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  #821  
Old 11 September 2018, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
Well, it's not, but I think the meaning comes across OK, as you say...
"We have been trying to get it off" comes across as almost NSFBSK, in fact...

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  #822  
Old 11 September 2018, 04:36 PM
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You'll need to take it down before you can get it off...
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  #823  
Old 11 September 2018, 07:54 PM
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I'm one of those grammar rebels who believes that if the meaning comes across OK, the English is fine. Not great, but fine.

Seaboe
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  #824  
Old 12 September 2018, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker View Post
I'm one of those grammar rebels who believes that if the meaning comes across OK, the English is fine. Not great, but fine.

Seaboe
I'm a bilingual speaker and I've also studied to some degree but not mastered at least 4 other languages. This colours my perception to reflect the fact that if (g)you can't write a coherent sentence in a language as basic as English (barring accidents like typos and auto-correct), then (g)your writing probably would be incomprehensible in any other language.


English is a trader's language, made to be easy to speak and write... Make an effort, people!
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  #825  
Old 12 September 2018, 03:12 PM
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So, two weeks ago I left a small pillow at a hotel in Vancouver, WA. I didn't realize it until I was about 100 miles away, and even then it could've been in my luggage, so I waited until I was home to confirm it was gone. The pillow has sentimental value because my mother embroidered her initials on the pillow case.

I confirmed the location of the pillow, called UPS, explained that I was both the sender and the recipient, that the package would have no label, and that it would have to be picked up from the hotel. They assured me this would all be fine, but that there were would be a pick up charge. I happily agreed, paid the charge (I've seen it on my credit card) and went on with my life.

I noticed that the package did not arrive on the date UPS said it would, but I was preparing for yet another trip and did not have time to follow through. Then I came back and had the tendonitis flare up, as well as the dead washing machine (I'm feeling much better now, but don't yet have a new washing machine).

As a result it was Monday before I asked UPS where my package was, and yesterday before I found out that they never picked it up. The email informing me of this tried to blame the hotel. I called the hotel to confirm that the package was there, and they said no one ever came, and yes it was still there. I've demanded a refund of the pickup fee from UPS.

I will also be driving down to Vancouver on Saturday to pick up my pillow, 331 miles round trip.

Seaboe
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  #826  
Old 12 September 2018, 03:31 PM
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English is terrible for spelling -- that is, there's no logic or rule to spelling in English. Or rather, there are lots of rules, but they're contradictory, and there's no overall rule for which ones apply to any given word.

And English grammar may be simpler than that of many other languages, but it's also full of idioms, and of instances in which a native speaker probably won't follow the theoretical grammar rules. And nearly anything might have a sexual connotation if you look at it sideways.

Having said all that: the people writing for the town that has, or doesn't have, the sign problem probably are native speakers, and yes, they should try harder. I can tell what they're trying to say, though; and it's not contradictory: it says they can't find any such sign, and they're trying to get the web page taken down.
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  #827  
Old 12 September 2018, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
English is terrible for spelling -- that is, there's no logic or rule to spelling in English. Or rather, there are lots of rules, but they're contradictory, and there's no overall rule for which ones apply to any given word.
This actually isn't true; or rather, it's only true for modern English (which, I grant you, is what we now speak). If you study the history of the language, there is plenty of logic to English spellings. You just need to know where the word came from.

As for grammar, a major problem with English grammar is that it has for many centuries been forced into the forms and terms originally used for Latin, a language with which English has no structural connection. Vocabulary, yes. Structure, no.

Seaboe
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  #828  
Old 12 September 2018, 09:08 PM
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You need to know not only where the word came from, but whether the spelling still reflects that, or has been changed since. At any rate, in modern English; which is indeed what I was talking about.

So I don't think that really counts as a rule, either. Plus which, 'in order to spell a word in English you need to look up its history first' isn't a very useful rule, even if it always worked.



-- maybe it's a rule of English that people are going to argue about the rules of English?
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  #829  
Old 12 September 2018, 09:58 PM
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English is a charming but erratic mutt, the result of centuries of interbreeding and halfhearted attempts at housebreaking. Parts of its selective breeding, including the simplification of verb forms, may be due to its use in trade, but I wouldn't call it easy to speak, let alone write. The routine failures of native speakers, even those with high school diplomas and beyond, to even make themselves understood, let alone abide by the few rules the authorities can agree upon, attest to its difficulty.
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  #830  
Old 13 September 2018, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker View Post
I called the hotel to confirm that the package was there, and they said no one ever came, and yes it was still there.

I will also be driving down to Vancouver on Saturday to pick up my pillow, 331 miles round trip.
Can't you ask the hotel to mail it to you? Using either UPS or the Canadian Post or some other deliverer? For what it will cost you to drive that distance, you could mail-order them all fees and a handy tip.


ETA: And shouldn't that be "... driving up to Vancouver..."? Isn't driving north always driving up?
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  #831  
Old 13 September 2018, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Don Enrico View Post
ETA: And shouldn't that be "... driving up to Vancouver..."? Isn't driving north always driving up?
Going to Oxford, Cambridge or London is going "up". Going from those places to anywhere else is going "down"! If you're going from one of those places to another, it depends on your priorities; for example, as a student at Oxford I'd probably have said I was going "down" to London, whereas somebody else from Oxford might still have gone "up" to it.

I've no idea how that applies to the sort of benighted places that are not even on the same continent as civilisation, like Vancouver. But even in the UK we do generally use "up" to mean north and "down" to mean south if we're not talking about one of the places mentioned above, as you say.

Slightly more seriously, the reason Oxford and Cambridge are "up" is that you go "up" to University there (and "down" when you leave, hence being "sent down" if you're expelled). The reason London is "up" is that it's the big city where the court and parts of the social season were - people would go up to London, and down to the country to their estates. So in the same way, you can probably go up to any big city or regional centre, so Vancouver might qualify as "up" in that sense.

Although I've been to Vancouver a couple of times, and I'm pretty sure when I was there we went "up" to Whistler (to the north, in the mountains and a much smaller place, so "up" in every normal sense), and back "down" to Vancouver, the big city at sea level.

(I've used far too many inverted commas in this post, even after removing some of them.)
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  #832  
Old 13 September 2018, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
The reason London is "up" is that it's the big city where the court and parts of the social season were - people would go up to London, and down to the country to their estates.
Also another reason is that in Railway terminology (which still stands today I think) is the lines leading towards London terminii are always “Up” and those heading away from London are “Down”.
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  #833  
Old 13 September 2018, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Enrico View Post
ETA: And shouldn't that be "... driving up to Vancouver..."? Isn't driving north always driving up?
Not speaking for Seaboe, but having a brother living in Vancouver, BC and have been confused about it on one occasion...

Seaboe was talking about Vancouver, Washington.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vancouver,_Washington

For the driving "down", Vancouver, WA is south of Seattle, so down is acceptable. Also, Vancouver, WA is no where near as classy as Seattle, so down is doubly acceptable.

Two Vancouvers close together is what we get when only one cool explorer goes traipsing about that part of the world in the 17th century.
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  #834  
Old 13 September 2018, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Enrico View Post
Can't you ask the hotel to mail it to you?
I did. They won't.

Quote:
ETA: And shouldn't that be "... driving up to Vancouver..."? Isn't driving north always driving up?
Well, it would be if I were going north. However, I am headed for the Other Vancouver, which is down on the Oregon border.

Seaboe
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  #835  
Old 13 September 2018, 03:43 PM
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Also, in that part of the world up and down can most definitely be determine by the mountains you have to drive across...

IF you're driving from Hope, BC to Vancouver, BC you really are driving "down" and driving from Vancouver, BC to Albert Springs, BC is almost all "UP"

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  #836  
Old 14 September 2018, 06:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker View Post
Things I learned today! Thank you!


And I did indeed check whether Seattle has a higher elevation above sea level than Vancouver, thus making you go "down". There seems to be no relevant difference, though - and I was checking the wrong Vancouver, of course.

In German, we use "to go up to" a place in the sense of going up a hill or mountain, and in the sense of going (up) north. I don't think I ever heard it in the sense of "going to a place of higher prestige".

By the way: what direction ar you going if you go east or west? Unless you're going eats or west to Oxford, I mean? Is one of those directions "up"? They aren't in German.
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  #837  
Old 14 September 2018, 06:52 AM
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East or west travel is "over". As in, "We're heading over to San Diego."
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  #838  
Old 14 September 2018, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
East or west travel is "over". As in, "We're heading over to San Diego."
But what if you're traveling west, but going over the mountains?

Like going from Halifax to Vancouver?

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  #839  
Old 14 September 2018, 02:04 PM
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If you are going over the mountains, it's still "over". It's only when your destination is on a mountain to the west that you have a problem.
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  #840  
Old 14 September 2018, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Enrico View Post
In German, we use "to go up to" a place in the sense of going up a hill or mountain, and in the sense of going (up) north.
Very much the same type of use in English.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Enrico View Post
I don't think I ever heard it in the sense of "going to a place of higher prestige".
That was just me making a joke about Vancouver, either one of them. I like Seattle.
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