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How much do grammar, spelling and usage...

mwhitmore Jul 6, 2013 07:09 PM

affect how seriously you take an online review? 'Your going to love it." 'Did not meat my expectations.' In the internet age, am I a snob to think that quasi-literates are quasi-tasters? (And Dog help me if a goof gets by on this post! For example, if I had said 'effect' instead of 'affect')

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  1. w
    wadejay26 RE: mwhitmore Jul 6, 2013 07:29 PM

    Means almost everything to me. If I have to decipher a post, I do not take it seriously.

    1. ipsedixit RE: mwhitmore Jul 6, 2013 07:35 PM

      If you're talking about just on the Internet via a blog post or a post here on Chowhound, then it means absolutely nothing.

      Those kinds of online reviews are largely unedited, made by amateurs. And the authors may sometimes not even be proficient in the English language -- they may be foreigners, or just an ESL student, or they just may be really really young. Who knows. And so who really cares.

      (I can only imagine what my grammar would be like if I tried to post in Chinese. Ugh.)

      But if we're talking any sort of formal publication -- either a print publication with an online presence or a pure online magazine where there's actually an editing process involved -- then fuck yeah, it matters. Alot.

      18 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit
        chowser RE: ipsedixit Jul 7, 2013 07:55 AM

        I wonder how many CHers realize that not everyone grew up with English as their first language. If we went by English grammar, Morimoto would immediately be discounted for food knowledge.

        1. re: chowser
          PotatoHouse RE: chowser Jul 7, 2013 08:52 AM

          Morimoto speaks much better english than most internet posters that grew up in the States.

          1. re: PotatoHouse
            chowser RE: PotatoHouse Jul 7, 2013 10:54 AM

            Who, for people, that for things. Not that I'd discount your food views because you got it wrong...

          2. re: chowser
            ipsedixit RE: chowser Jul 7, 2013 10:55 AM

            Can you imagine if the tables were turned.

            Let's say the OP was posting not in an English dominated forum, but a forum based on some foreign language (say, Swahili) and some Kenyan poster queried (in perfect Swahili, of course):

            "Je discount reviewers chakula ambao hawana kutumia sarufi sahihi?"

            1. re: ipsedixit
              chowser RE: ipsedixit Jul 7, 2013 11:06 AM

              I was thinking I make a decent loaf of focaccia but if I had to describe it in Italian, it would be sad. Molto cattivo.

              1. re: chowser
                ipsedixit RE: chowser Jul 7, 2013 11:09 AM

                Yeah, but you know what? I'd still pay attention to your review, and probably salivate at the thought of your focaccia.

            2. re: chowser
              JulesNoctambule RE: chowser Jul 14, 2013 12:43 PM

              This is why I think correct writing is important - when English is your second language and you're reading a site written in English, posts filled with errors make the reading extra difficult! You can find yourself thinking things such as 'Well, maybe there IS supposed to be an apostrophe before the S all the time!', and when you click that beautiful feature Google offers to translate the page into your own language, it still doesn't make sense because it can't translate the incorrectly spelled words.

              1. re: JulesNoctambule
                chowser RE: JulesNoctambule Jul 14, 2013 03:16 PM

                I try to have proper grammar and spelling, and I make an effort to be correct, although I know I make mistakes. Sometimes posts make perfect sense in my head but aren't as clear to others. I also realize some people don't speak English as a first language, or just don't have the same priorities as I do. If they make a grammatical error, I don't discount their views on food. As has been pointed out in this thread, those who find grammar to be the utmost importance have errors in their posts. Can anyone truly cast a stone?

                As I've said, I was a math major and I think math is an important skill. At the same time, I'd never discount someone's view on food because he/she can't accurately convert one size pan to another. This site is about finding good food, not about having perfect grammar or being able to do math. If I let perfect grammar dictate where I eat, I could be missing some good eats. It comes down to what's more important to you.

                1. re: chowser
                  Bill Hunt RE: chowser Jul 15, 2013 08:49 PM


                  I think that most of us, do attempt to do things correctly, but there can be issues - spellcheck, autofill, declaring "Wine-thirty" two hours before, or just fingers, that do not hit the correct keys. "Stuff" happens, and I can often overlook such mistakes. Heck, I have made them all, plus some. Besides, I know that if I miss some, say "gender and number," at least 800 "perfect Chowhounds," will be quick to correct me. I have no fear. They are all perfect, and oh so quick.


                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                    EWSflash RE: Bill Hunt Aug 2, 2013 12:32 AM

                    Not to mention the sudden widespread use of touch-screen keyboards. That's my big challenge.

                2. re: JulesNoctambule
                  DockPotato RE: JulesNoctambule Jul 14, 2013 03:26 PM

                  Excellent point, Jules! How do ESL students react?

                  Here in Canada, and probably elsewhere, immigrants receive more rigorous instruction in our language than native speakers - through necessity.

                  The sentence, "My aunts pen's are on the bureau's of my uncle's," probably carries a lot of force for them. Especially if the foregoing is out of their bosses' stylebooks.

                  A friendly aside to mwhitmore who started this excellent thread: please review your quotation marks.

                  1. re: DockPotato
                    Bill Hunt RE: DockPotato Jul 15, 2013 08:50 PM

                    Yes, as I am from Mississippi, then I am one of those ESL students.


                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                      sandylc RE: Bill Hunt Jul 15, 2013 09:44 PM

                      I notice, when browsing ESL websites, that ESL students are taught such things as the difference between using "bring" and "take" in a sentence.

                      Maybe the ESL students will be teaching the natives in the near future!

                      1. re: sandylc
                        sunshine842 RE: sandylc Jul 16, 2013 04:06 AM

                        my ESL students are obsessive about having proper grammar...asking questions about usage that I have occasionally had to go research (and I'm a straight-A stickler for grammar.)

                  2. re: JulesNoctambule
                    Ruth Lafler RE: JulesNoctambule Jul 17, 2013 11:48 AM

                    Exactly. And conversely, using misspellings and abbreviations -- especially abbreviations that reflect the way a word is pronounced -- just make it harder for people who don't speak English fluently to understand your post. I had a housemate from Sweden in college who remarked that she liked talking to me because (among other reasons, I'm sure <g>) I didn't use a lot of slang/idioms compared to the typical college student.

                    I can usually tell if a post is written by someone who is not a native English speaker as opposed to an English speaker who is just lazy and careless -- there are specific kinds of grammar and syntax errors and usage -- and I judge them accordingly.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                      chowser RE: Ruth Lafler Jul 18, 2013 05:35 AM

                      What about someone who didn't have a great formal education? Would you be less likely to listen to his/her views on good food on these boards because of it, even if English were his/her first language? It could be that someone was never taught about misplaced modifyers, use of commas, or a whole host of complaints made here in this thread. The idea that someone who is less educated cannot recognize when food is good seems elitist to me.

                      1. re: chowser
                        Ruth Lafler RE: chowser Jul 18, 2013 12:06 PM

                        If you read what I wrote farther down the thread, to me it has to do with whether I think the person is putting care and effort into his or her post. I certainly don't judge people on misplaced modifiers and commas, rather whether they're writing in coherent sentences. If they can't be bothered to put some effort into writing their opinion, then I can't be bothered to spend my time reading it.

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler
                          JonParker RE: Ruth Lafler Jul 18, 2013 12:29 PM

                          I guess I have to disagree with that. Earlier today I was having a technical problem with my iPad. I searched for the problem online and found several forums where the same question was asked.

                          None of the responders wrote English very well at all, and it took some work on my part to figure out what they were saying, but they had the answer to my problem and the decent English speakers didn't. How much you want the information depends on how well you're willing to tolerate their attempts to communicate.

                          And yes, some of the responders were Indian, but some were Americans who were EFL. They hadn't paid attention in their English classes, but they were awake as far as tech goes.

              2. p
                poser RE: mwhitmore Jul 6, 2013 07:39 PM

                I think the word 'meh' is kind of embarrassing.

                11 Replies
                1. re: poser
                  MGZ RE: poser Jul 7, 2013 06:45 AM

                  It's embarrassing in the sense that it's such a fuckin' cliche. Kinda like "off the hook" or "to die for".

                  1. re: MGZ
                    Googs RE: MGZ Jul 7, 2013 06:26 PM

                    See now I like "meh" because it's succinct. I'm not always grammatically correct since I prefer to sound conversationally correct.

                    One writer's input on my local board clearly shows he's well-educated. Sometimes he becomes distracted while writing and gibberish comes out. I take the time to read because I sense what's gone wrong.

                    On the other hand, if a person is ranting I immediately tune out if said rant isn't really in English.

                    1. re: MGZ
                      westsidegal RE: MGZ Jul 7, 2013 06:38 PM

                      i like "meh," partially because the alternatives are just so-so.

                    2. re: poser
                      pagesinthesun RE: poser Jul 16, 2013 04:19 PM

                      I automatically discount any word after I read the word "meh". It drives me bananas!

                      1. re: pagesinthesun
                        dmjordan RE: pagesinthesun Jul 17, 2013 01:32 PM

                        I kind of like "meh". Don't know why. On the other hand, "nom, nom, nom" drives me nuts.

                        1. re: dmjordan
                          Ruth Lafler RE: dmjordan Jul 17, 2013 01:49 PM

                          "Meh" is a word that doesn't have any equivalent -- it's actually a new word that describes a feeling of indifference and slight disappointment. "Nom, nom, nom" is baby talk.

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler
                            chowser RE: Ruth Lafler Jul 17, 2013 02:49 PM

                            "Meh" is the verbal equivalent of having a hand up, palm down and rotating the hand, thumb and pinky up and down.

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler
                              Candy RE: Ruth Lafler Jul 18, 2013 12:31 PM

                              We used to have cats, when they would refuse something they disliked and made motions like they were trying to cover it up, we said they were saying FEH.

                              1. re: Candy
                                CindyJ RE: Candy Jul 18, 2013 07:19 PM

                                But FEH is certainly not the same as MEH. :-)

                                1. re: CindyJ
                                  sunshine842 RE: CindyJ Jul 19, 2013 04:10 AM

                                  at least in my house, Meh is apathetic - it's there; not much to talk about either good or bad.

                                  Feh has crossed the border to being bad.

                                  1. re: sunshine842
                                    CindyJ RE: sunshine842 Jul 19, 2013 02:17 PM

                                    In my house, "feh" is beyond the border of bad. I remember as a kid, going out for Chinese food with my family, having lobster Cantonese, bringing a lobster claw shell home with me and showing it to my Jewish grandmother, who kept kosher. Her reaction: "FEH!!!" To me, that's the quintessence of "feh."

                      2. m
                        MrsJonesey RE: mwhitmore Jul 6, 2013 07:49 PM

                        When we were all standing in line to receive our own individual attributes, the one for excellent grammar and spelling did not go hand in hand with the one for superior tastebuds. Quite frankly, it doesn't necessarily go hand in hand with superior intelligence. If anything, I think the internet age is largely responsible for a decline in grammar and spelling. Or maybe it's just a matter of people being too busy to bother with proofreading what they've written.

                        To specifically answer your question, if I discounted what someone was saying every time I noticed an error, I would miss out on a lot of good stuff.

                        And yes, you have a bit of a punctuation error there. :-)

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: MrsJonesey
                          mwhitmore RE: MrsJonesey Jul 6, 2013 08:01 PM

                          Thank you! Which one? I can see that my last 'sentence' did not have a subject and verb. But that was not punctuation. I really want to know.

                          1. re: mwhitmore
                            MrsJonesey RE: mwhitmore Jul 6, 2013 08:22 PM

                            lol. I was being facetious. Your last 'sentence' was a phrase and did not require a subject and a verb, but did need a period. Or at least I think I remember being taught that. :-) Your beginning and ending quotation marks on your first example don't match. I have probably made comparable errors in this thread alone though.

                            1. re: MrsJonesey
                              mwhitmore RE: MrsJonesey Jul 6, 2013 08:53 PM

                              Very VERY good! And your original point, about the lack of correlation between grammar etc. and ideas is precisely the discussion I wished to provoke. I'm still not sure.

                        2. f
                          ferventfoodie RE: mwhitmore Jul 6, 2013 07:59 PM

                          I seriously worry about the fate the written word with
                          the proliferation of Tweeting and texting and so on. I know
                          not everyone was blessed with my sixth grade English
                          teacher whose methods I hated at the time but have stood
                          me in good stead - not that there haven't been typos,
                          etc. in some of my posts.

                          My opinion of posts and posters is based on a combination
                          of content and style. If the content of a post is solid and
                          sincere, I can overlook the occasional typo or mispelling.
                          But if an entry is full of errors, I have to wonder about what else the poster might be careless or misinformed.

                          That doesn't mean that I disregard posts that contain
                          errors but I am probably prone to give more weight to
                          those that are well presented.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: ferventfoodie
                            mwhitmore RE: ferventfoodie Jul 6, 2013 08:14 PM

                            I agree, and specifically wish to exclude typos. OTOH I must note that 'mispelling" is misspelled. Sorry!

                            1. re: mwhitmore
                              ferventfoodie RE: mwhitmore Jul 6, 2013 08:58 PM

                              You got me there - but as I said above, my posts are far
                              from perfect. Re: Bill Hunt's comment. Although I am
                              pretty good at lanuage (at least English), I admit to being
                              a computer illiterate. My laptop doesn't have Spellcheck
                              (which as you pointed out can be problematic) and I have
                              no idea how to install it. And I've never heard of Grammar
                              Checker so I'm on my own.

                          2. Bill Hunt RE: mwhitmore Jul 6, 2013 08:16 PM

                            A review should at least be run through SpellCheck, but that can be problematic. Same thing for a Grammar Checker, but again, things can go bad, and end up badly there.

                            I see such horrible grammar, spelling, lack of punctuation, and lack of general structures, that I probably tend to overlook more, than I once did.


                            39 Replies
                            1. re: Bill Hunt
                              mwhitmore RE: Bill Hunt Jul 6, 2013 08:19 PM

                              A thoughtful response--thank you.

                              1. re: mwhitmore
                                JonParker RE: mwhitmore Jul 6, 2013 08:59 PM

                                A lack of, grammar and spelling, is fine with me. But lots of misplaced, commas drive me insane.

                                1. re: JonParker
                                  CindyJ RE: JonParker Jul 7, 2013 08:07 AM

                                  It's the misplaced apostrophes that get me in a tizzy. But lately I've been wondering if the rules of punctuation that I was taught as a child in the NYC public schools have actually changed. I was taught that an apostrophe s ('s) connotes possession. But last week in the New York Times I saw it used several times in the same article to connote a plural in an article about "C.E.O.'s." It looked wrong, but seeing it in the Times makes me question the rules as I know them.

                                  1. re: CindyJ
                                    Hobbert RE: CindyJ Jul 7, 2013 03:13 PM

                                    When something is an abbreviation, such as CEO's, an apostrophe is appropriate to make it plural cant have a rule without an exception. That would be too easy!

                                    1. re: Hobbert
                                      LindaWhit RE: Hobbert Jul 7, 2013 03:24 PM

                                      No, the apostrophe is not appropriate to make it plural. If you want to make it plural, it is simply CEOs. That essentially means Chief Executive Officers.

                                      "The CEOs attended their annual We're Super-Great and Highly Paid Convention."

                                      If you're looking to make it possessive, then the apostrophe is correct.

                                      "The CEO's Executive Assistant is the one who really runs the company."

                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                        Bill Hunt RE: LindaWhit Jul 7, 2013 08:30 PM

                                        Well, that depends on whose style book you are referring to.


                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                          CindyJ RE: LindaWhit Jul 8, 2013 09:20 AM

                                          I totally agree with your explanation and I don't think the meaning is at all confusing. I think what may have clouded the issue in the NY Times article was that the abbreviation for CEO was written C.E.O. Then, for some reason, the plural was written as C.E.O.'s.

                                        2. re: Hobbert
                                          JonParker RE: Hobbert Jul 7, 2013 03:26 PM

                                          It's possible to agree with both of you. In popular usage, initials (C.E.O.) are different than an acronym (CEO). C.E.O.'s is just clumsy, while CEO's is ok.

                                          1. re: JonParker
                                            Hobbert RE: JonParker Jul 7, 2013 03:34 PM

                                            Yep, thanks. Ah, English...

                                            1. re: JonParker
                                              Caitlin McGrath RE: JonParker Jul 7, 2013 05:30 PM

                                              I agree on the clumsiness, and it's not "wrong" so much as it is an irksome style peculiarity of the New York Times, which has particularly arcane rules regarding initialisms and abbreviations, in that it insists on periods between the letters, so C.E.O., I.B.M., etc. And then, because of the periods, the need to use an apostrophe when forming a plural (because C.E.O.s doesn't work). They don't use periods in acronyms, which of course works much better. (CEO is properly an initialism or abbreviation because you say each of the letters separately, whereas an acronym is a word that's formed from initials but pronounced as a word, like NATO, or radar.)

                                            2. re: Hobbert
                                              Bill Hunt RE: Hobbert Jul 7, 2013 08:29 PM

                                              That is something, which is lost on far, far too many.


                                            3. re: CindyJ
                                              LindaWhit RE: CindyJ Jul 7, 2013 03:25 PM

                                              It was wrong, Cindy.

                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                CindyJ RE: LindaWhit Jul 8, 2013 09:27 AM

                                                Well, here's a link to the article with the misused apostrophe, Linda. Do YOU want to call them on it, or should I?


                                                EDIT: Never mind. I found their rationale under the heading, "Why Do Plural Abbreviations Have an Apostrophe?" http://afterdeadline.blogs.nytimes.co...

                                                1. re: CindyJ
                                                  JonParker RE: CindyJ Jul 8, 2013 10:01 AM

                                                  For me this debate ends with the fact that the Baltimore Orioles call themselves the O's and not the Os. If it's good enough for my team, it's good enough for me.

                                                  1. re: JonParker
                                                    KrumTx RE: JonParker Jul 8, 2013 01:18 PM

                                                    Maybe it's because the apostrophe replaces letters, in this case riole, like the Oakland A's (replaces thletic). Not being snotty. That's seriously an assumption. When you spell them out, they're not the Oriole's or Athletic's.

                                                  2. re: CindyJ
                                                    LindaWhit RE: CindyJ Jul 8, 2013 10:23 AM

                                                    So it's for visual purposes only.

                                                    1. re: CindyJ
                                                      Bill Hunt RE: CindyJ Jul 8, 2013 06:50 PM

                                                      Again, it depends on the style book, that one is using. When an acronym is pluralized, the apostrophe is used, as it would be in a conjunction, such as "can't."

                                                      Now, there are dissensions from that, like the debate on the plural of cactus - here in Phoenix, where we have many, the decision was finally made in the local print media - "cactus" - singular, or plural, and not "cacti." However, many respected botanical publications still use "cacti."

                                                      Rather that arguing Strunk & White vs AP vs BBC, etc., I would go out and campaign against "text message speak," or something important.

                                                      Just my feelings,


                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                        sandylc RE: Bill Hunt Jul 9, 2013 06:27 PM

                                                        Bill, I disagree. Acronyms are not supposed to have apostrophes when pluralized. While it is becoming more common to do so, and as such may eventually become accepted common usage, it is not currently correct.

                                                        Oh, and it's "contractions", not "conjunctions".


                                                        1. re: sandylc
                                                          Bill Hunt RE: sandylc Jul 15, 2013 08:52 PM

                                                          Again, it depends on which style book, one ascribes to. Which are you using?

                                                          Oh gosh, you caught me there. Like I said above, there are 800 Chowhounds, just salivating to correct something. You can wipe your mouth now.


                                            4. re: Bill Hunt
                                              sunshine842 RE: Bill Hunt Jul 7, 2013 06:45 AM

                                              Grammar and punctuation say much more to me than typos/spelling misteaks. :)

                                              Do remember that the smell chucker won't pick up the difference between your/you're, or between pear/pair/pare -- and we've all just flat-out typed the wrong word by accident.

                                              Once or twice doesn't bother me, but a post packed full of misspellings and bad usage makes me question the poster.

                                              I absolutely agree that sensitive palates (palates, not pallets!) aren't always keyed to linguistic abilities...but a professional writer gets no leeway at all. (a historic moment, indeed. Sniff.)

                                              1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                mucho gordo RE: Bill Hunt Jul 8, 2013 11:34 AM

                                                Bill, the sad thing is that 'mediocrity rules' these days. It has become mainstream. I've known CEO's with advanced degrees who can't spell or write properly. Except for a couple of grammatical errors that really piss me off, I tend to ignore most others. I've come to realize that language is used to communicate and, as long as the message being conveyed is understood, then any errors don't really matter.

                                                1. re: mucho gordo
                                                  CindyJ RE: mucho gordo Jul 8, 2013 04:58 PM

                                                  Then what do you say about grammatical errors so glaring they are their own distraction? I think CEOs who can't spell or write are an embarrassment to themselves and to the companies they represent. Sorry, I don't buy into the "mediocrity rules" viewpoint.

                                                  1. re: CindyJ
                                                    mucho gordo RE: CindyJ Jul 16, 2013 09:27 AM

                                                    I don't buy into it either but it is the new reality. The CEO's I knew usually came to me to write something for them or proofread what they wrote.

                                                    1. re: mucho gordo
                                                      CindyJ RE: mucho gordo Jul 18, 2013 05:29 AM

                                                      Well, let's give those CEOs (no apostrophe) credit for recognizing that their writings might have errors. Proofreading is alive and well; it's just not practiced often enough.

                                                      1. re: CindyJ
                                                        mucho gordo RE: CindyJ Jul 18, 2013 02:31 PM


                                                    2. re: CindyJ
                                                      mucho gordo RE: CindyJ Jul 16, 2013 04:45 PM

                                                      There are at least 3 glaring grammatical errors that are so commonplace I cringe every time I see/hear them:
                                                      Using "goes" instead of says
                                                      Using "wait on" instead of wait for (food servers excepted)
                                                      Using "could of" as the contraction for could have (could've)

                                                      1. re: mucho gordo
                                                        CindyJ RE: mucho gordo Jul 18, 2013 06:00 AM

                                                        Just a few days ago (with this thread very fresh in my mind) I was browsing through the website of a kitchen remodeler. On his home page there was a sizable red banner that read, "Call us if your kitchen or bath needs remodeled." Those little voices in my head were all a-chatter: if this person is sloppy about grammar/syntax, is he also sloppy about the work he performs... etc., etc. But there were two things working in his favor: I had already browsed through a gallery of photos of his work, which I found impressive; and he was located in a geographical area where there is a large Amish population. I wondered if that might be more a colloquial expression than a grammatical error.

                                                        In the end I did call him to discuss my kitchen project, and in the course of our conversation he directed me to his website. There was my opportunity. I asked him -- very kindly and tactfully, I might add -- about the wording in the banner on his home page. He contemplated it for a moment and then told me that his website was created by someone local. He said he had read it over but didn't give the wording a second thought because such phrasing is common in his vicinity. Interestingly enough, the next time I looked at his website I saw that the banner was changed and now reads, "Call us if your kitchen or bath needs to be remodeled."

                                                        1. re: CindyJ
                                                          LindaWhit RE: CindyJ Jul 18, 2013 06:59 AM

                                                          CindyJ, I see you live in PA. I heard this pattern of speech when I lived in central PA in the mid-1980s. I think it's a PA Dutch speech pattern, which would fit in with the Amish as well.

                                                          1. re: LindaWhit
                                                            CindyJ RE: LindaWhit Jul 18, 2013 11:44 AM

                                                            Exactly. The kitchen remodeler is located in Lancaster, which, as you probably know, is in the heart of PA Dutch country.

                                                            1. re: CindyJ
                                                              dmjordan RE: CindyJ Jul 18, 2013 12:50 PM

                                                              I'm in Pittsburgh and that structure is very common here.

                                                            2. re: LindaWhit
                                                              Ruth Lafler RE: LindaWhit Jul 18, 2013 12:08 PM

                                                              Yup. My first reaction was that's the kind of error a non-English speaker makes.

                                                            3. re: CindyJ
                                                              chowser RE: CindyJ Jul 18, 2013 08:39 AM

                                                              Sometimes grammatical errors are used intentionally in marketing. "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should."
                                                              People understand it; the words flow. We had a marketing manager who was a stickler for grammer and used the phrase, "...your numbers add up quicker" in a campaign. He disliked it but saw the marketing point that it was easy to understand.

                                                              1. re: CindyJ
                                                                sandylc RE: CindyJ Jul 18, 2013 04:31 PM

                                                                I'm from Indiana and I remember hearing that sort of thing. A lot of Amish settled there - similar to PA Dutch.

                                                          2. re: mucho gordo
                                                            Bill Hunt RE: mucho gordo Jul 8, 2013 06:59 PM

                                                            I cannot argue. When my wife, the President/CEO taught post-graduate Healthcare/Hospital Administration courses, she insisted that her students use proper grammar, and spell correctly. One semester, she failed two students, based primarily on the inability to write correctly. When called into review, she stated her position. The Dean of the English department was called in, and stated that he would never have let either student enroll in such a post-graduate class. Case was closed.

                                                            When my wife was but a young, Masters graduate, she had a CEO, who would correct every report, or paper, that she presented him with. That made an impression.

                                                            As for other CEO's [grin], I cannot speak for them. Anyone in mind there?


                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                              mucho gordo RE: Bill Hunt Jul 16, 2013 09:36 AM

                                                              When Mrs G and I worked for the same home health company (she was VP of HR and I was a special projects coordinator) the pres. sent out a company-wide memo that all correspondence was to be run by either one of us first before sending. When I worked for a major bank, my immediate boss, an AVP, always asked me to write his memo's/letters for him.

                                                              1. re: mucho gordo
                                                                DockPotato RE: mucho gordo Jul 16, 2013 03:15 PM

                                                                "...asked me to write his memo's/letters for him..."

                                                                You are a wicked man! : )

                                                                1. re: DockPotato
                                                                  mucho gordo RE: DockPotato Jul 16, 2013 04:07 PM

                                                                  Mea Culpa; I'm guilty of putting an apostrophe where one doesn't belong.

                                                                  1. re: mucho gordo
                                                                    DockPotato RE: mucho gordo Jul 17, 2013 08:26 AM

                                                                    Hee, hee. I thought you did that on purpose, gordo.

                                                                    1. re: mucho gordo
                                                                      Harters RE: mucho gordo Jul 17, 2013 09:09 AM

                                                                      Although it actually reads more right than without it, to me.

                                                          3. PegS RE: mwhitmore Jul 6, 2013 09:41 PM

                                                            Well, an online review solely relies on the written word to make an impact. Therefore, if the grammar, spelling, etc. end up confusing the reader or obscuring the meaning then isn't that a bad thing?

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: PegS
                                                              ipsedixit RE: PegS Jul 6, 2013 09:44 PM

                                                              Actually, an online review nowadays probably relies less on the written word than it has ever before to make an impact. Photos and sometimes videos are just as important, if not more so, than the written word, or words. In fact, I would say photos are more often than not more impactful than anything that's actually written.

                                                              The term "food porn" wasn't ginned up because of elegant prose.

                                                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                grayelf RE: ipsedixit Jul 6, 2013 10:51 PM

                                                                I am the fortunate owner of two degrees in English, so I will admit to some pain and suffering when reading certain reports and write-ups on line. I am much more forgiving of folks on CH (duh) and bloggers who are doing their posts for fun and not profit. I really have little patience for professional reviewers who can't at least put a sentence together, whether they are blogging or writing for a paper publication.

                                                                The worst thing, though, is when I catch an error in something I've posted. I have no mercy on myself when that happens!

                                                                1. re: grayelf
                                                                  Bill Hunt RE: grayelf Jul 7, 2013 08:31 PM

                                                                  <<I am the fortunate owner of two degrees in English>>

                                                                  Did the first one not take? [Grin]


                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                    grayelf RE: Bill Hunt Jul 7, 2013 11:36 PM

                                                                    Ha, nice one!

                                                                2. re: ipsedixit
                                                                  Ruth Lafler RE: ipsedixit Jul 17, 2013 12:04 PM

                                                                  What, you think that if the photo is pretty people will go to a restaurant even if the review says the food is terrible?

                                                                  I think the overall quality of the writing of a post (not a random misspelling or grammatical error -- although please, people, it's "palate" and "dessert"!) does affect my evaluation. It has to do with how much time and care someone is willing to put into expressing their opinions. Why should I give more respect to their opinions than they did when writing them?

                                                                  Same thing with people who post asking for suggestions. If they obviously haven't read the FAQ, or looked for related topics, or they just dashed off a short, generic post I won't reply, or if I do and they don't answer questions or make follow-up posts, I won't respond to them after my initial post. Why should I put more effort into *their* question than they did?

                                                              2. JonParker RE: mwhitmore Jul 6, 2013 11:11 PM

                                                                One of my favorite restaurants in the world is a little hole in the wall featuring a Hong Kong trained chef who speaks almost no English. His wife speaks some, and we pantomime, but ultimately I just trust him. Even going in with fluent Chinese speakers has been problematic.

                                                                I've also had American schooled chefs who sent me regular emails and tweets that were simply abominable. And again, their lack of fluency in their native language was not an issue.

                                                                So my real answer is maybe. I have enough of a western-centric outlook to probably favor someone who spoke and wrote "good" English. But at the same time I realize that it's a stupid outlook that harms both me and those who may have huge talent but poor language skills.

                                                                1. h
                                                                  Harters RE: mwhitmore Jul 7, 2013 03:17 AM

                                                                  I happily confess to being very snobby about such things.

                                                                  The occasional error isnt a problem of course - not least as I'm prone to them myself (I proof read a post but still miss the error). I also hold in mind that a person may not have English as their first language. I'm also aware that American English often differs in spelling and word usage from other forms of English, so need to remind myself of that.

                                                                  But a post littered with poor spelling, grammar, etc isnt one that I'm likely to take as serious comment. I have the same attitude to txt spk.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Harters
                                                                    Hobbert RE: Harters Jul 7, 2013 04:37 AM

                                                                    I completely agree.

                                                                  2. MGZ RE: mwhitmore Jul 7, 2013 07:08 AM

                                                                    Alright. Since you're lettin' me hit off the Lady's tee. I'm gonna take a swing. I warn you I'm usin' the big club and it's gonna sail.

                                                                    Now, I s'pose many of you know where on the fairway I'm gonna hit this one. It's gonna go far so, either look away, or pay attention.

                                                                    I spent a lot of time sittin' in desks, handin' in papers to earn three sheets of sheepskin. I was weaned on the prescriptivist tradition. I've published and edited.

                                                                    Now, I say this because, after three hours of surgery, the doctors were able to remove the stick. I came to realize that the Earth keeps spinnin. Things move. They have to. It's what makes it all work. That's what makes it all fun. Remember, in the end, everything is born to die, it's what happens in between that counts .

                                                                    "Those damn kids with their (take your choice) ragtime/rock&roll/rap music" Get it?

                                                                    This is a new medium and way of expression. It ain't a thesis. It ain't a draft you're submittin' to a publisher. It's a god damn conversation among food geeks.

                                                                    You guys wanna judge folks for grammar and spellin' when they offer their opinions on the bass they had last night? Get in the ring. They just took the robe offa me. I'll play. I'll even tell you ahead of the time, I'm leadin' with the right.

                                                                    Man, if you ain't never made a mistake, I'll kiss your ring. It must be nice. We were not all created the same. That makes things interestin'. I'm pretty certain, that, in my life, I've had more fun and met more characters than you still have time left to do. Nevertheless, I suggest you try and seek some adventure - it might help clean the glasses.

                                                                    At bottom, give me someone who can turn a phrase. Tell me the "burger was "visiting the Statue of Librty for the first time" good. I don't giva rat's ass about how they spell it. It's better than when some erudite shit says "I thought they made a great burger. I'd likely go back"

                                                                    Keep up.

                                                                    1. chowser RE: mwhitmore Jul 7, 2013 07:43 AM

                                                                      Having a math background, I prefer to judge others' food knowledge by their ability to do math. The point being both are irrelevant on a message board. Smart phones, aging eyes, faltering memory are problems I never thought I'd have when I was younger and my grammar much better. And I know so much more about food now. Written publication is a different story. It's like the difference between a formal speech and hanging out with friends. I'd hate to have some correct a transcript of my conversations.

                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                      1. re: chowser
                                                                        MGZ RE: chowser Jul 7, 2013 07:47 AM

                                                                        "I prefer to judge others' food knowledge by their ability to do math."

                                                                        Hell, that was "first tomato of the summer" good.

                                                                        1. re: MGZ
                                                                          sunshine842 RE: MGZ Jul 7, 2013 07:50 AM

                                                                          I didn't know Guy Fieri was posting here now.

                                                                          1. re: MGZ
                                                                            chowser RE: MGZ Jul 7, 2013 07:50 AM

                                                                            Understood. I've found the fibonacci numbers of tomatoes are best. The rest are, yknow, kinda meh. The first tomato is always iinvoluntarily sacrificed to the squirrels. :-)

                                                                          2. re: chowser
                                                                            Chemicalkinetics RE: chowser Jul 7, 2013 09:25 AM

                                                                            Oh you are a math guy, huh?

                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                              chowser RE: Chemicalkinetics Jul 7, 2013 10:57 AM

                                                                              Yeah, but feels like another lifetime ago...

                                                                            2. re: chowser
                                                                              Harters RE: chowser Jul 7, 2013 09:40 AM

                                                                              Perfect example of the need to be cautious about spelling.

                                                                              "math" - American English

                                                                              "maths" - British and Australian English (and possibly other parts of the English speaking Commonwealth)

                                                                              1. re: Harters
                                                                                chowser RE: Harters Jul 7, 2013 10:56 AM

                                                                                I did some of my undergrad work in England. It was an adjustment going there and another coming back. Here, if I said "maths," people would think I didn't know good food!

                                                                                1. re: chowser
                                                                                  Harters RE: chowser Jul 7, 2013 11:02 AM

                                                                                  My niece and her family moved to America in connection with her father's work. She was 11 or 12 and would have been just starting secondary school in the UK. Obviously a difficult upheaval for a girl of that age - not aided by unthinking American teachers who just marked her school work down for "wrong spelling" without explanations or, possibly, without realisations that it was "correct" for her for the previous 11 or 12 years.

                                                                                  I'm not sure how her math or maths is now or, for that matter, her understanding of good food.

                                                                                  1. re: Harters
                                                                                    sunshine842 RE: Harters Jul 7, 2013 07:49 PM

                                                                                    one of my best pals at uni had gone to boarding school in Scotland. She was a *brilliant* writer, but continually received poor marks in English (ironic, huh?) because she spelt everything with UK spellings.

                                                                                    Later, when I was working on my master's, I was usually put into a group with foreign students -- I usually was handed the task of doing the final editing on all of our written projects, so I could correct the spelling and grammar to US standards.

                                                                                    Then I started doing a lot of work with a couple of major UK companies, so I polished the UK spelling and grammar that I'd picked up whilst working on my degrees. (see what I did there? Americans never use whilst.)

                                                                                    Then I moved to France, and added a whole new set of spelling and grammar to the pot.

                                                                                    Now? Chances are that it's spelled/spelt correctly, and the grammar is correct, but it's anybody's guess if it matches the reader (or is consistent through the correspondence.)

                                                                                2. re: Harters
                                                                                  Bill Hunt RE: Harters Jul 7, 2013 08:35 PM

                                                                                  Well, colour my face red...


                                                                              2. CindyJ RE: mwhitmore Jul 7, 2013 08:04 AM

                                                                                Okay -- call me a grammar/punctuation/spelling snob, but to me it matters. I make snap judgements about anyone who puts his or her writing out there for public display with errors in spelling, punctuation or grammar. I won't go into the shop in my neighborhood that has a sign out in front advertising their "pizza's." It's just NOT okay. I've heard all the arguments and excuses, and I don't buy them. I've said it before on these boards and elsewhere, and I still believe that it really does matter.

                                                                                14 Replies
                                                                                1. re: CindyJ
                                                                                  chowser RE: CindyJ Jul 7, 2013 08:16 AM

                                                                                  What if the "pizza's" were made by someone who was from Italy and the best you could get? Would you avoid great food over a typo?

                                                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                                                    CindyJ RE: chowser Jul 7, 2013 08:36 AM

                                                                                    I guess that might be my loss. I wouldn't know that those "pizza's" were the best I could get because I wouldn't have gone in to try them.

                                                                                    Would I avoid great food over a typo? I can't say for sure. My gut tells me that if I knew the "pizza's" were really that good, I might be tempted to go in, buy a pizza and tell someone about the error on their signage. Would I really do that? Not likely.

                                                                                    1. re: CindyJ
                                                                                      chowser RE: CindyJ Jul 7, 2013 08:48 AM

                                                                                      Thanks for an honest reply. I was thinking it would be interesting to start a thread on when CHers avoid good food, eg. over grammatical errors, ethics, location, cleanliness.

                                                                                      1. re: chowser
                                                                                        MGZ RE: chowser Jul 7, 2013 09:37 AM

                                                                                        "I was thinking it would be interesting to start a thread on when CHers avoid good food, eg. over grammatical errors, ethics, location, cleanliness."

                                                                                        I'm in.

                                                                                        I could point out mistahes* the stick crowd make.

                                                                                        Some Alphas can fuckin' howl loud - really LOUD.

                                                                                        Read the Manifesto. Bark about Chow, not the way the other 'hounds talk about it. That's foul. These pups may not know as much about language as you, bur they most likely know food better than the bulk of the world. Listen to what they have to say. They know where the best garbage cans on the street are.

                                                                                        This thread comes off to me as reminiscent of what might be a local post on the NJ Board about the Broadway in Point Pleasant. S/he has one of the greatest fried flounder sandwiches that God ever permitted to be made. If that soul is lucky, they got a hard roll, a fish pulled from the sea about eight that morning, Swiss cheese, and extra tartar.

                                                                                        Man, the poster may be deeply OC. They'll explain it by sayin' "It was awesome and came with fries and melt vinegar for the fries and they were so good too and we had so much fun. That place rocked even though it was kinda dirty and they they kinda well they kinda were great and the draft beers were only two bucks. BTW .the waitress was so nice."

                                                                                        Now, I'll tell you, the flounder sandwich at the Broadway ranks with pizza at Lombardi's, crabs at Harris's, a cheesesteak at John's, or sittin' on a friend's oceanfront deck, drinkin' reposado and playin' guitar into the wind. You dismiss what s/he had to say, you miss one of the finest sandwiches at the Jersey Shore.

                                                                                        I told you all, the robe's off. Discountin' the Chow because you didn't like the way the 'hound wrote. Go to Applebee's, OK? Otherwise, just listen.

                                                                                        Hat's off, Chowser. Well put. As you are, no doubt aware, this was not directed at you. We're standin' on the same sideline.

                                                                                        *I did that on purpuse, please tell me someone got it?

                                                                                        1. re: MGZ
                                                                                          mtlcowgirl RE: MGZ Jul 29, 2013 12:08 PM

                                                                                          Were you not referring to that elegant Japanese delicacy? TFIC

                                                                                        2. re: chowser
                                                                                          grayelf RE: chowser Jul 7, 2013 05:59 PM

                                                                                          I will admit to a serious bias against restaurant owners who can't spell Caesar. Really bugs me to the point where I don't want to eat there.

                                                                                          1. re: grayelf
                                                                                            mtlcowgirl RE: grayelf Jul 29, 2013 12:10 PM

                                                                                            Nobody has any excuse for not researching the business they are in.

                                                                                    2. re: CindyJ
                                                                                      greygarious RE: CindyJ Jul 17, 2013 04:00 PM

                                                                                      I realize that the misspelling, "judgement", is so common as to have wormed its way into acceptance as an alternate form, but the original and proper spelling is "judgment".

                                                                                      1. re: greygarious
                                                                                        DeppityDawg RE: greygarious Jul 17, 2013 04:53 PM

                                                                                        "Original" in what sense? The spellings "judgment" and "judgement" have both been around since the 16th century, but neither one is the "original" form, since the word has been in use in English since the 13th century. And before that, it was a French word, so wouldn't _that_ be the original spelling? Or should we go back to Latin?

                                                                                        1. re: DeppityDawg
                                                                                          Ruth Lafler RE: DeppityDawg Jul 17, 2013 04:56 PM

                                                                                          Yup. They're both acceptable.

                                                                                          1. re: DeppityDawg
                                                                                            greygarious RE: DeppityDawg Jul 17, 2013 05:04 PM

                                                                                            The way it's spelled in three of my dictionaries, going back 50 yrs. The extra "e" variant is relatively new. I used it in error in a grade school spelling test, which is how I learned not to.

                                                                                            1. re: greygarious
                                                                                              DockPotato RE: greygarious Jul 17, 2013 05:22 PM

                                                                                              I go back more than 50 years and I've never encountered that spelling, but then I'm in Canada.

                                                                                              Here is what the OED has to say, "In British English the normal spelling in general contexts is judgement. However, the spelling judgment is conventional in legal contexts, and in North American English."

                                                                                              Now, I'm thinking that the author of the above passage should have placed both "judgement" and "judgment" in quotation marks as I have.

                                                                                              1. re: greygarious
                                                                                                DeppityDawg RE: greygarious Jul 17, 2013 05:52 PM

                                                                                                Both variants are much more than 50 years old. I also learned "judgment" in school, but now that I'm out of school, I don't see anything wrong with "judgement". After all, we don't write "judgd" or "judgship".

                                                                                                1. re: DeppityDawg
                                                                                                  DockPotato RE: DeppityDawg Jul 17, 2013 06:00 PM

                                                                                                  Well, I learned something today. Glad I woke up. : )

                                                                                        2. LindaWhit RE: mwhitmore Jul 7, 2013 08:39 AM

                                                                                          I think it depends on where I'm reading the review. If it's a published review by a journalist -- e.g., Corby Kummer in Boston Magazine or The Atlantic, Jonathan Gold in the L.A. Times or elsewhere -- I want to read a clear, concise, well-written review.

                                                                                          And yes, spelling matters to me. Always has. It is a pet peeve of mine to see a spelling mistake on a restaurant's menu, especially when it is so often easy to correct.

                                                                                          As for a blogger, I would hope that should one have become mainstream popular to have won awards for their site, the blogger would be well-versed in writing and stylistic prose and be able to get their point across about a topic without excessive, flowery statements, misspelled words, and awkward phrasing. Bloggers don't have editors, as you would hope a newspaper's online review site has (although more and more, it seems editors and/or proofreaders aren't doing their job well either!). So bloggers are on their own, and it is much more enjoyable to read one that is well written - grammatically and otherwise.

                                                                                          On Yelp? While I rarely look there, I don't ever expect to see proper grammar there. But when I do, it's a pleasure to read. But if all I'm going to see is "It was totally awwsum!", I'm not going to read the site. I'll look for reviews of that restaurant elsewhere.

                                                                                          For the most part, I think those who inhabit CH are good writers, and I'm more likely to trust the majority of reviews here based on those well-written reviews. I've been here long enough to know which Hounds' reviews seem to most represent what I would personally like when it comes to the restaurant's food. So just as with any site, everything is taken with a grain of salt.

                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                            JonParker RE: LindaWhit Jul 7, 2013 09:18 AM

                                                                                            To an every increasing degree, professional writers such as newspaper reviewers don't have copy editors either. The layoffs in that industry have been devastating.

                                                                                            1. re: JonParker
                                                                                              JonParker RE: JonParker Jul 8, 2013 07:37 AM

                                                                                              Also, my saying "To an every increasing degree" shows the value of copy editors.

                                                                                              1. re: JonParker
                                                                                                LindaWhit RE: JonParker Jul 8, 2013 07:43 AM

                                                                                                LOL! My brain read it in the way you had intended, Jon. :-)

                                                                                                1. re: JonParker
                                                                                                  Bill Hunt RE: JonParker Jul 8, 2013 07:03 PM


                                                                                                  Oh gosh yes!

                                                                                                  Luckily, I sort of know many of my general typing/composition errors, and luckily pick up many, but never all, of those.

                                                                                                  I look at each "you," to see if I really meant "your," and too many more, to enumerate.


                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                MGZ RE: LindaWhit Jul 8, 2013 02:01 AM

                                                                                                Well put, Linda. We may not be completely eye to eye on this, but we can still hold hands. I'd simply submit the notion that most everything in life is better taken with a grain of salt.

                                                                                                1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                  LindaWhit RE: MGZ Jul 8, 2013 07:29 AM

                                                                                                  Can we skip while holding hands, MGZ? I like skipping. It makes people smile. :-)

                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                    KrumTx RE: LindaWhit Jul 8, 2013 05:43 PM

                                                                                                    Clearly you've never seen me skip. Nobody smiling in seeing that.

                                                                                                    1. re: KrumTx
                                                                                                      LindaWhit RE: KrumTx Jul 8, 2013 05:49 PM

                                                                                                      OK then - laughing. :-D

                                                                                              3. PotatoHouse RE: mwhitmore Jul 7, 2013 08:58 AM

                                                                                                Sorry to those who think otherwise, but in this day and age every computer and web browser has built in spell and grammar check. There is no excuse for a lack of either.

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: PotatoHouse
                                                                                                  JonParker RE: PotatoHouse Jul 7, 2013 09:12 AM

                                                                                                  A lot of us use tablets and smartphones, which means some mistakes are autocorrect issues. Some of us once in a while misplace an apostrophe even if we know the difference, or use the wrong form of "their." I'll fix it if I notice it, but sometimes I don't.

                                                                                                  I used to work as a journalist, and I can tell you it's difficult to notice your own mistakes.

                                                                                                  There are plenty of good reasons to make errors.

                                                                                                  1. re: JonParker
                                                                                                    PotatoHouse RE: JonParker Jul 7, 2013 09:49 AM

                                                                                                    I don't own a tablet but I have posted from my smartphone and can understand that but any mistakes in my SP posts are due to not taking time to proof read before hitting post.

                                                                                                    1. re: JonParker
                                                                                                      Bill Hunt RE: JonParker Jul 7, 2013 08:36 PM

                                                                                                      Ah yes, AutoCorrect.

                                                                                                      Why does mine never correct my errors, but then jumps up, and changes things that are correct?

                                                                                                      Such is life today.


                                                                                                  2. q
                                                                                                    Querencia RE: mwhitmore Jul 7, 2013 09:09 AM

                                                                                                    Perspective, please. I will argue forever that the ability to organize language and use it correctly IS an indicator of intelligence. That said, I really must point out that the situation is much worse on the political forums than it is on the food forums. Recent examples (I collect them) include "The death penalty is a detergent", "the country is heading for armed resurrection", "the president is a trader to his country", and this post in its entirety, "O educated in a Madras schol. learned rev theory from Sol Kolinsky and anti-Semotism from Luis Astrakhan [sic]". The political forums remind us that these people vote---on the food forums, we can set aside those worries and just focus on whether they can cook even if they can't spell. A proud argument for homeschooling that says "My mather was a 9th grad dropout and did tech me and my sister to read and right" strikes me as more ominous for our world than if someone misspells Chenin Blanc or bain-marie.

                                                                                                    14 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Querencia
                                                                                                      Harters RE: Querencia Jul 7, 2013 09:43 AM

                                                                                                      In the UK, whenever right wing politicans start up on a "things arent what they used to be" in our education system, they always call for schools to return to the basics of teaching the three "Rs".

                                                                                                      That's reading, writing and arithmetic. I kid you not.

                                                                                                      1. re: Harters
                                                                                                        PotatoHouse RE: Harters Jul 7, 2013 09:50 AM

                                                                                                        Well since the saying "the three R's" has been around for about 150 years, I don't see the point of your post.

                                                                                                        1. re: PotatoHouse
                                                                                                          Harters RE: PotatoHouse Jul 7, 2013 10:31 AM

                                                                                                          I'm not sure I understand the relevance of the time scale that the phrase has been in use. But thanks for your response.

                                                                                                          It has always been a nonsensical phrase and I've always found it amusing when it's used - not that I've been around since 1825, so there will be many years when it's been used where I havnt been amused. But I'm sure previous generations will have enjoyed the irony, much as Querencia clearly enjoys the irony of her/his similar education quote.

                                                                                                          1. re: Harters
                                                                                                            sunshine842 RE: Harters Jul 7, 2013 07:52 PM

                                                                                                            that one's been mainstream here for generations, Harters -- sounds like it's a new import on your side!

                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                              Harters RE: sunshine842 Jul 8, 2013 02:52 AM

                                                                                                              Nope, not a new import. Been around as long as I can remember. Still never fails to have me shouting "FUCKWIT" at the TV, whenever a politician uses the phrase. It's one of those cheap, throwaway, meaningless phrases that folk like to use when they can't be arsed having proper conversation - the same folk are likely to dismiss any view to the political left of their own position as "politically correct",

                                                                                                      2. re: Querencia
                                                                                                        Chemicalkinetics RE: Querencia Jul 7, 2013 11:24 AM

                                                                                                        <Perspective, please. I will argue forever that the ability to organize language and use it correctly IS an indicator of intelligence.>

                                                                                                        I would say that it is an indication, but it is a moderate indicator, nor is it the only indicator.

                                                                                                        If you were to pick out the top 1000 most intelligent people and the least intelligent 1000 people from your city, then yes, the top 1000 most intelligent people will most likely speak and write better. However, this only proves there is a correlation. A weak or a strong one will show this.

                                                                                                        Hemingway is known to be a horrible speller.

                                                                                                        Let's try this analogy. The top 100 US basket ball players are going to be taller than the worst 100 US basket ball players. No question about this.

                                                                                                        However, if you over-extend the logic, and say "Jim in my HR office is 6'2" and Matt in marketing is 5'10". Jim must be a better basketball player than Matt.", then, you are very likely to be wrong. Given all else the same, a taller person does have an advantage. However, basketball is so much more than just height, and intelligence is so much more than just spelling and grammar.

                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                          Googs RE: Chemicalkinetics Jul 7, 2013 06:27 PM


                                                                                                          1. re: Googs
                                                                                                            Chemicalkinetics RE: Googs Jul 7, 2013 06:31 PM

                                                                                                            Ha ha ha.

                                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                                                              Googs RE: Chemicalkinetics Jul 7, 2013 06:34 PM

                                                                                                              The same principle doesn't apply in hockey. Great players come in every size.

                                                                                                        2. re: Querencia
                                                                                                          DeppityDawg RE: Querencia Jul 8, 2013 04:01 AM

                                                                                                          "I will argue forever that the ability to organize language and use it correctly IS an indicator of intelligence"

                                                                                                          It is an indicator of (conventional) education, not intelligence. There are many imaginable (and sadly, real) situations where a person of normal or superior intelligence can have their access to education limited or denied. Everyone on the Internet is not from your country and your social class. If I told you that the person who wrote "The president is a trader" was your next door neighbor, _maybe_ you could conclude that he/she is an uneducated idiot. But what if you found out that it was a girl in Afghanistan?

                                                                                                          "I am somehow less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein's brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops" (Stephen Jay Gould)

                                                                                                          1. re: DeppityDawg
                                                                                                            MGZ RE: DeppityDawg Jul 8, 2013 04:52 AM

                                                                                                            Dawg, sit down, I'll pour you a bowl of the finest kibbles, in my finest bowl. Eat 'til you get your fill. You earned it, for sure.

                                                                                                            1. re: DeppityDawg
                                                                                                              ferventfoodie RE: DeppityDawg Jul 8, 2013 09:01 AM

                                                                                                              What Dawg says is true, and often by
                                                                                                              seeing the same mistakes repeated in a poster's entries you can tell if maybe this is a rule they never learned or have forgotten or if they are not writing in their native language. If the content is worthwhile, the post is of value.

                                                                                                              What annoys me is the poster who is obviously capable of
                                                                                                              producing a "proper" post but can't be bothered. To me,
                                                                                                              that indicates disdain for the reader - the attitude of "My
                                                                                                              opinion is so important that I don't have to play by the
                                                                                                              rules". I won't disregard such a post but will certainly take
                                                                                                              it with the aforementioned "grain of salt".

                                                                                                              1. re: ferventfoodie
                                                                                                                MGZ RE: ferventfoodie Jul 8, 2013 09:12 AM

                                                                                                                What exactly is a "'proper' post", Beta? Who decides that? Read the stuff up here in other peoples voices. That's the point. Don't bring your hang ups to the table - it makes everything taste bitter.

                                                                                                                This Site is more HBO than NPR.

                                                                                                              2. re: DeppityDawg
                                                                                                                Googs RE: DeppityDawg Jul 8, 2013 08:41 PM

                                                                                                                Too true, DeppityDawg. One of the most intelligent people I know is also profoundly dyslexic.

                                                                                                            2. Chemicalkinetics RE: mwhitmore Jul 7, 2013 09:30 AM

                                                                                                              As long as I can understand the post, the grammatical and spelling errors do not mean a lot to me. I am more annoyed by nonfactual statements.

                                                                                                              1. s
                                                                                                                sparky403 RE: mwhitmore Jul 7, 2013 09:52 AM

                                                                                                                Do you also judge your doctor by the quality of his handwriting?

                                                                                                                The advise and review's are worth what you pay for them right?

                                                                                                                I am a bit dyslexic (a bit more than most) I spend too much time with spell check at work to make a huge effort when I post or read on chow.

                                                                                                                Funny, in the internet age the quality of ones grammar seems far more important than character or the actual ideas that are behind the bad grammar and misspelling... surreal to me.

                                                                                                                Hey I hear the Mattress police are hiring....


                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: sparky403
                                                                                                                  MGZ RE: sparky403 Jul 7, 2013 09:59 AM

                                                                                                                  Exactly. Only thing you left out, sparky, woulda been:

                                                                                                                  "Do you tell Clapton he was flat on the A Sharp?"

                                                                                                                  1. re: sparky403
                                                                                                                    LindaWhit RE: sparky403 Jul 7, 2013 10:04 AM

                                                                                                                    Except a professional restaurant reviewer writes for a living, whereas a doctor doesn't.

                                                                                                                    1. re: sparky403
                                                                                                                      absurdnerdbird RE: sparky403 Jul 7, 2013 06:44 PM

                                                                                                                      It's advice and reviews.

                                                                                                                      1. re: sparky403
                                                                                                                        sunshine842 RE: sparky403 Jul 7, 2013 07:55 PM

                                                                                                                        heh -- I used to work with a marketing guy who could barely spell his own name. Not stupid...just a horrid speller.

                                                                                                                        The VP of sales blew his top one day after yet another label had made it to print with asinine misspellings. "Your computer has a spellchecker on it -- there's no excuse for this bullshit!"

                                                                                                                        "Oh, that thing? It's a pain in the ass -- it pops up all the time, so I turned it off."

                                                                                                                        Absolute dead silence in the meeting for several uncomfortable minute.

                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                          sparky403 RE: sunshine842 Jul 8, 2013 12:25 PM

                                                                                                                          Perhaps I mis-undstood the context - in your situation, the VP of marketing should be flawless... that's what he's paid for.

                                                                                                                          In my professional life I will often spend an hour or more through out the day responding to an simple e-mail.... On chow not so much.

                                                                                                                          I realize the English police look down on me for this and perhaps discount my ideas - too bad for them.

                                                                                                                          I just think people get a little (and when I say a little - I actually mean a lot:-) too anal about proper English...If they're glaring and repeated errors than it's understandable (and just sloppiness).

                                                                                                                          At the end of the day, I am willing to look past most grammatical and spelling errors to see if there's a real idea there.. Wheas many will throw the baby out with the bathwater if there are simple spelling or syntax errors...

                                                                                                                          In the case of your VP - he should be fired - it's a completely different context / situation.

                                                                                                                          1. re: sparky403
                                                                                                                            sunshine842 RE: sparky403 Jul 8, 2013 05:10 PM

                                                                                                                            yeeeahhhh....Owner's second son. That ain't gonna happen.

                                                                                                                            It was the blatant disregard for proper spelling and the bl**dy spell checker that created the crickets at the meeting.

                                                                                                                      2. t
                                                                                                                        tastesgoodwhatisit RE: mwhitmore Jul 7, 2013 06:25 PM

                                                                                                                        For a user review, I would take the general level of articulation and detail more seriously than the actual spelling - your vs you're is less of an issue than a review that simply says "You're going to love it" without giving any more details.

                                                                                                                        Text-speech and lack of capitals and punctuation, on the other hand, drives me up the wall in general, and I probably won't even read the review.

                                                                                                                        Professional reviews, I have higher standards.

                                                                                                                        Of course, I'm very used to reading stuff written by non native English speakers. 3/4 of the time, if I get an English *menu* it's badly spelled and translated. I also end up using Google translate a lot for web-sites and reviews, when there isn't much English information. Compared to a google Chinese -> English or Japanese -> English translation, poor grammar and spelling is minor.

                                                                                                                        As an aside, I was using Google translate while preparing for a trip to Germany, and was amazed at how good the translations were compared to languages I usually deal with.

                                                                                                                        I do, generally, have fairly high standards when it comes to forums and internet communication in general. I only read/participate in forums that pass a certain basic level in writing style and content.

                                                                                                                        1. n
                                                                                                                          nsgirl RE: mwhitmore Jul 7, 2013 08:00 PM

                                                                                                                          What a great question and thread!

                                                                                                                          This is one of those "elephant in the room" issues that are pervasive in online reading and writing.

                                                                                                                          When I post here, I try to keep it conversational. I imagine that I am actually hanging out with a bunch of people who are magically conversing about something like the care of their cast iron skillets, right when I am. I usually do a quick check for any sloppy errors, and that's it.

                                                                                                                          In terms of reading, I cut a lot of slack as well. I try to read posts here in a conversational way. It seems like this is the norm here - plenty of great information, humor, and entertaining writing. Way better than so much of what is informally discussed online in other places.

                                                                                                                          1. b
                                                                                                                            Bkeats RE: mwhitmore Jul 8, 2013 06:00 AM

                                                                                                                            Minor mistakes in spelling or grammar are annoying, but they don't change the essence of what's being communicated. I know I make them.

                                                                                                                            However, there are rules to languages (and to games like golf). All of them. If someone decides that the rules do not bind the individual, then you have Babel. Spelling mistakes or errors in grammar can be overlooked because they can be recognized as such and the reader can figure out what the writer was trying to say. If you decide the rules are arbitrary (which all rules pretty much are) and therefore useless, then good luck with you. We will all live in a society of one without the ability to communicate with another.

                                                                                                                            If something deviates so much from the rules than you won't recognize it and know what it means. Need the rules to know what is being broken. Doesn't mean that rules can't be changed (see rule on anchoring putters).

                                                                                                                            Off the soap box now.

                                                                                                                            As an aside, I've spent a large portion of my career working and living with "english" speaking folk from England, Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and even America. Makes you realize that all the threads about proper spelling and pronunciation are pretty silly. It all depends on where you are.

                                                                                                                            1. pinehurst RE: mwhitmore Jul 8, 2013 10:34 AM

                                                                                                                              My paternal grandparents never learned correct English. If they told me Hell had good food, I would call 1-666-LUCIFER and request a reservation. I consider the source, and then decide (for good or ill).

                                                                                                                              PS I teach English for a living. I like to think I'm always learning it, though, and try to reach for the red pen only in classroom situations, or if I'm asked to do so.

                                                                                                                              1. Karl S RE: mwhitmore Jul 8, 2013 10:40 AM

                                                                                                                                Well, childish usages (yummy, delish, et cet.) do make me hit the ignore button fast. Even when said by the Dowager Countess of Grantham with a fresh pot of jam.

                                                                                                                                1. eatzalot RE: mwhitmore Jul 8, 2013 10:43 AM

                                                                                                                                  Keep in mind that the vice of _pointing out_ other writers' language gaffes on public Internet exchanges was already in 1980s "netiquette" summaries as uncool; the famous RFC1855 later codified those recommendations, and IIRC it cited such behavior as marking the "immature beginner."

                                                                                                                                  All that said, how we express is always USEFUL to others for cues to our sensibilities. (& the more you know about that, the more incentive to get your own act together!)

                                                                                                                                  I find it not so much distracting as USEFUL therefore (for instance), when pretentious amateur restaurant critics affect mannerisms of professional ones. This includes some distinctive modern habits, like the de-transitivized verb ("It didn't dissapoint"), hip only for a few years now, but high on any check-off list of lightweight restaurant-writer cues. Or the recent fad for using "cusp" whenever mentioning the verge of something, but revealing no appreciation for what a cusp actually is. The more amateurish writers (again, not limited to literal nonprofessionals) also toss off restaurant-trade terms, as if to show inside knowledge -- but they use them wrong, which makes restaurant professionals roll their eyes, and offers a useful telltale for the rest of us who pay attention. (I'd cite real examples, but that might eventually render them less Useful! :-)

                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: eatzalot
                                                                                                                                    JonParker RE: eatzalot Jul 8, 2013 11:00 AM

                                                                                                                                    You actually touch on something that *does* drive me insane, which is the use of meaningless cliches. I tend to File 13 any review (or menu) that uses "cooked to perfection" or "kick it up a notch."

                                                                                                                                    Poor English is totally forgivable, lazy English never is.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: JonParker
                                                                                                                                      chowser RE: JonParker Jul 8, 2013 11:09 AM

                                                                                                                                      "Sexy" food. I'm still trying to figure out what that means.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                                                        sunshine842 RE: linguafood Jul 8, 2013 05:14 PM

                                                                                                                                        there's a little Italian hole-in-the-wall in Koeln that served me homemade canneloni with a crabmeat stuffing in a white-wine and black truffle cream sauce.

                                                                                                                                        THAT was sexy. Meg Ryan in the restaurant sexy.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                          pinehurst RE: chowser Jul 8, 2013 11:40 AM

                                                                                                                                          Smiling in total agreement. Any food can be sexy, if the right person is holding it. Is Laurence Fishburne or Liam Neeson holding a bowl of oatmeal? Then it's sexy...well, to me, anyway. Don't know if anyone has seen the Cumberland farms iced coffee ads played tongue-in-cheek by David Hasselhoff, but they crack me up.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                            Hobbert RE: chowser Jul 8, 2013 11:48 AM

                                                                                                                                            That's easy. DH cooking dinner and me sitting on the couch. Without the barrage of questions...how do I turn on the oven? Where do you keep the spatulas? What knife should I use?

                                                                                                                                      2. hambone RE: mwhitmore Jul 8, 2013 10:53 AM

                                                                                                                                        As long as it doesn't change the meaning, it doesn't fry my bacon.

                                                                                                                                        1. r
                                                                                                                                          ricepad RE: mwhitmore Jul 8, 2013 12:01 PM

                                                                                                                                          I have to admit that some of the misspellings in this thread (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/908192) make me wonder about the usefulness of some posters' opinions...

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: ricepad
                                                                                                                                            chowser RE: ricepad Jul 8, 2013 12:24 PM

                                                                                                                                            Now that I think of it, I do remember learning in biology that taste is shared on the same chromosome as spelling. Maybe it's an extra X chromosome thing passed on through the mothers? I can't remember, though, whether it's the same one shared by baldness. If that were the case,the best foodies would be easily identified.

                                                                                                                                          2. v
                                                                                                                                            virtualguthrie RE: mwhitmore Jul 8, 2013 10:10 PM

                                                                                                                                            I find it hard to take anybody seriously who doesn't make an effort to use proper spelling and grammar.
                                                                                                                                            Also, I don't trust anyone who says Sammie or other cute words. Not sure why, I just don't.

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: virtualguthrie
                                                                                                                                              Bill Hunt RE: virtualguthrie Jul 15, 2013 08:55 PM

                                                                                                                                              Cute words - a real problem, and covered in some detail, in other CH threads.

                                                                                                                                              I dislike such, and have said the same, in many of those other thread.

                                                                                                                                              OTOH, many seem to gravitate to them, like moths to a porch light.


                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                                                mtlcowgirl RE: Bill Hunt Jul 29, 2013 12:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                Agreed. Or unnecessary abbreviations, e.g. guac. Does it take that much energy to say guacamole?

                                                                                                                                            2. d
                                                                                                                                              donovt RE: mwhitmore Jul 9, 2013 07:42 AM

                                                                                                                                              The day someone proves there is a correlation between grammar/spelling and the ability to know good food I will begin to care. I hope that day never comes since my grammar is shaky at best. Until then, I will only care about what was written, not how it was written.

                                                                                                                                              1. s
                                                                                                                                                Siegal RE: mwhitmore Jul 9, 2013 07:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                I am not speaking for everyone but I feel like people my age (under 30) barely use computers where it is easy to type and spell check. I mostly use my iPhone or iPad which creates a lot of typos and spelling errors.

                                                                                                                                                It's also a blog and I don't take it too seriously how I post it's not an appellate brief - I try to have fun when I post on sites like this not be neurotic about my typing

                                                                                                                                                Whenever I correct my husband about his grammar, etc he just looks at me and says how many languages do you speak? English is his 3rd language doesn't mean he shouldn't be taken seriously.

                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Siegal
                                                                                                                                                  PotatoHouse RE: Siegal Jul 14, 2013 08:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Once again, I can't speak to a pad as I do not own one, but my smartphone highlights words that are not in its dictionary. As I have stated before, any typos in a post from my phone is due to not proofreading before posting and completely my fault even if spellchecker or voice recognition makes an error.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: PotatoHouse
                                                                                                                                                    eatzalot RE: PotatoHouse Jul 14, 2013 10:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                    Yes, it's always the writer's choice how much care to put into what that writer posts publicly, and it reflects on the writer.

                                                                                                                                                    Also, automated tools can only do so much for people who don't distinguish they're / there / their, let alone infer / imply. And the tools themselves have problems. My old office Microsoft spell-check dictionary didn't know the word "Alsatian" (it wanted to substitute "Alaskan"), nor "fatuous" (offering instead "fatties"). Two of several examples I saved at the time. Gaffes like those encourage real speculation about the cultural milieu of firms that would prepare such a dictionary, and sell it for widespread public use...

                                                                                                                                                2. l
                                                                                                                                                  Lizard RE: mwhitmore Jul 15, 2013 11:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                  Grammar, spelling, usage and style affect my reading of an online review. If these are poor, I do not immediately assume that the person writing it has no knowledge of food, but I do begin to suspect that the entry will be of limited use if it is unclear and a chore to get through. Grammar and spelling are key elements in clear communication of an idea, and the onus is with the writer, not the reader. Sure, I may miss out if I give up on a poorly written post, but more likely than not, I am not missing out. Bad writing is bad manners and smacks of egotism (the writer thinks not of his or her audience, but only of his or himself).

                                                                                                                                                  Typos and the occasional homonym gaffe are not the problem here. Nor are the misplaced commas (although apostrophe abuse is offensive because it requires an effort to make that error). But regular misuse and writing that inhibits expression and understanding are not appreciated in a forum that is almost entirely text based.

                                                                                                                                                  Although people here claim that these criteria unfairly target ESL folks, I disagree (as do others on this thread). More often than not, the ESL folks demonstrate a greater grasp of the language and grammatical rules-- particularly when they opt to participate. The most egregious errors and incoherent posts have come from the EFL hounds. It is highly unlikely that an ESL hound types 'could of' in the place of 'could have' unless the language has been acquired through conversation alone.

                                                                                                                                                  But while poor writing and poor usage affects my approach to a review and my impression of a hound, it does not indicate that the person is a 'poor taster'-- at least not for me. However, those with the ridiculously florid prose do suggest someone with something to hide and that something is most likely a limited viewpoint that s/he hopes to mask with excessive and unnecessary verbiage. (And shut up. I know I suffer from wordiness although I avoid the florid crap.)

                                                                                                                                                  32 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Lizard
                                                                                                                                                    sunshine842 RE: Lizard Jul 16, 2013 04:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                    ESL - English as a Second Language
                                                                                                                                                    EFL - English as a Foreign Language.

                                                                                                                                                    Same animal at the end of the day.

                                                                                                                                                    English teachers use "mother tongue" or "native speaker" to refer to those who speak English as their *F*irst language.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                      Lizard RE: sunshine842 Jul 16, 2013 09:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                      Sorry, I was using it as English as a First language, which is incorrect. Thanks for clearing it up for me.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Lizard
                                                                                                                                                        sunshine842 RE: Lizard Jul 16, 2013 05:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                        yep -- I figured that from your post -- no worries.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Lizard
                                                                                                                                                      chowser RE: Lizard Jul 16, 2013 05:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                      People who learn English formally have a different understanding of it than native speakers and I agree often have better grammar than native speakers. That, however, means having money and education. Most ESL speakers I know did not formally learn the language. They move to an English speaking country and do what they can. English is a confusing enough language if you have the means to study it formally. Spelling? My son and I were discussing that there might be more that are exceptions than the rule. And, past tense? In romance languages, it's easier. In Chinese, non-existent (just add "already"). In English? Try it. See how many follow the rule and don't.

                                                                                                                                                      Even in speaking, it can be difficult to understand what others say, especially if they have heavy accents. It might take more time but there is much to learn if you take the time. The bottom line at CH is, "How much work are you willing to put in to find good food?"

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                        Bkeats RE: chowser Jul 16, 2013 08:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                        I think you might be surprised by the number of people who speak English as second, third or even fourth language that learned it formally as part of their basic education. Did not have money and didn't live in an English speaking country, but did have an education. Many of my colleagues who are from Europe speak perfect, if accented English. They learned English from a very early age starting in primary school and continuing through university. I know many more Europeans who are fluent in English than Americans who are fluent in other languages. Some of them spoke with a preciseness that you would almost never encounter from a native speaker. I recall one Spaniard in particular. Whenever you greeted him and asked how he was, he would reply "Very well, thank you." Always well, never good. Adverb vs adjective.

                                                                                                                                                        By the way, I prefer the LFL. ;)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bkeats
                                                                                                                                                          chowser RE: Bkeats Jul 16, 2013 08:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                          it wouldn't surprise me because I know quite a few. I think it's also an age thing. Younger people do learn English in school. But, we have many in this country even who haven't. And, for anyone who has studied another language formally, it is difficult to keep the rules straight. I was considered proficient in French, in high school, but would hate to have my food knowledge judged by my French ability. As an adult, learning another language perfectly is far more challenging than many here seem to feel.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                            sandylc RE: chowser Jul 16, 2013 10:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                            "As an adult, learning another language perfectly is far more challenging than many here seem to feel."


                                                                                                                                                            And next to impossible after a teenager runs a stop sign and decimates your car, scrambling your brain in the process.

                                                                                                                                                            That experience took me from learning/remembering easily to barely earning a C in a university first semester Italian class.

                                                                                                                                                            Age and experience can be a b*tch.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                              sunshine842 RE: sandylc Jul 17, 2013 08:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                              damn, Sandy -- I had no idea.

                                                                                                                                                              Glad you've been able to claw your way back to your well-written self.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                                sandylc RE: sunshine842 Jul 17, 2013 08:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                So glad that you think so! I still feel like a shadow of my former self....I like to think that I'm at least nicer now.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                                                                chowser RE: sandylc Jul 18, 2013 05:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                My spelling and grammar used to be excellent but as I've gotten older, it's all starting to escape me. I have to write, rewrite words and often get them wrong (thank god for google). I blame it in part on aging eyes and not being able to see as well but there is definitely a memory aspect to it, too. And, often in the middle of writing, I'll forget the word I want to use, even though I had it a second earlier. So, I can't imagine having to deal w/ aging and post accident trauma. FWIW, I've never noticed anything questionnable/not understandable in your posts so I think you're doing fine!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                  sandylc RE: chowser Jul 18, 2013 03:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks! Much appreciated...

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Bkeats
                                                                                                                                                              sunshine842 RE: Bkeats Jul 16, 2013 05:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                              the calibre of English-language instruction in Europe varies widely from country to country.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                                Bkeats RE: sunshine842 Jul 18, 2013 05:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                True, but the caliber of English language instruction I'm familiar with in non-english speaking countries is much better than the quality of foreign language teaching in your typical US school.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bkeats
                                                                                                                                                                  sunshine842 RE: Bkeats Jul 18, 2013 04:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  again -- varies wildly depending on country.

                                                                                                                                                                  I taught English in a European high school, and have seen the "English" taught in my kiddo's schools by people paid to teach English (same goes for other foreign languages taught in schools). I've seen first hand that you absolutely shouldn't assume anything about schools in other countries, particularly the wild-eyed gasping about how horrible US education is.

                                                                                                                                                                  It ain't (sic) pretty, sometimes, but we're not really a shining bad example, either.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Lizard
                                                                                                                                                            JonParker RE: Lizard Jul 17, 2013 12:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                            I thought it was interesting that you forgive a misplaced comma but not an apostrophe. I can ignore a misplaced apostrophe any day -- which is a good thing, since it's a hugely common error.

                                                                                                                                                            But commas are like speed bumps, meant to be tiny pauses separating clauses of a sentence. Improper use, especially in excess, forces my brain to stop a second and try to change direction. Reading text written by someone who has no clue how to use them is almost painful.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JonParker
                                                                                                                                                              Harters RE: JonParker Jul 17, 2013 09:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                              Shoud there not be a comma after "someone" and after "them" in your final sentence?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                                                ricepad RE: Harters Jul 17, 2013 12:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                No, there should not.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ricepad
                                                                                                                                                                  JonParker RE: ricepad Jul 18, 2013 11:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  It depends on if we learn by instruction or example.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                                                  Ruth Lafler RE: Harters Jul 17, 2013 12:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  No. That would make the phrase "who has no clue how to use them" unrestrictive. In other words, he is restricting "Reading text written by someone ... is almost painful." only to someone "who has no clue how to use them"!

                                                                                                                                                                  I'll note, however, that comma usage is somewhat different (sloppier, IMHO) in the UK.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                    Harters RE: Ruth Lafler Jul 18, 2013 01:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    Grief. I never realised there were transatlantic differences in punctuation as well as spelling and word usage. However, as an Englishman, living in England, where English was invented, I claim accuracy of comma usage over any foreign interpretation of sloppiness.

                                                                                                                                                                3. re: JonParker
                                                                                                                                                                  Lizard RE: JonParker Jul 17, 2013 11:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  Good point. I should have indicated that I was still speaking about the occasional error. A complete disregard for their use makes things very difficult to read, indeed! Although an apostrophe does not disrupt readability, it suggests an effort went into making the error.

                                                                                                                                                                  The thing I cannot abide? 'Between you and I'.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Lizard
                                                                                                                                                                    linguafood RE: Lizard Jul 18, 2013 08:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    The "I" and "me" is confused 99% of the time. That said, the correct usage of "I" often sounds idiotic & pretentious.

                                                                                                                                                                    It's anyone's choice if they'd rather be right or blend in :-D

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                                                                                      Lizard RE: linguafood Jul 18, 2013 09:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      I don't think the correct usage of 'I' sounds at all idiotic or pretentious. Certainly not when it is the subject of the sentence.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                                                                                        chowser RE: linguafood Jul 18, 2013 09:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        Or, as Winston Churchill said:

                                                                                                                                                                        "Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put."

                                                                                                                                                                        It reminds me of that old joke an English teacher told us about a guy from the Deep South at Harvard. He asked someone, "Excuse me, do you know where the library is at?" The person snobbily responded, "I'm sorry but here at Harvard, we do NOT end our sentences with prepositions." "Oh, sorry...do you know where the library is at, ASSHOLE?"

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                                                                                          Lizard RE: linguafood Jul 18, 2013 11:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          'Poor I' isn't necessarily correct, especially as this phrase tends to indicate an object. 'Like I' does sound bad, though, I'll give you that.

                                                                                                                                                                          I use the formulation 'than I' or 'than she'. It doesn't sound awkward to me. Nor does the correct use of the subjunctive. But while I might mentally edit those errors, I do not respond as poorly to those as I do other errors. I do, however, respond poorly to instructions that I must 'dumb down' my speech-- probably like hounds bristle at the idea of 'dumbing down' their palates.

                                                                                                                                                                          I find it deeply depressing that there is an expectation that one must accommodate the comfort level of the ignorant. (I would quote from 'Idiocracy' here, but the language isn't really suitable for the forum/) That said, quoting from Venture Brothers means you win. At least a little. (Although let's face it, the henchmen are made for exactly those conversations. Are we also going to consult them about who would win in a fight, Anne Frank or Helen Keller?)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Lizard
                                                                                                                                                                            Ruth Lafler RE: Lizard Jul 18, 2013 12:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            The problem with "I" and "me" is that children when learning to speak English tend to use "me" incorrectly, i.e. "Me and Mom went to the store." People correct that and kids are given the impression that saying "me" is wrong, and therefore begin to use "I" instead.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                              DeppityDawg RE: Ruth Lafler Jul 18, 2013 04:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              "I and Mom went to the store"?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DeppityDawg
                                                                                                                                                                                Ruth Lafler RE: DeppityDawg Jul 18, 2013 04:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, either "I and Mom went to the store" and "Mom and I went to the store" are grammatically correct. However, custom/convention dictates that "I" goes last.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                  sunshine842 RE: Ruth Lafler Jul 18, 2013 04:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  as opposed to "I carried Momma to the Piggly Wiggly and put her peanuts in a poke"

                                                                                                                                                                                  Which is absolutely correct in Southern.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                    DeppityDawg RE: Ruth Lafler Jul 18, 2013 04:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    There must be more than just convention and politeness at work here, because "come with me and Mom" is just as impolite, but it sounds a lot better than "I and Mom went", which I can't imagine anyone ever saying.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                                                                                                                  MGZ RE: Ruth Lafler Jul 18, 2013 11:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  lingua, Ruth, Dawg, Sandy, and Linda: Thank you for letten' me listen in on this conversation. The beer may have been a bit warm, but the words worked some precious magic.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                                                                                                    LindaWhit RE: MGZ Jul 19, 2013 06:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    They serve warm beer in Europe some times. You get used to it. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Candy RE: mwhitmore Jul 16, 2013 11:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        I am pretty picky about grammar and language usage. I do have to say that all of the online reviews need to be taken with a grain of salt. I saw a review of a local Chinese restaurant, the writer was incensed because every time she would order Chow Mein she'd get fried noodles. She was quite adamant that Chow Mein did not use fried noodles. Poor dear had to have the dish confused with Lo Mein.

                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Candy
                                                                                                                                                                          eatzalot RE: Candy Jul 16, 2013 12:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          Exactly, Candy. Problems of form can vanish in importance compared to problems of content.

                                                                                                                                                                          I was just telling friends about a small successful Chinese restaurant in my neighborhood with chef and specialties from an unusual part of China.

                                                                                                                                                                          Yet, on one very popular restaurant "rating" site, which gives conspicuous attention to Asian restaurants in my region, I found that of 200 "reviews," just one bothered to notice its kitchen's unusual strengths and specialties. Most people were judging the whole restaurant on its obligatory generic/Americanized fare that all local Chinese restaurants offer (for reasons this situation confirms). Or, lambasting the place and vowing never again to return, because of some missing spoon in one take-out order.

                                                                                                                                                                          We are not at the level here of quibbling about polished prose.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: eatzalot
                                                                                                                                                                            Candy RE: eatzalot Jul 18, 2013 12:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            I do draw the line at "refridgerator"

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Candy
                                                                                                                                                                              sandylc RE: Candy Jul 18, 2013 04:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              My southern mom calls a garage a "grodge".

                                                                                                                                                                        2. DockPotato RE: mwhitmore Jul 17, 2013 05:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          There has been a lot of good points raised here.

                                                                                                                                                                          Let's consider the original question, "How much do grammar, spelling and usage affect how seriously you take an online review?

                                                                                                                                                                          Without a basic knowledge of grammatical rules, how can a reader correctly interpret a well written review?

                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DockPotato
                                                                                                                                                                            Lizard RE: DockPotato Jul 17, 2013 11:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            If a person cannot read a language, then there are challenges to be sure. But let's not suggest that this means a free-for-all (in which the rules are pretty much known only to the writer) is a boon for communication.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DockPotato
                                                                                                                                                                              cayleigh RE: DockPotato Jul 18, 2013 12:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              If they cannot read a language but they can learn it if they want.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DockPotato
                                                                                                                                                                                chowser RE: DockPotato Jul 18, 2013 05:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                The same way people understand e.e. cummings? The question is what "basic" knowledge is. There are those who've argued that a misplaced apostrophe or comma render a review useless. I've understood your post perfectly, despite some grammatical errors. Similarly, there are posts with no grammatical error that just don't make logical sense. The latter is more of a problem for me than missing a quotation mark.

                                                                                                                                                                                As others have said, a published paper is different from a formal online review which is different from message boards. The first is like a formal speech; the last is like chatting with friends. There are people who only speak formally with others. I'd find that stifling.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. globocity RE: mwhitmore Jul 18, 2013 07:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                Christ, we are insufferable.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. eatzalot RE: mwhitmore Jul 19, 2013 12:38 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Mucho Gordo might appreciate this experience:

                                                                                                                                                                                  In silicon valley we had for several years an unusually thorough, helpful print restaurant critic, an experienced journalist.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Informed that someone, possibly him, was seen eating and then asking questions of management (as if fact-checking) at a hip little restaurant, he replied by email "I'm more discrete than that."

                                                                                                                                                                                  Asked then if this was a deliberate wordplay on "discreet" -- just as Rex Stout once wrote (his fictional detective Nero Wolfe telling a client that Wolfe and his assistant were "indiscrete," as in not for separate hire, then having fun with the client's mistaking that spoken word) -- our critic avowed that it was an error. But a worthwhile one, for having led to his comparison to Rex Stout, one of his favorite authors.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: eatzalot
                                                                                                                                                                                    mucho gordo RE: eatzalot Jul 29, 2013 01:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Interesting. I'm being honest when I say I probably wouldn't have caught the error. If I had, I would have thought it a typo, rather than deliberate, because the meaning of discrete doesn't fit the circumstances. BTW, I'm also a fan of Nero and others of that genre.

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