Grammar pedants?

Is "I was sat" correct?

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seren nos    pirate
04/07/2013 at 18:05
Peter Collins wrote (see)
seren nos wrote (see)

they might have been teaching  you spelling and punctuation Wilkie...but they should have been teaching the skills need for engineering etc as that is where our country has major shortages...........

same as with a shortage of plumbers etc a few years ago..........

all the correct punctuation in the world is not going to make you top in the world of design and technology.......its not going to invent the next generation of phones or computers or environmentally friendly energy production

I seem to recall some space exploration project went completely wrong because one lot of engineers in Europe had been working in metric and another lot in the US were working in imperial measures. Some spacecraft missed it's target by tens of thousands of miles/kilometres because of that simple lack of communication. Even engineers and technology people have to communicate clearly and in a standard way this is fully understood by other people - for this you require good communication skills, which includes a smattering of decent grammar and spelling.



I think that example would indicate that we should all share the one language and methods of measurements.....the most common one being chinese......

04/07/2013 at 20:06
Peter Collins wrote (see)

I would add that some people lack very basic numeracy skills and these can be disastrous. As a subeditor, I'm tired of explaining to people something like this...

If the proportion of people who can't read and write goes up from 16% of the population to 17%, that is not an increase of 1%, but an increase of one percentage point. 

If you need to have it explained properly, I'm not going to do it - but it does make a huge difference if you get it wrong!

Go on I would genuinely like to know.

04/07/2013 at 20:55
Juliefrazz wrote (see)

I think anyone of 'O' Level age would have been taught about tenses somewhere in their school lives, including the fact that the conditional perfect, "would have", can be contracted to "would've".

"Would of" doesn't communicate the same thing.


Edit: Sorry, that was to Seren, a little further up the thread, I'm typing slowly.

"Would've" as a contraction of "would have" may well be the origin of the confusion Juliefrazz.


04/07/2013 at 21:52
Screamapillar wrote (see)

"Would've" as a contraction of "would have" may well be the origin of the confusion Juliefrazz.


It can't really be anything else can it? People use "would've" in verbal communication, it sounds like "would of"  (sort of  ) and they continue making the mistake in written communication.  It just looks so clumsy. Anyone writing "would of" just looks like an idiot.  Laziness doesn't come into it.

Of course, normally "affect" is a verb and "effect" is a noun, but "affect" can also be a noun, and "effect" a verb, except the meanings are a little more subtle.

I've taken longer to catch up with this thread than Peter Collins!  

Blisters    pirate
04/07/2013 at 22:32

Gladys was applauded for his affective run towards transition.


As an explanation, once again he won the mincing award.

(Second sentence added for those who simply don't get it, ooh er Mrs.)

04/07/2013 at 23:47
Mr Puffy wrote (see)

Go on I would genuinely like to know.

I share Peter Collin's dismay at the way this is misused in the media.  Quite often, I read/hear a statistic like this, and it is unclear if the author is quantifying the percentage change correctly.  In other words, the author may quote a statistic perfectly correctly,  but I don't trust them... because so many other people DO quote them incorrectly!

By way of explanation, if the proportion of illiterate people stands at 16%... that's 160 people out of every 1000.  If it rises by 1%, then that's an extra 1.6 people per thousand - so 161.6 people out of ever 1000 people.  If instead, it rises by 1 percentage point, to 17%, then it's 170 people in every 1000..   Quite different.

As a simpler explanation, let's change the numbers. Say that the number of people in a population who cannot read or write  rises from 1% to 2% - then the problem has doubled; a massive 100% rise.   Unfortunately some people would say that it's risen by 1%..  Clear?

13/07/2013 at 11:22

I think a major problem in modern times for the 'should of / should've / should have' debate would simply be that a foreigner learning English as a second language simply wouldn't understand 'you should of gone' because it doesn't exist except as a mistake. Since English is the accepted international business language I think it's important for native speakers to get it right if they want to move in those circles. And it's always important for people who use the written language as a work tool to get it right, the same way as you would expect a mechanic to know when to use a screwdriver or a wrench, or an engineer to be able to get their head around physics and maths, or someone who works in a bank to be able to count (and not all of them can).

One way to get the 'have / of' right in the context would be to change the sentence slightly. As an example, which one sounds better?

'You should of seen that film. Of you seen it?'


'You should've seen that film. Have you seen it?'


Having a basic grip on your own language's grammar also gives you a head start when learning another language. When I started learning French at secondary school the teachers were driven half to distraction at our complete inabilty to get our head round the difference between the list of subject pronouns and object pronouns. How were we supposed to learn it in French if we didn't know what a subject was, or what an object was, or what a pronoun was in English?  I'm not saying you can expect your average 12 year old to have a firm grasp of the intricacies of grammar, but some basics would have been useful.

 *edited for typo*

Edited: 13/07/2013 at 11:33
13/07/2013 at 11:41

'Some basics would of been useful'
'Would they of been?'

As for the original question, 'I was sat' would be considered wrong, which doesn't mean it can't be understood, the same way people in my town say things like 'I seen it yesterday', or 'He'd already went'.
Understandable? Yes.
Taught in schools? I hope not.

BTW 'I was sat' translated literally would be perfect in Spanish so maybe it's just a throwback from all those hunky, skirt-wearing, Latin-speaking Roman soldiers?



16/07/2013 at 13:19
seren nos wrote (see)
Beth Roberts wrote (see)

"So although I do not see spelling or grammar as an absolute measure of intelligence, nor do i think that poor spelling is a sign of a lack of intelligence, I do wonder how some of these Degrees were earned."

I don't think it's necessarily about levels of intelligence - I think it has more to do with laziness and trying to be cool.

And for the "should of" debate - it is incorrect and lazy.  If I were an employer I would not consider a candidate who could not be bothered to write 'should have' - or worse, did not even know that this was wrong.  Perhaps I'm being pedantic, but ultimately it's about standards - personal presentation isn't just about what you wear.



how can you say its just incorrect and lazy........until a few years ago and on this forum i was not aware that should of and could of was incorrect.......if my teachers told me in school then it never regsitered at all and stayed they........i say it that was and therefore write it that when on the forums i do tend to stop and think as to what is correct.........

but in the past I was not lazy ..just writing what i believed to be correct.......but i was bloody good and accurate at my job when i used to if you would prefer someone to pay you incorrectlyeach month but knew the difference between the of's and the haves.....then you seem to be more of an idiot than me


and I did O'levels not GCSE's

No need to get aggressive Seren - calling me an idiot is a little excessive.  If you have taken offence at a generic comment (not one directed at anyone in particular and most importantly, not specifically at you) then that's a matter for you, but name calling is a little over the top, don't you think? 

16/07/2013 at 14:00

What weighs more, a pound've fat or a pound've muscle?

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