Talk:Common English usage misconceptions

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Since this is a new article, some restrictions might be useful. But, there's plenty of room for expansion, so no need to be overly protective I think. Since this could easily degrade into entries about disputed usage, I propose (as it stands now) that all entries must:

(1) show that the misconception is widespread
(2) focus on the misconception, not any dispute on usage
(3) be supported by at least one reliable source that outlines both 1 and 2 above

--Airborne84 (talk) 03:45, 28 May 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 0x0077BE (talkcontribs) Reply[reply]

Perceived usage and grammar violations[edit]

You reverted my edit and wrote that:
> "Perceived usage" means "perceived violations of correct English grammar and usage"

Usage of what? Usage of "perceived violations of correct English grammar"? But let's get rid of that "usage", and replace "Perceived usage" by "Perceived violations of correct English grammar".

Now our statement means that visceral reactions are elicit by:

  • perceived violations of correct English grammar


  • grammar violations (not perceived?)

The word "perceived" is redundant because anything that elicits someone's reaction is somehow perceived. Do you need any further explanations?
Vikom talk 23:11, 2 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Perceived" is not redundant, because perceived violations are not always actual violations. I will edit accordingly. AlsoWukai (talk) 22:29, 3 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This makes sense. Good catch :-) However, the new version:
"Perceived violations of correct English usage and grammar elicit visceral reactions in many people."
suggests that actual violations do not elicit visceral reactions. Besides, "correct English usage" is a general term, that includes "correct grammar", which is redundant here.
So, how about something like this:
"Both actual and perceived violations of correct English usage elicit visceral reactions in many people."? Vikom talk 00:50, 4 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that "and grammar" is redundant, but we don't need to add "actual", because perceived violations include actual ones, and this article is specifically about those that are perceived but not actual. So how about just "Perceived violations of correct English usage elicit visceral reactions in many people"? AlsoWukai (talk) 02:46, 4 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
First of all, neither perceived violations include all actual ones, nor actual violations include all perceived ones. I emphasized "all", although I didn't have to, because the default meaning of the word "include" is "include all".
Violations can be:
  • both perceived and actual
  • perceived but not actual
  • actual but not perceived
You wrote:
  • perceived violations include actual ones (I disagree)
and then
  • this article is specifically about those that are perceived but not actual. (I agree)
Of course, violations of correct English usage must be perceived by definition to elicit any reactions, no matter whether violations are actual or not. In my previous post I wrote that the word "perceived" "suggests that actual violations do not elicit visceral reactions". I was wrong. This word says nothing about actual violations, especially that language changes constantly, and what is correct today, may be incorrect tomorrow, and vice versa. So, your proposed sentence "Perceived violations of correct English usage elicit visceral reactions in many people" is absolutely true, especially that it emphasizes that many violations are perceived but not actual. Perfect :-) Vikom talk 23:43, 4 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Two sentences after a period "misconception"[edit]

Is this a "misconception"? The text in the entry indicates that it is an old convention that is now disfavored by "most" style guides, with some exceptions (i.e. monospace fonts).

I would add that it is mostly irrelevant since much of what we write is rendered as HTML and that standard ignores whitespace. I just placed two periods after that sentence and it will look exactly the same. I just placed ten spaces after that period. And forty after the last one.

BTW, I edited the entry to explain this but it was dismissed as "irrelevant". Hardly so, since all that arguing and getting up on a high horse re one vs two spaces is moot for html communication.

This article ( by one of the authors cited in the refs for this entry has the full story, including the part about html. At no point does that author declare that it is a "misconception" Do the other cites? I don't know and don't have access to them, but under NPOV we editors don't get to call something a "misconception" unless there's some source for that. Is thare? Mr. Swordfish (talk) 23:20, 18 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Looking into this farther, this entry contradicts the material at Sentence_spacing. I'm going to remove it since it is not established as a "misconception". Perhaps it can be re-added in some form, but it seems best to remove it until we can resolve the difference between it and the parent article. Mr. Swordfish (talk) 15:57, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Indenting paragraphs[edit]

The entry here claims that indenting paragraphs is a "misconception". That seems to contradict the material at Paragraph#Typographical_considerations which implies that some styleguides say you should and some say it is unnecessary.

How do we resolve this, and is there actually any WP:RS that states that this is a misconception? Mr. Swordfish (talk) 16:07, 21 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's been a week and nobody has replied. I'm going to remove this entry. I don't recall the last time I read something on the internet that used paragraph indentation, so I can't imagine that anyone still thinks it's a mandatory convention. Fiction still seems to use it, at least with printed books.
The topic article discusses various conventions for formatting paragraphs and basically says: paragraph indentation is acceptable but non-indentation is the preferred format. The statement: Every paragraph must be indented is certainly false, but it's not at all clear that it is a common misconception. Unless someone shows up with a cite that establishes it as a common and current misconception the entry remains unsourced and should be removed.
The cite for this item is available at , a brief perusal fails to establish the claim that this is a common misconception. Mr. Swordfish (talk) 13:58, 27 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]