For English Language Lovers

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crfriend
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Re: For English Language Lovers

Post by crfriend »

pelmut wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:13 pm
There seem to be a number of authors who write entirely in the present tense when it is clear they are referring to events that happened in the past [...]
I quite routinely "have fun" with time when writing, but then again I know what I'm doing and I'm doing it deliberately. Too, speculative fiction is frequently written in the present, even though it's quite apparent that it's actually set in a very different time (usually the future, but sometimes in the past). Also, screenplays are usually written in present tense because using past tense would not make much sense on-screen with the exception of a narration.
[...] "It is the year of Queen Victoria's coronation and the Prime Minister is preparing for the event." 
That sounds like the classic "Set the scene" tone taken in film or fiction. Is it wrong? That depends on whether it was intentional; if it was a deliberate act, then it's likely OK because it was done with intent, else it's an error and somebody needs to go back to school.

For the most part, I tend to let little gaffes like that go; what drives me up walls is people who insist on using the wrong word repeatedly -- e.g. "loose" when they mean "lose". The problem is that that gaffe passes the spell checquer.
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Re: For English Language Lovers

Post by Coder »

Stu wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:46 pm
The word "napkin" is used in the UK, but is regarded as rather an aristocratic word. Ordinary folk just call it a "serviette" here.
Oh that is hilarious - for me, at least, if someone handed me a paper napkin and said "here, take this serviette" I'd think the opposite - to me serviette is much more aristocratic.
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Re: For English Language Lovers

Post by Stu »

Coder wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 4:03 pm
Oh that is hilarious - for me, at least, if someone handed me a paper napkin and said "here, take this serviette" I'd think the opposite - to me serviette is much more aristocratic.
Yes - I know exactly what you mean. You would imagine that the word "serviette", being a French borrowing, would be the more prestigious word.

Apparently not, though.
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Re: For English Language Lovers

Post by Sinned »

I's normal when talking about time for this special case to say "half ten" and is understood, at least where I am. . For other quarters it would be "a quarter to ten" or "a quarter past nine". Saying "quarter nine" doesn't specify whether it's past or to the hour. With all these super accurate watches and time pieces if asked for the time you may just get a vague "about ten past" assuming that the other person at least knows the hour otherwise "about ten after eleven".

But then colloquial English is a completely different beast to written English and often breaks the rules of English.
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Re: For English Language Lovers

Post by denimini »

Sinned wrote:
Sun Jan 23, 2022 12:02 am
With all these super accurate watches and time pieces if asked for the time you may just get a vague "about ten past" assuming that the other person at least knows the hour otherwise "about ten after eleven".
....... or eleven thirteen
Sinned wrote:
Sun Jan 23, 2022 12:02 am
But then colloquial English is a completely different beast to written English and often breaks the rules of English.
Yes, think about gunwales, rowlocks, forecastle, etc., it is amazing that half past eleven is not pronounced ha'lev'n.
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Re: For English Language Lovers

Post by Kirbstone »

On board ship, Half past eleven would be seven bells.

Explanation: a 'watch' is four hours, measured by the ship's bell clock which strikes every half hour, starting in this case by striking 8 bells at 8PM marking the end of the previous watch. Then one bell at 8.30, two bells at nine PM and so on until the next eight bells at midnight and the start of the next watch.
Over the years we have filled our house with interesting clocks each anniversary, one of which is a splendid ship's bell clock.

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Re: For English Language Lovers

Post by denimini »

Kirbstone wrote:
Sun Jan 23, 2022 2:09 am
On board ship, Half past eleven would be seven bells.
Well that certainly came out of left field, although very interesting.
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Re: For English Language Lovers

Post by Kirbstone »

Care to take a meridian sighting of your scorching Antipodean Sun through my brass sextant, Anthony ? It would tell you you're a blxxdy sight nearer the equator than we are, for sure.

When Fletcher Christian dumped Captain Bligh overboard in the ship's pinnace with a band of faithfulls, he allowed him a sextant, with which Bligh successfully navigated thousands of miles Westward to the next available British-administered island.

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Re: For English Language Lovers

Post by geron »

pelmut wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:13 pm
There seem to be a number of authors who write entirely in the present tense when it is clear they are referring to events that happened in the past
That's known as the historical present. Historians speaking on radio and TV use it all the time to make the past more vivid.

It may also help to overcome a possible problem in describing a sequence of past events. US English seems to have lost what in European English is the perfect tense, leaving a past indefinite tense to do its work. So if in England we say we have done something, it generally means that we have done it recently, or fairly recently. But saying we did something would place it at some unspecified time in the past, possibly the distant past.
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Re: For English Language Lovers

Post by geron »

Sinned wrote:
Sun Jan 23, 2022 12:02 am
But then colloquial English is a completely different beast to written English and often breaks the rules of English.
Bzzzzt! Deviation!
It doesn't make sense to be different to -- it's gotta be different from ;-)
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Re: For English Language Lovers

Post by Sinned »

It was written in colloquial English so was not subject to normal rules. :tongue:
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Re: For English Language Lovers

Post by Ray »

geron wrote:
Sun Jan 23, 2022 4:35 pm
pelmut wrote:
Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:13 pm
There seem to be a number of authors who write entirely in the present tense when it is clear they are referring to events that happened in the past
That's known as the historical present. Historians speaking on radio and TV use it all the time to make the past more vivid.

It may also help to overcome a possible problem in describing a sequence of past events. US English seems to have lost what in European English is the perfect tense, leaving a past indefinite tense to do its work. So if in England we say we have done something, it generally means that we have done it recently, or fairly recently. But saying we did something would place it at some unspecified time in the past, possibly the distant past.
Much the same in Scotland too.
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Re: For English Language Lovers

Post by geron »

Ray wrote:
Mon Jan 24, 2022 9:33 pm
Much the same in Scotland too.
Apologies, Ray, but I didn't have that information ;-)
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