Daily prompt: Don’t fool with me, Grammar Check!

Daily Prompt
By the Dots
We all have strange relationships with punctuation — do you overuse exclamation marks? Do you avoid semicolons like the plague? What type of punctuation could you never live without? Tell us all about your punctuation quirks!

I’m so entranced with Susan B Raven’s interrobang ( ‽ ) that I’m sure anything I say will pale into insignificance beside it ‽ But not wishing to neglect my blogly duty, I’ll burble on for a bit and hope for the best.

According to Spell and Grammar Check, my worst sin is not putting question marks where they think I should – for example, It’s a cold day today, isn’t it.

But that’s because Grammar Check has never learned Latin.

It’s surprisingly useful, Latin – even though I was never what you might call a Latin Scholar, and large chunks of what I did know have now gone way of trigonometry, algebra, physics, chemistry, and similar force-fed lessons of my youth. Latin phrases still pop up from time to time – carpe diem, caveat emptor, ex gratia, in flagrante delicto, non compos mentis etc (which is also from the Latin) and a lot of English words have Latin roots, making it easier to guess what they might mean. (You can then smile and nod instead of gawping at the pompous idiot who’s trying to impress you with big words no one else uses.)

But what has Grammar Check so hot and bothered is my English interpretation of the Latin nonne and num construction: questions expecting the answer ‘yes’ are phrased differently from questions expecting the answer ‘no’, or questions where either might apply.

So the way I see it is this. It’s freezing bloody cold outside, the puddles are frozen and the wind would cut you in half. If I say, It’s a cold day today, isn’t it, I’m not expecting you to disagree, am I.

So tee hee, Grammar Check…


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9 Responses to Daily prompt: Don’t fool with me, Grammar Check!

  1. bkpyett says:

    Interesting response. I am just about to follow your suggestion and look at Susan Raven’s post. Thanks for this suggestion. Hope you are keeping warm!

  2. I wanted to learn Latin in Year 9. My mother, who had taken Latin for several years in school and thought it useless, talked me out of it. I’ve never really forgiven her.

  3. Mum talked me out of taking Latin in year 9 as well. I wanted to take it because I had heard that the teacher was fantastic. I could have cared less about the language, though that would have been fun. I just wanted to be part of a class with a really great teacher. Ah well.

    I know what you mean about grammar check. I’m still puzzling over a perceived “error” in a recent post where the computer insisted on a question mark. Now that I mention it, I think I know why! It would probably want one at the end of the preceding statement because I started a clause with the word “where.”

  4. ChristineR says:

    Ha Ha. Grammar check is always pulling me up for something. I often have missing verbs and I haven’t a clue what it is waffling about. I daresay I will be enlightened by the time I finish the writing couse I’m doing online at Coursera. Good post Helen. It was definitely a statement, not a question.

  5. It does that to me as well. All those things it calls ‘fragments’. It’s a rule I break quite often because I like it that way.

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