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Grammar For Gamers — 39 Comments

  1. Pingback: Why Haven’t They Fixed This Bug? | Lizard's Gaming and Geekery Site

  2. Nice.

    I do think most of the errors are made by non-native english speakers, though. Then again people do make the same kind of mistakes in my language, on internet boards, so could be laziness after all.

    Probably a bit of both… yeah that’s a useful post I’m making. Cheers

    • My experience is that there’s usually an obvious difference between ESL speakers (writers) and lazy-ass American morons. For one, the former tend to make very patterned mistakes and have particular phrasings and rhythms to their writing that are consistent. For another, they usually have better overall spelling, grammar, etc, and, in one of those great ironies that keeps me enjoying humanity, the better they write, the more likely they are to apologize for their poor English.

      I do technical editing as part of my day job, and so I work with design documents written by programmers from Russia, India, China, etc. Their writing always reflects a clear attention to rules and patterns, even if they’re the wrong ones. That is, someone taught English and trying to write it well will make an effort to apply the rules, and will do so consistently, even if their knowledge is lacking. Most native speakers who write poorly simply ignore any kind of rules at all, using words and punctuation at random. Because of this, it’s usually easier to understand, and respect, a non-native speaker than a native one who just can’t be bothered.

      • Yes you are correct and now that I think about it in my own language, there is a blatant distinction between foreigners and lazy asses.

        Former will use very standard and sometimes over-well written sentences with typical mistakes, like wrong -or foreign- grammatical rules for instance.

        While latter will just butcher the words.

        I do believe though, that there’s a third category that you do not point at on your article : the uneducated native user. The one that will use upper cases on every words, will put a space before the dots, etc. Well I guess that’s not really the point here, since this one cannot be corrected that easily ; or is less “faulty”.

        Aright, but enough digressing from me.

        • “Aright” ?? or Alright ?

          I’m assuming that was deliberate, or an old fashioned typo considering the subject matter of the original post.

  3. Great piece of writing, and something I will probably link to every now and then on some of the forums I frequent.

    There’s one other piece of grammar that irritates me a lot (two pieces, now I’ve just written “a lot”), that I’ve noticed getting used frequently – “Could care less”….

    I’ll leave it there.

    Thanks for the enjoyable reads!

  4. I’m so glad I stumbled onto your blog from the SWTOR forums. You and I are such kindred spirits when it comes to gamers and gaming forum behavior/grammar that I think we may have been separated at birth. I have often thought about starting a blog like this where I could express basically the same things you have here and in your “Why Haven’t they Fixed this Bug Yet” article but now I found you have done it for me!

    Do you know how many times I have made this same statement (or a similar one) on a forum?:

    Furthermore, poor grammar/spelling sends one very clear message: “I don’t care about what I’m writing”. If you don’t care, why should we?

    You usually get shouted down both by the morons that post incomprehensible drivel as well as the ‘go along, get along’ types that are enabling the slow dumbing down of our society. They like to say “Dude, it’s pretty weak to pick on someone’s grammar” or something to that effect but your statement is 100% correct. If you can’t be bothered to write something that doesn’t look like you typed it with oven mitts on, why should I be bothered to read it, much less try to glean information from it?

    Another thing I’d add though is that it doesn’t just weaken your argument by making the presentation easy to attack. It also makes you appear unintelligent whether that is actually the case or not. Would you go to Walmart wearing just your underwear? No, because you would look stupid. Well there’s not a whole lot of difference between that and making a post on a public forum littered with misspellings, grammatical errors and poor formatting. Both make you look stupid in public, something I try to avoid personally.

    Now that I got that off my chest, I’ve got one to add to your list in the article. This one is a pet peeve of mine and I saw it’s not on there yet:

    whining/whinning: Whining is a verb that means complaining in a generally high pitched voice. There is no such word as whinning in the English language (nor any other language for that matter.)

    • WordPress is very poor about informing me of comments posted, so I sometimes miss them. (It might be my spam filters — who knows?) Anyway, I’ve yet to see “whinning” anywhere, thank the gods. There’s also “whinging”, which seems to be the British spelling, and I’m not sure if it’s pronounced wine-ing or winge (rhymes with hinge)-ing. Silly Brits. Good thing we kicked them. (OK, technically speaking, during the Revolutionary War, my ancestors were the ones in the bright red coats, but I was born here, dammit, so I’m an American.)

      • Just to clarify whinging is pronounced as you would hinge – ing and is slightly different to whining. Whining denotes a certain tone of voice in your complaining and whinging is just complaining.

      • Just to clarify for you whinging has a pronounced ‘g’ as per your example of hinge. Also there is a slight difference in meaning when in comes to British/Australian english. Whining denotes a certain tone of voice when complaining and whinging is just complaining.

        • Thanks for the info… I’m also pleased to know there’s a difference in meaning between whinging and whining, as opposed to simply being different spellings of the same word. It’s another highly valuable Useless Fact(tm) to add to my mental library. To make room for it, I will forget whether or not my wife likes onions on her hamburger.

  5. While I understand your frustration, I disagree. A forum (especially a gaming forum) is a place for rest and relaxation, a place for discussion. Its not a news article or a university essay. While correct spelling and punctuation make it easy to read it does not detract from a post if used incorrectly. I dont consider a persons intellectually deficient or their argument any less meaningful if they use your instead of you’re. While I try to insure my spelling and punctuation is correct I dont enforce the same standards on others. Everyone has the right to an opinion regardless of education and I think laziness can be forgiven when in a relaxed environment.

    • Just because you can’t be perfect, doesn’t mean you can’t try. There’s also a difference between, “I was typing fast, I didn’t notice I spelled that one word wrong” and “u r stoopd f u thnk ths iz gud.”

      A lot of people, especially younger ones, have never had the experience of being told “You’re wrong”. It’s something they need to get used to.

    • Did you purposefully refuse to use apostrophes, use insure instead of ensure, and use a nonsensical phrase (I dont consider a persons intellectually deficient) on purpose to prove a point? ‘Cause if you did, I have to disagree, as I did feel that it was rather distracting and detracted from the point you were trying to make. I’m not elitist by any means. I have quite a few friends that have a similar viewpoint where they just type without thinking/proofreading and post (Facebook is a prime example), because they feel it’s a relaxed environment, but even that leads to habits where they’ll do similar errors in more professional/serious environments simply out of habit.

      I just don’t buy into the argument that spelling/grammar errors don’t make you look less intelligent. Humans are too naturally judgmental for that argument to even fly. You can have the deepest, most thought provoking, beautiful piece of literature ever written, but if it’s littered with errors, then it’s going to be hard to take the author and the piece seriously.

      I’ve also noticed that like attracts like when it comes to forums and such. Generally, if you actually read what you’re writing before you post and at least correct the more common errors, you’ll generally end up in the thread with other people of a similar mindset. The opposite is also true, where I’ll sometimes go through pages upon pages of a thread without a single correct, coherent sentence.

      Whatever makes you happy, I suppose.

    • My issue with not caring based purely on the forum used is that sooner or later, those who choose to be lazy on gaming forums will end up being lazy Any time they are typing.

      The fact that an English Professor is now stating that they’re there and their will eventually be normalised into a single spelling shows its not just limited to gaming forums, but is in fact crossing over in to every day usage.

  6. Good post, I enjoyed the read.

    In this sentance, “You do not use it show plurals!”.

    I think you missed a word.

    – Lunchbox

  7. Even as a non-native English speaker, bad grammar just drives me crazy. One of the things that I find particularly disturbing is the use of ‘of’ instead of ‘have’, or its contraction, as in “I would of done better in school if I’d known my intelligence would be measured by my grammar.”

    • I need to add that in my copious free time.

      Another one that drives me nuts is “for all intensive purposes”. Augh! I’ve seen allegedly professional writers use that… which also makes me wonder who’s editing them. Writers need editors just as programmers need QA testers — no matter how good you are, you won’t catch your own mistakes nearly as well as someone else will.

  8. As a long time rogue player, thank you for the clarification. It’s especially bothersome when a rogue player spells the class as rouge =\

    Then and than … aggro and argo.

    Just a couple more for your perusal. Likewise I find it’s more a case of lazy writers than ESL folks abusing the “text talk” crappola.

  9. quick note : ‘whinging’ win-jing (roughly) used in both britain and Australia 😀

    I must admit my use of the language isn’t always perfect, but (as we all seem to agree) some improper grammatical use really can drive you insane.
    ‘for all intents and purposes’ and ‘couldn’t care less’ seem to be two things idiots the world over can’t seem to comprehend – even though the crap they spout instead makes absolutely no sense what so ever.

    • The ‘I couldn’t care less’ alternative really drives me nuts. What’s worse is when someone says, “I could care less” and you explain to them what they actually just said and what it means, they just look at you like you’re crazy or wander off even more confused. It’s impossible.

  10. “A forum […] is a place for rest and relaxation, a place for discussion”. This calls (begs?) for a comment.

    First: I am not an native English speaker.

    A forum, by the very definition of the latin word, is a public place where people get together, in which certain rules must apply. These days a forum is considered mostly as a website where people attempt to exchange views, ideas, opinions, and so forth. We may view malls as modern fora. (Yes this should be the correct spelling in the original language, and don’t complain about not using latin. You use greek and italian correctly in phenomenon (pl. phenomena) and scenario (pl. scenarii).) We shall agree that any public place has it’s one set of rules, e.g. forums fora have “Rules of conduct” or guidelines on what can and what can not be posted.

    Consider in what follows that mall can be replaced by supermarket, street, bar, coffee shop, airport, train station, parking lot, restaurant, gymnastic facility, whatever public place you can think of that is unlisted.
    Do you shout to people you don’t know in the mall? No.
    Do you insult people you don’t know in the mall? No.
    Do you set your bodily functions loose in the mall (as other than in the mall’s the restroom)? No.
    Yet poor spelling and grammar on forum posts feels, to me, just like someone is burping/barfing on my face while I am waiting for my order in, say, a coffee shop.

    If a forum is a place for rest and relaxation, I do not want to attempt to decipher the strings of symbols (hieroglyphics would have been a nice word, but none of the string of symbols I refer to have anything sacred to them) that pretend to pass as a message on a forum because I already have to do so when grading my students’ work, or going through the other duties of my job.

    Trying to read a forum message grossly put together in terms of grammar and spelling is like trying to converse with somebody on your cell phone with the other person calling while sitting on an airplane engine. Communication is next to impossible.

    Moreover, forum posters don’t have excuses for not using their browser’s spell checker (I know Chrome and Firefox have one, I assume IE also does). And like the original poster in this blog said, if they can memorize the gazillion of things that go on in an MMO, and can not use an automatically-detecting-mistakes spell checker, than like good old Albert said (on a far worse topic):”they were given a brain by mistake, a spine would have sufficed”.

    Thanks Lizard for this great post.

  11. The one that really gets me? There is a “u” in “colour”.
    Haha! Barbarians! *winks*

    Great post! Nearly had me peeing.

    P.S. ” Mondegreen” – a word or phrase resulting from a misinterpretation of a word or phrase that has been heard.
    I learned something new and had a laugh. It’s how education should be.

  12. “Google it yourself, you lazy sot.”

    Sot? Really? I doubt that most of the people who write this tripe are even old enough to drink yet…

    Surely “…you lazy sod.” would be better.

    • Hmm. A good question. Having learned both terms mostly by watching britcoms, it was not clear to me if ‘sod’ and ‘sot’ were truly different words, or just my uncouth American ears not parsing English accents correctly.

      So, a quick run through various online dictionaries gives me:
      Sod: Several slang definitions, but the meaning I intended would be “A person regarded as obnoxious or contemptible.”
      Sot: Two meanings both apply fairly well:
      1. a habitual or chronic drunkard
      2. a person stupefied by or as if by drink

      Given those choices, I think I’ll stick with ‘sot’, as meaning 2 is a good description of what I was intending — surely, drunk or not, the posted ramblings certainly resemble those of “a person stupefied by or as if by drink”. Furthermore, “lazy” is an adjective often applied to drunkards, more than to simply obnoxious or contemptible people, so “lazy sot” seems more apropos than “lazy sod”, though I freely admit it’s an edge case.

      This is why I love English! Fine distinctions and complex shades of meaning FTW, as the kiddies say these days. Thanks for sending me on a round of dictionary diving to verify that what I was saying was, in fact, what I meant to say.

  13. “There are no circumstances when “of” follows “would””
    I would, of course, be remiss if I didn’t point out the unnecessary use of absolutes in rules. (Please someone get the joke.)

  14. Hello there Mr. Lizard! (Titles are in every way epic and if it where up to me, they would be mandatory.)

    I’ve spent quite some time procrastinating around your blogg and I must say that it’s been a lot of fun, perhaps even a tad euphoric. I noticed one thing between two of your articles (including a few comments on each) that was a bit of a sloppy mistake though. I do doubt very much that French people speak a debased “from” of Latin. I hope that you are clear- and levelheaded (not sure if that’s how you do in English, but if it’s not feel free to mock the error mercilessly) enough to see that this is more of a note to help you bring your work closer to perfection. It is very much not me trying to point out that I am better than you. Frankly, I don’t believe I know you well enough to tell one way or the other, if that day comes; trust that I will let you know.

    There where three things I thought that you might wish to add though, the difference between “chose” and “choose”, small as it may be it can be very annoying when people don’t get it right as well as the difference between “wheather” and “weather”. Perhaps it’s not a common use of words when it comes to gamers, alas you never know. The third thing would be the use of smiley instead rather than in conjunction with punctiation. It’s a very annoying habit that many people have degenerated to these days, wheather it’s online or in textmessages.

    Anyhows, keep up the good work, let’s hope it makes a difference!

    • I don’t suppose you made a note of exactly where I mistyped “form”? I’d love to go correct them. That’s a very common error I make, transposing letters while typing. (Also, with my new keyboard, which I otherwise love, a combination of key size, the angle I sit, etc., leads me to type “UI” about half the time I mean to type “I”. Since I am my own favorite subject, this means a lot of backspacing and retyping.)

      Yes, there are ample typos in articles on this site. Every time I edit an article, I find one or two more and quietly fix them. My motto is, after all, “Free and worth it!”. 🙂 Perfection isn’t something I expect of others or demand of myself. I strive to keep the level of errors down to the minimum possible, and I respond to those who choose to provide free proofreading services with gratitude, not scorn.

      • Sorry about that, it’s in the to/two/too section I believe. I had to write the entire post again and seemingly missed that small part, but now you know! 🙂

        I get the feeling, talking about oneself is one of if not the best thing ever. The subject is often so fascinating.

  15. You mention that the rules of English are “no less arbitrary and confusing” than those of MMO games. In other words, English is at least as arbitrary and confusing than MMO rules, possibly even more so. As such, it stands to reason that a player able to memorize MMO rules might not be able to memorize English rules. Did you perhaps intend to say “no more arbitrary and confusing”?

    • Good point. Probably, in writing, my brain flip-flopped on which should go first, which in turn affected the comparison. (It’s a common problem. I think the brain multithreads writing, so that sometimes, there’s a contention issue.)

      I’ll correct that.

  16. Pingback: The Runes Of Doom, Part I | Lizard's Gaming and Geekery Site

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