Recently I had to do some proofreading for the professor I work for. I may not be the best writer ever, but one thing I do know something about is punctuation. Proofreading other people's work has really made me realize how well my high school's system worked for me.

They had this system of teaching the rules for commas that they called the constructs. There were 9 rules and they each were numbered. It isn't a system used anywhere else, and so no one knows what I'm talking about when I call something a #1 (except at MacDonalds) but at least I know when something's right or wrong. I think it is easier to remember the rules if you know exactly how many there are and if you remember them in an order. If I can't assign a number to a comma I see, then it doesn't belong there. I am starting to forget and unfortunately I can't find any kind of reference anywhere. I think punctuation is a problem for people in general, and if my school has a solution that worked for me they should share it so that it can help others.

I've also been reading this book, Eats, Shoots and Leaves, about punctuation, and the author doesn't even seem to have as sound a grasp of commas as she could have with my teachers' rules. The downside to the book is that it is British, so some of their conventions are different than ours.
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Anguished English

I feel I have a very strong connection to the English language. I often, especially when writing, consider very carefully the logical and symantic intricacies of turning thoughts into English words and phrases. I think one of the reasons that foreign languages are so hard for me is that the simple sentences I could learn to use do not compare to the very high level concepts and subtle distictions I can express in English. That's why I thought I'd point out a few of the things I've found interesting about English, common mistakes people make, and some helpful websites.

Back when I was in Stage3, we had an argument at one meeting about what the correct plural of octopus is. At the next meeting Dennis had done some research and provided us with the answer. While many people think that octopi is the plural, this is in fact the most incorrect answer. As we all know, the standard plural in Enlish involves adding s at the end. Of course, many words in English are inherited from other languages which lead to all the exceptions to this rule where the plural is also inherited. Latin is the source of many English words and there are some, like fungus, where the -us ending is pluralized as -i. Octopus is not one of them. Latin nouns are seperated into 5 groups, called declensions, which have different endings and different plurals. The rule above that we are most familar with is the rule for 2nd declension, but Octopus, originally from Greek origin, is a 3rd declesion noun in Latin. The correct Latin plural would be Octopodes

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Keywords:English | Quirks | Rants | Truth
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Thought Repository » English