the English usage of the word is "Rest awhile", that is to rest for a time period. 'Awhile' is an adverb in this deployment.

If I remain in a place for a period I will say "I stayed there for a while" the word 'while' being a noun, preceded by the indefinite article. Often, I see the same sentence in American as "I stayed there for awhile" where the noun now appears to be 'awhile'.

Language does live and vary over time. Has 'awhile' not become some sort of noun in the same manner that 'leverage' has become a verb?



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: Help me with American vs English  [message #72467 is a reply to message #72455] Tue, 24 January 2017 18:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Bisexual_Guy is currently offline  Bisexual_Guy   United States

Toe is in the water
Location: USA Midwest
Registered: September 2015
Messages: 31



Timmy, I tend to agree.   The late Ryan Bartlett, whose writing I really liked, continually used the word "alright" in the Sanitaria Springs stories he wrote, and it drove me (proverbially) crazy!  I was taught, growing up here in the US, to use "all right" instead of "alright," and "a while" instead of "awhile." 

By the way, the Sanitaria Springs stories, from some great authors such as David Fox-Schreiber (Dabeagle), Ryan Bartlett, Cole Parker, Pedro, James Merkin, and Lugnutz (all of whom have one or more stories on IOMfAtS -- see the Story Shelf section) may be found at:

        dabeagle.com/Sanitaria_Springs.html

The timeline of the stories goes from left to right across on the listing.

Another thing about American English, Timmy, which bugs me:  Many American writers seem to be using shorter and shorter sentences.  Have you noticed that?

 
Re: Help me with American vs English  [message #72468 is a reply to message #72467] Tue, 24 January 2017 19:30 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy   United Kingdom

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 12894



"Bisexual_Guy wrote on Tue, 24 January 2017 18:56"

Another thing about American English, Timmy, which bugs me:  Many American writers seem to be using shorter and shorter sentences.  Have you noticed that?



--
I believe the sentence length must suit the rhythm of the text.

A long sentence tends, for me, to be a reflective element, sensitive to the needs of the characters while engaged in thought, sometimes riddled with complex, nay arcane, constructs, a sentence which allows us to take a pause; the semicolon comes into play in long sentences, too. 

Short sentences mean action.

Or emotion

Some have verbs.

Others, none.



Inconsistent use of capital letters is the difference between Bobby helping Uncle Jack off a horse, AND Bobby helping uncle jack off a horse!
Re: Help me with American vs English  [message #72469 is a reply to message #72455] Tue, 24 January 2017 20:16 Go to previous messageGo to next message
William King is currently offline  William King   France

Toe is in the water

Registered: October 2016
Messages: 34



"timmy wrote on Sat, 21 January 2017 00:33"
Often we read a story with the word 'awhile' in it. In my experience the English usage of the word is "Rest awhile", that is to rest for a time period. 'Awhile' is an adverb in this deployment.

If I remain in a place for a period I will say "I stayed there for a while" the word 'while' being a noun, preceded by the indefinite article. Often, I see the same sentence in American as "I stayed there for awhile" where the noun now appears to be 'awhile'.

Language does live and vary over time. Has 'awhile' not become some sort of noun in the same manner that 'leverage' has become a verb?

--

It's easy to get it wrong, but it should be like this:
He said that he would be home in a while.
He said that he would be home awhile.


As regards "alright" personally I've always written it that way, but alright or all right is up to you I believe, with no hard and fast rule.

Let's face it, there has always been a tendance to shorten things in English, once upon a time "always" was written "all ways".

Re: Help me with American vs English  [message #72472 is a reply to message #72469] Wed, 25 January 2017 16:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Bisexual_Guy is currently offline  Bisexual_Guy   United States

Toe is in the water
Location: USA Midwest
Registered: September 2015
Messages: 31



Part of my problems, and they are mostly MY problems, is that I went to school from 1956-1969, when grammar rules were seemingly more rigid than at present.  

There are some wonderful writers on here, and on several other good Internet sites.  I feel fortunate that, years ago, I was pointed to this site, and check it every day.  I certainly am not going to let a few language questions and usages keep me away from this site.

Thanks, Timmy, for all the work you and any others such as Megaman have put in over the years.
Re: Help me with American vs English  [message #72473 is a reply to message #72469] Wed, 25 January 2017 20:14 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Matthew is currently offline  Matthew   United Kingdom

Toe is in the water

Registered: February 2015
Messages: 65



My grammar is pretty terrible at times, well i guess there are worse people, but i tend switch between English and American-English quite often, in a lot of online games with chat, people have often assumed that i was American due to my typing and are genuinely surprised that I was English, I'm not sure why i do it, maybe watching too many US sitcoms and when i used to play online games i spent more time chatting (typing) to americans and it kind of rubbed off on me

Color, colour for example i will use both without even noticing unless someone points it out and other words suffer the same fate

Then there will be times where I'm writing and Open Office will put a red line under it and i am genuinely confused and trying to work out why, because it is spelled correctly and then i eventually work out that I'm using the American spelling

I've probably done it in this post as well, but i am at peace with my shortcomings, I'm never going to ever get it perfect, I'm far too old and set in my ways to get out of these kind of habits
Re: Help me with American vs English  [message #72475 is a reply to message #72473] Thu, 26 January 2017 06:57 Go to previous messageGo to next message
TigerPaw is currently offline  TigerPaw   Canada

Getting started
Location: West Coast Canada
Registered: November 2016
Messages: 8



Don't be surprised at this. The phenomenon first hit here in Canada in the early 70s. The rigorous teaching of grammar, obviously never popular with kids anywhere, began to be eschewed in favour of what I guess could best be termed "an expectation you'll learn by osmosis". Drove our foreign language teachers positively around the bend, every time they'd say something like 'gerund' we'd all give them blank looks and class would halt so they could teach us English before the lesson could continue in French or whatever it was. My formal grammar training, is for the most part what I gleaned from such digressions in French, German, and Japanese courses.

What you have now are teachers (i.e. anyone my age and younger) who were never taught themselves doing the teaching. The end results are hardly surprising. What I saw coming in on resumes towards the end of my working life was pretty hair raising, not to mention what younger staff members would put in memos and such.

It would be overdramatic to say something like it's not dissimilar to the next version of the NewSpeak dictionary having 20% fewer words, but you see it in a variety of ways. Look at what people write, the vocabulary range is shrinking, sentence complexity is going down, grammatical precision is falling. No we're not yet at the double-plus good or mobile-phone texting level ... but you can see which way the curve is sloped.

[Updated on: Thu, 26 January 2017 08:09]




--
tgrpaw@gmail.com
Re: Help me with American vs English  [message #72476 is a reply to message #72473] Thu, 26 January 2017 08:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
William King is currently offline  William King   France

Toe is in the water

Registered: October 2016
Messages: 34



"Matthew wrote on Wed, 25 January 2017 21:14"

Color, colour for example i will use both without even noticing unless someone points it out and other words suffer the same fate



--
I think it goes something like this: 80% of the words in the English language are derived from French. The pronunciation changed and often the meaning got eschewed.

American English is simply a logical conclusion to the process of assimilating a foreign language.Take the word previously mentioned, 'colour'. It is spelt like that in English because it is derived from the French, couleur, only the pronunciation has changed and the spelling follows the change. 

The change doesn't stop there and continues into American English, where colour now become color. Phonetically the change from French to English goes something like this: COO LURE to COL LURE (a harder more guttural sound) to COL LAW.

You might argue that the changes came about through 'lazy' speech, you could quite easily hear the word pronounced CULLA, although I doubt the world is ready to see it spelt like that.

[Updated on: Thu, 26 January 2017 08:12]

Re: Help me with American vs English  [message #72551 is a reply to message #72476] Sun, 12 February 2017 15:16 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Blumoogle is currently offline  Blumoogle   South Africa

Likes it here
Location: South Africa
Registered: October 2004
Messages: 159




The thing which drives me 'round the bend is misuse of the word borrow to mean lend, confusion between renting and letting and other inverse complimentary verbs being used as if they are synonymous. It's an extremely agrivating habbit of those who speak Bantu languages as a first language and English as second language and my staff tend to do it every day. "borrow me your pen, please" is the worst sentence ever, and seemingly beyond hilarious when it prevents communication to the point of bending my mind into a pretsel for 3 seconds trying to interpret it.

I've given up on can and may, will and shall and other adverbs of motivity being used correctly.

[Updated on: Sun, 12 February 2017 15:26]

Re: Help me with American vs English  [message #72555 is a reply to message #72551] Mon, 13 February 2017 12:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Jackboy is currently offline  Jackboy   United Kingdom

Toe is in the water
Location: North UK
Registered: August 2016
Messages: 78



Ohh yes I come across that most weeks too hehehe.

I know exactly what you mean. When I say it should be the other way around, I'm told I am wrong;
But we know how it should be really don't we?

Jack.
Re: Help me with American vs English  [message #72619 is a reply to message #72555] Sat, 25 February 2017 08:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Smokr is currently offline  Smokr   United States

Really getting into it
Location: the burning former USofA
Registered: July 2010
Messages: 473



Fom http://www.dailywritingtips.com/a-while-vs-awhile/ though any grammar site will do, just this one explains it so well.


A while is a noun meaning "a length of time"
  • "I was away from my desk for a while."
    (compare with "I was away from my desk for a moment." and "I was away from my desk for two minutes")

  • "I slept for a while."
    (compare with "I slept for a bit" and "I slept for three hours")

Awhile is an adverb, meaning "for a time," or literally, "for a while".
  • "I slept awhile before dinner."
    (compare with "I slept deeply before dinner" and "I slept badly before dinner".)

[Updated on: Sat, 25 February 2017 08:25]




raysstories.com
Re: Help me with American vs English  [message #72677 is a reply to message #72619] Tue, 28 February 2017 00:13 Go to previous message
Jackboy is currently offline  Jackboy   United Kingdom

Toe is in the water
Location: North UK
Registered: August 2016
Messages: 78



I was away from my "desk" since 1988. Does that qualify?

Sleep well Britain, America is on the Night Shift.
They'd better be.
;o)
Jack.
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