Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Anybody Have A Question About The English Language?


Blogging is a constant education.

English Questions and Answers

Image courtesy of Chris Baker ~ http://www.sxc.hu/profile/immrchris

I have a post I thought was Most Visited because writers liked it.

Wrong!

People learning English like it :-)

And, I found a site that anyone, with any interest in English, just might fall in love with.

In fact, I found a slew of sites that anyone, with nearly any question, could use to find an answer.

Also, if they don’t have something for your Q&A needs, you can start your own site.

Naturally, I found this English language site when I was looking for something else

Since Windows is stopping support for XP (and, since that will make XP a huge target for folks with spurious ethics) and I have it on my back-up computer, I installed Linux—throwing a huge learning curve in my path.

I found the Ask Ubuntu site and discovered it was just one of many Q&A sites at StackExchange.

From the site:

a fast-growing network of 118 question and answer sites on diverse topics from software programming to cooking to photography and gaming. We build libraries of high-quality questions and answers, focused on the most important topics in each area of expertise. From our core of Q&A, to community blogs and real-time chat, we provide experts with the tools they need to make The Internet a better place.”

And, here’s their English Language & Usage site.

From the site:

“English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It’s built and run by you With your help, we’re working together to build a library of detailed answers to every question about English language and usage.”

It’s sort of like a knowledge curation space that’s based on “crowd-sourced” wisdom.

Anyone can ask questions—anyone can answer them—answers get votes—the best rise to the top

There’s more to it, like more editorial control if you earn the right with your participation, but their About Page is worth a look.

I put in a trial question and might blog about the answers in a future post

But, I noticed that, as soon as my question went live, there were about ten related questions in the side-bar—many of interest to me.

Also, when I looked at one of those related questions, I learned, clearly, that they want questions that can be “answered”, not questions that start debates:

“As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened,visit the help center for guidance. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.”

Woah!! In the time it took me to add that last part of the post, I got an answer to my question:

“I use the ellipsis quite a bit in my writing.

“Most often in dialogue.

“Are there any resources out there that give relatively expert opinion about how many ellipses/word count are too many?”

Here’s the first answer:

“Because there’s no regulatory body for English, probably not. Show your writing to other people. After they’ve read it, ask them if you overuse ellipses. If you show it to a bunch of people and they all say that you overuse them, you do.”

[ btw, I personally feel my use of the ellipsis { this thing > } is just fine :-) ]

It’ll be fun seeing the other answers :-)

Woah, again!!

While I was inserting the image up there and adding tags and proofreading, I got another answer:

“While @rsegal is right about there not being any regulatory bodies, you might want to check out the following links:

  • The Punctuation Guide’s notes about the ellipsis
  • This page from Answers.com (ack!), which has the following, quite reasonable I think, advice:

    There is a pretty easy litmus test about using ellipses in a work of fiction. Just ask yourself, “Can I possibly use anything else to describe this particular kind of pause? Do I even need this pause, or can my audience figure it out on their own?” If you come to the conclusion that using the ellipsis is absolutely necessary, you’re fine. If not, try something else.”

I think I’m gonna like this site :-)
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2 responses to “Anybody Have A Question About The English Language?

  1. penpusherpen March 31, 2014 at 9:23 am

    You know, Alexander, I have this habit … of dotting three times and never ever thought of it as anything other a sort of thinking aid for me… and now I’ve learned that it’s an ellipsis? You learn something new every day (if you’re lucky..) xx….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alexander M Zoltai March 31, 2014 at 9:30 am

      Well, Pen, I think “thinking aid” is a great definition for ellipsis :-)

      Like

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