Grammatical error October 30, 2010 9:37 AM   Subscribe

Improper grammar on the Ask MeFi New Question page when you've already posted a question? You may ask another question in: 1 days, 5 hours, 55 minutes, 57 seconds. I think so. It would be nice if this could be fixed.
posted by antgly to Bugs at 9:37 AM (112 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Are you kidding me? Seriously, the pony requests around here are getting ridiculous. Go outside and get some fresh air.
posted by amro at 9:41 AM on October 30, 2010 [19 favorites]


What's funny about this is that the OP's first original sentence is itself "improper."
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 9:43 AM on October 30, 2010


What's funny about this is that the OP's first original sentence is itself "improper."

How so?
posted by not that girl at 9:46 AM on October 30, 2010


That's it, pb is fucking fired.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:47 AM on October 30, 2010 [115 favorites]


This is about about the "1 days", I take it? Probably not worth fixing. If it helps, think of "days" as a label for a field, not a word that someone actually typed out.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:48 AM on October 30, 2010


How so?

It's a sentence fragment.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:48 AM on October 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sentence fragments are perfectly appropriate in all kinds of places. Including as used here, which seems common and idiomatic to me.
posted by not that girl at 9:52 AM on October 30, 2010


Pony request: An actual pony.
posted by nevercalm at 9:52 AM on October 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I accidentally creative grammer pony as often as possible.
posted by carsonb at 9:55 AM on October 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


This is the kind of pony that a tourist couple buys on their vacation to Mexico and when they bring it home the vet tells them it's actually just a really big rat.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:55 AM on October 30, 2010 [7 favorites]


Hee hee hee. Oh antgly. You question-asking kid, you.
posted by Gator at 9:55 AM on October 30, 2010


I like my ponies like I like my men: smart, with telekinetic powers and in the kitchen making fresh guacamole.
posted by nomadicink at 9:58 AM on October 30, 2010 [6 favorites]


Oh, thank god! Someone has finally made a request that is so persnickety and inane that I can say: on the Recent Activity page, profile and Activity page, questions from anonymous users are listed as Anonymous but on actual question it's listed as anonymous. No other user switches to a no-caps user name in that instance (or any other instance that I can tell). Ahhhh.
posted by kate blank at 9:59 AM on October 30, 2010 [13 favorites]


OP is quite young, I think, if that makes any difference to everyone's instinct to eviscerate.
posted by palliser at 10:00 AM on October 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


You may ask another question in: 1 days, 5 hours, 55 minutes, 57 seconds. I think so. It would be nice if this could be fixed.

I wish this is how it looked on the New Question page, actually.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:01 AM on October 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Being a person who has gotten inappropriately upset over grammar many a time, I understand where you're coming from. That said, let me give you some advice. Learning how to move on and let it go was one of the best things I ever did.

Here's my rubric: If the grammar isn't so poor that it's getting in the way of comprehension, it's not worth getting upset about. If it introduces two potential different readings of the sentence, it's worth clarifying with the writer which one was intended.

This is clearly a case of the first, so practice deep breathing until you're able to let it go.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:02 AM on October 30, 2010 [7 favorites]


This is one pony requests too many.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:05 AM on October 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Informing someone that their grammar is wrong is kind of like pointing out to someone that they've got a bit of mustard on their chin. That is, there's a subtlety required in doing right. But the proper thing is to point it out.
posted by philip-random at 10:08 AM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: We fucking fire people over an "s"
posted by deezil at 10:08 AM on October 30, 2010


I kind of agree with him. It's not urgent, it just looks sloppy.
posted by JimBennett at 10:10 AM on October 30, 2010


What antgly actually wants: a script that determines whether each number is 1 and removes "s" where appropriate

What will actually work for far less effort: "day(s), hour(s), minute(s), second(s)"
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 10:10 AM on October 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Actually actually.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 10:10 AM on October 30, 2010


palliser OP is quite young, I think, if that makes any difference to everyone's instinct to eviscerate.

antgly has had a personal struggle aired via several askme questions (and quite a few subsequent meta threads as well). They're one of the beloved Curious who ask a new question as soon as they are able, so it's easy for the sort of people who get up on a Saturday morning and read MetaTalk to (1) identify with and (2) ridicule those who'd nitpick grammar on a site while they wait for their askme queue to reload.
posted by carsonb at 10:11 AM on October 30, 2010


OP is quite young, I think, if that makes any difference to everyone's instinct to eviscerate.

Nope, that just means The Belly Knife has less gristle to cut through.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:12 AM on October 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Watch it Matt; if pb's out we're all out from Extremely Oddfellows Local 151.
posted by Abiezer at 10:18 AM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anyway, it's not a grammar thing. It's a typo or as someone said, a field restriction. This fragment-y post style is interesting, though, given what's bugging the poster; one might expect a more formal construct. But hell, what saves this for me is the "I think so." Cute!
posted by thinkpiece at 10:18 AM on October 30, 2010


Hey, yeah, I want my IRL globe notification pony before pb goes anywhere.
posted by Gator at 10:19 AM on October 30, 2010


Metafilter: Spelling anal one "s" at a time.

/ what??? no "s" in anal?? Then is "anals" a word?
posted by HuronBob at 10:20 AM on October 30, 2010


More of a state of mind, I think.
posted by carsonb at 10:25 AM on October 30, 2010


Number agreement is trivial to program; in English, any n ≠ 1 gets plural.
posted by joeclark at 10:29 AM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


You'd think with all the editors around here that someone would have caught this. We should all get timeouts. And a spanking.
posted by rtha at 10:32 AM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's not the kind of thing most of us would have occasion to notice, if you know what I mean.
posted by Gator at 10:34 AM on October 30, 2010


That's it, pb is fucking fired.

After all these years I find out in a comment? A text message would have been a little more personal. Plus I think that was my only mistakes.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:35 AM on October 30, 2010 [102 favorites]


question: Is knowledge of computers and shit, like, a requirement to become pb's replacement? Because that would be discrimination . . .
posted by Think_Long at 10:37 AM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The messages in the medium?
posted by The Lady is a designer at 10:41 AM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sentence fragments are perfectly appropriate in all kinds of places.
Absolutely. But in the context of a brusquely stated complaint about formal grammar they are somewhat improper (or at least tone deaf).
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:43 AM on October 30, 2010


I fixed this, not just for days, but almost hours, minutes, and seconds even. You will only see a "S" when there is more than 1 of each remaining.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:52 AM on October 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


"You may ak another quetion in: 1 day, 5 hour, 55 minute, 57 econd."
posted by box at 10:57 AM on October 30, 2010 [33 favorites]


Response time to user generated feedback is, however, measured in milliseconds.
posted by The Lady is a designer at 10:59 AM on October 30, 2010


I fixed this, not just for days, but almost hours, minutes, and seconds even. You will only see a "S" when there is more than 1 of each remaining.

mathowie, I think you forgot to add

"...and considering the level of service we provide I won't be responding to any more of these absurd fucking pony requests for: 2 weeks, 2 days, 7 hours, 22 minutes, 56 seconds."
posted by dubitable at 11:03 AM on October 30, 2010 [12 favorites]


You will only see a "S" when there is more than 1 of each remaining.

the rest of the time, an S-hole has them
posted by pyramid termite at 11:05 AM on October 30, 2010


pb should demand two week's notice of termination.
posted by Dr. Zira at 11:06 AM on October 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


I am a total grammar Nazi but Gods, Jesuses, Allahs, for fuck's sakes.
posted by Decani at 11:09 AM on October 30, 2010


Reason for Termination: bad grammars
posted by mannequito at 11:12 AM on October 30, 2010


You misspelled "fucks's."
posted by rhizome at 11:13 AM on October 30, 2010


Keep telling yourself that it isn't even about grammar, it's just a coding oversight. I'm sure pb knows that one day is singular and more than one day is plural. See? Just a coding oversight. Now have a good days!
posted by iconomy at 11:16 AM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


How many days are left? One. One days. Seems okay to me.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:20 AM on October 30, 2010


Additionally, you would say 'zero days' as well. Why is the number one so special, anyway, that it needs an exeption to the rule? That's just hubris.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:21 AM on October 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


All in favor of locking the stable door say "Pile on".
posted by Cranberry at 11:34 AM on October 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


bad grammars would be wearing sexy little old lady costumes?


*ducks*
posted by The Lady is a designer at 11:35 AM on October 30, 2010


Well, now I'm more confused about taters.
posted by nomadicink at 11:36 AM on October 30, 2010


mmm tater skins with bacon
posted by The Lady is a designer at 11:47 AM on October 30, 2010


You may ask another question in 0.452 days.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:54 AM on October 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


When I was nineteen, we didn't have computers or fancy internets about which to complain. We had newspapers and three television stations. Music meant scratchy records or am/fm radio with endless commercials. Never mind having to actually go to the library or the store. Let me tell you, it was bleak. That was, until the day dad brought home an Apple ][e.
posted by R. Mutt at 12:15 PM on October 30, 2010


one more dead town's last parade writes "What will actually work for far less effort: 'day(s), hour(s), minute(s), second(s)'"

Even easier would be to just give time remaining in seconds:
You may ask another question in: 107757 seconds.
and have the comparison off by 2 seconds so if there is less than 2 seconds you get to post your question.
posted by Mitheral at 12:26 PM on October 30, 2010 [3 favorites]

Number agreement is trivial to program; in English
It starts to get complicated once you get into other languages, though.
posted by hattifattener at 12:27 PM on October 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


We had newspapers and three television stations.
I came from a smaller town; we had only one newspapers and one television stations.
posted by Wolfdog at 12:34 PM on October 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was just thinking about this the other day. "Days" is actually OK for 1 day, as long as you don't KNOW it's for 1 day. As in: "How many days must I wait to post?" "One."

It also works when you separate it out like so:

You may ask another question in this many days, hours, minutes and seconds respectively: 1, 5, 55 and 57
posted by DU at 12:35 PM on October 30, 2010


Actually, Blogger does this in the comment count: 1 comments
posted by R. Mutt at 12:44 PM on October 30, 2010


"You may ak another quetion in: 1 day, 5 hour, 55 minute, 57 econd."

Box, were you alluding to this? Either way, it's good.
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 12:49 PM on October 30, 2010


palliser: OP is quite young, I think, if that makes any difference to everyone's instinct to eviscerate.

Oh Jebus! Did no one check his ID before he came in? This could get the whole place shut down!
posted by Kattullus at 1:31 PM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


so if there is less than 2 seconds

I see what you did there.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:41 PM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


'Nother pony request: a giraffes (a real ones, not one of those government hoaxe)
posted by Namlit at 1:54 PM on October 30, 2010


Actually, Blogger does this in the comment count: 1 comments

Hey no fair, pb quit working there 17 years ago.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:58 PM on October 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


I recently started seeing a therapist because I pay so much attention to petty little insignificant idiotic things like this (especially when it's something my partner says or does) that it's starting to have a serious negative impact on my relationships at home and at work.

She recently gave me the following challenge: Think about sitting by a campfire (she actually said in front of the fireplace, but I'm partial to campfires). An ember lands on your sleeve. If you leave it there, it's going to keep making a bigger and bigger hole and it may eventually burn down to your skin. If you brush it off immediately -- bam, it's gone, and it won't leave a mark.

I've been trying to put this into practice this past week. When something annoys me -- something little and totally unworth it that would ordinarily ruin my day -- I just brush it off my sleeve.

You know what? It really kind of works. I was skeptical -- didn't think I'd be able to turn my brain off like that, because I'm too detail-oriented and prone to over-thinking. But damn if the symbolic act of brushing an annoyance off my sleeve doesn't help me move on and think about other things -- things important enough to legitimately deserve my mental energies.

Of course, I've been walking around all week, constantly brushing invisible things off of my sleeves, and people are undoubtedly convinced now that I have OCD. But anyway, it's working, and I encourage many of you to try it too.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:56 PM on October 30, 2010 [13 favorites]


first original sentence.

Isn't their some rule that any post pointing out a grammatical error will also contain an error ?
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 3:00 PM on October 30, 2010


I just brush it off my sleeve

I do the same! Except I also shrug my shoulders and say myeahhh.
posted by dhruva at 3:20 PM on October 30, 2010


That's it, pb is fucking fired.
posted by mathowie at 9:47 AM on October 30


This has to be the funniest comment I've ever read. Thanks, mathowie, you owe me a new macbook pro and a fresh cup of coffee LOL
posted by 1000monkeys at 3:34 PM on October 30, 2010


OP is quite young, I think, if that makes any difference to everyone's instinct to eviscerate.

We're coddling 19-year-olds now? I don't think anyone should be eviscerated, but how old is old enough?
posted by rocket88 at 3:37 PM on October 30, 2010


rocket88:We're coddling 19-year-olds now? I don't think anyone should be eviscerated, but how old is old enough?

Four, apparently.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:46 PM on October 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think the less than/fewer than thing, so richly lampooned in Infinite Jest, which I'm really digging that book, isn't hard-and-fast.

Also, if "1 days" is a problem, what do actually ungrammatical posts?
posted by luke1249 at 4:11 PM on October 30, 2010


Merriam-Webster has its usage explanation of less online (God I love Merriam-Webster) and their message is, basically, don't worry about it.
posted by Kattullus at 4:15 PM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait? So he gets his pony? That's so unfair! I don't think I've ever gotten one of my ponies.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:18 PM on October 30, 2010


Actually ungrammatical posts does whats we does, and thats all that's we do.
posted by Dumsnill at 4:18 PM on October 30, 2010


Improper grammar on the Ask MeFi New Question page when you've already posted a question?

If you would like to be the sort of grammar Nazi who is self-assured enough such questions, it would look better not to use a sentence fragment as a introductory (and primary) piece of information. Additionally, since I will assume that the original poster was not talking about me specifically, the use of the fine pronoun "one" would make the sentence clearer. And to many people with fine sense of English style, a written argument is more persuasive when contractions are avoided. A fourth bit of concern is that the question itself is not clear. Is the poster asking why improper grammar is displayed, or simply if the grammar in question is improper?

Breaking these 'rules' can sometimes make sense, and of course, they are often broken. If I were to complain about this grammatical error, I would make sure my initial sentence read at least as well as the italicized one below, and I am a non-native speaker still struggling with my English.

Why is improper grammar displayed on the Ask MeFi New Question page when one has already posted a question?
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 4:34 PM on October 30, 2010


You may ask another question in this many days, hours, minutes and seconds respectively: 1, 5, 55 and 57

Bah. Obviously it would be more clear to write:

You may ask another question in this many hours, seconds, days, and minutes, antirespectively: 55, 1, 57, and 5.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:47 PM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pony request: An actual pony.

Kissy pony welcomes visitors. (Warning: her whiskers tickle.)

Grammar pony? Creative writing pony? I don't think I can find pics of my gang to cover those, not without cheezburgering them anyway. Bleh. I could maybe get one to stomp on a smartphone for the mobile Mefi pony tho, or grab it in her mouth. Anybody got a spartphone to spare?
posted by galadriel at 4:49 PM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Since we're on this topic, could I ask when or if we're getting the 3-minute editing window? Maybe it's just me, but I've noticed more spelling mistakes in Ask recently, compared to when I first joined the site, which I think are probably due to more people using their phones to submit their posts and comments. I think these spelling mistakes are particularly jarring to me because English is my second language and I spend a few seconds wondering if the misspelled word is a term or acronym that I don't know, or if that person is making a reference to something that I'm not aware of or a joke by making up a "word." Like, for example, and not to call out galadriel personally or anything, but the words "cheezburgering" and "spartphone" in the post above. I can understand the former as being a made-up word, but the latter is... a mistake, right?

I've always found it strange that on a site that relies solely on text as the content that editing one's own contributions, even for a few minutes after you've submitted them, isn't allowed.
posted by misozaki at 5:23 PM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


i could help with this
posted by clavdivs at 5:39 PM on October 30, 2010


You mean you don't have a spartphone yet?

----
sent from my spartphone
posted by Rock Steady at 5:45 PM on October 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


You mean you don't have a spartphone yet?

The sPartphone in question would be destroyed by the experience, you understand.
posted by galadriel at 6:02 PM on October 30, 2010


I love, love, love this post. Seriously. This is the most entertaining thing I've seen all day.
posted by Gin and Comics at 7:06 PM on October 30, 2010


Since we're on this topic, could I ask when or if we're getting the 3-minute editing window?

About once a year mathowie trots out a feature that is never incorporated into the site like threaded discussions. The 3-minute editing window is one of these features. He taunts us this way because he hates us!

I've found I've grown fond of my typos and wouldn't fix 'em even if I spotted them in time. I'd do this out of spite and to show mathowie we don't need no stinking 3-minute editing window and wouldn't use it even if we got it.

I am NOT pouting.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:51 PM on October 30, 2010


cjorgensen: "About once a year mathowie trots out a feature that is never incorporated into the site like threaded discussions."

It's part of an elaborate April Fool's joke set for April 1, 2013, where we get all those features but only for one day, but see the joke's on Matt because the world end's on Dec. 21 2012 so all his hard work is for naught.
posted by IndigoRain at 10:22 PM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


and I have contributed to everyone's grammar angst with a grocer's apostrophe!
posted by IndigoRain at 10:23 PM on October 30, 2010


I love, love, love this post. Seriously. This is the most entertaining thing I've seen all day.

You should see Fark threads when someone seriously mangles a headline submission.
posted by davejay at 10:43 PM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


also: holy shit we are all getting nitpicky about this site and we should all go take a nap, or generate a huge extended inappropriate plurals thread, either or
posted by davejay at 10:46 PM on October 30, 2010


davejay: "You should see Fark threads when someone seriously mangles a headline submission."

That was cruel and unusual punishment. They posted stills of that freaky Snickers commercial.
posted by IndigoRain at 12:00 AM on October 31, 2010


"What's the deal with your nickname? How did you get it? If your nickname is self-explanatory, then tell everyone when you first started using the internet, and what was the first thing that made you say "wow, this isn't just a place for freaks after all?" Was it a website? Was it an email from a long-lost friend? Go on, spill it."

This *also* appears on one's profile page. It is sort of incongruous there, no?

No? If not incongruous, then perhaps redundant?

Nicking pits, like a barber to his acne-scarred shave.

posted by carsonb at 9:41 AM on October 31, 2010


I cannot hold my OCD back any longer. I am part of the minority that uses the Professional White Background TM. I know that there are parentheses around the new comments since last visit number but they're invisible because the text is white on white background.

Exhibit A (now you see it)
Exhibit B (now you don't)

I'm getting carpel tunnel just from highlighting that part each time just to make sure they are still there. Can a brother get some color on those parentheses? Nothing fancy, just the standard blue, like the rest of the links, would be just fine.
posted by special-k at 10:28 AM on October 31, 2010


Nothing fancy, just the standard blue, like the rest of the links, would be just fine.

I can not believe I literally never noticed this. I believe we can get that addressed.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:36 AM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is this the racing pony thread please?

*sets up laptop and fires up the powerpoint slides*
posted by The Lady is a designer at 10:47 AM on October 31, 2010


Racing ponies? I got racing ponies.

I also got no photography skills. My apologies.
posted by galadriel at 8:06 PM on October 31, 2010


You guys are so slack. Making me figure out by myself what "1 day, 19 hours, 45 minutes, and 34 seconds" means? I'm a busy man.

In future please read the timezone from my browser, and do the calculation for me.

"You may ask another question on Wednesday morning at 9.45 AM".

There, is that so hard?
posted by AmbroseChapel at 8:42 PM on October 31, 2010


So 9.45 is like almost 9:30?

I kid because I LOVE AUSTRALIA
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:44 PM on October 31, 2010


I am part of the minority that uses the Professional White Background

Wait, we're a minority?
posted by davejay at 10:49 PM on October 31, 2010


I believe we can get that addressed.

It has been fixed.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:35 PM on November 2, 2010


Thank you Jessamyn. Now almost all loose ends in my life are tied up.
posted by special-k at 1:37 PM on November 2, 2010


Nothing fancy, just the standard blue, like the rest of the links, would be just fine.

I can not believe I literally never noticed this. I believe we can get that addressed.


Ack, the new parentheses are disconcerting!
posted by amro at 2:05 PM on November 3, 2010


Ack, the new parentheses are disconcerting!

But..but...I just called my therapist and told her that we have one less issue to talk about. She said "OMG, thank you Jessamyn and pb!"
posted by special-k at 2:57 PM on November 3, 2010


{/}
posted by special-k at 2:57 PM on November 3, 2010


I'ts okay, I will adjust, just give me time. :)
posted by amro at 8:54 PM on November 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's. Ugh.
posted by amro at 8:54 PM on November 3, 2010


I know of a page in the plain theme that is still without parentheses. I will take it to my grave.
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:58 AM on November 4, 2010


Can you leave the answer in your will? I'd like to get it fixed up as soon as possible.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:59 AM on November 4, 2010


*chokes on potato chips and giggles*
posted by The Lady is a designer at 11:01 AM on November 4, 2010


Oh sweet lord pb is going to kill me.

Not even to get the secret location of the missing parentheses, but because I am a terrible person who makes inaccurate bug reports. Apparently, keeping a smile on my face at work while people make terrible bug reports is causing me to do it to others.

Nothing was missed. Sorry. It seems like the Scroll Tag GM script is the culprit here.
posted by SpiffyRob at 11:13 AM on November 4, 2010


And I've gone ahead and let Plutor know so I can come out of this having done something non-terrible.
posted by SpiffyRob at 11:22 AM on November 4, 2010


heh, no worries.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:27 AM on November 4, 2010


ALL WORRIES.
posted by SpiffyRob at 11:33 AM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I thought it was kinda nifty how django has a special pluralize feature. Clearly a system for perfectionists.
posted by pwnguin at 7:57 PM on November 4, 2010


Another idea: If you use decimals, you'll always say "1.1 days," not "1.1 day." Same, also, if you had ".9 days" (or "0.9 days," however you prefer it).

Now let me ask you: If you had to say out loud the phrase "1.0" (as in, "one-point-oh"), would you say, "1.0 day" or "1.0 days"? I'm guessing you would say the latter. So all we have to do is make sure each number includes at least one decimal place, even if that number is a zero.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 8:59 PM on November 5, 2010


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