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Sentence textLicense: CC BY 2.0 FR
This sentence was initially added as a translation of sentence #799193
added by Zifre, March 19, 2011
"May" would be better than "can" because "can" means "able to" while "may" means "allowed to."
"Can" and "may" are both fine here. The opinion expressed in the above comment is prescriptive nonsense.
Just because it is widely understood and accepted does not mean it's proper. Non-native speakers of English need to be aware that there is a difference.
No. Who cares what idiots writing books say about the "rules" of language? I prefer to actually listen to how *real* people speak, not the rules set by insane bastards trying to make people feel like they're speaking badly, when all that they're doing is setting an insane standard to make their dialect superior.
I'm not going to argue with you about this. I'll say only:
1) That type of language is completely unnecessary.
2) I'm going to respect my teacher and the professor who wrote "The Elements of Style".
3) Every language needs rules. Linguistic anarchy would help no one.
Langugae has rules, yes. But these rules are created by the people who actually speak the language, not old bastards like Strunk and White.
@yifen238: Sorry but you're wrong. Language is a way to make someone else think what you want them to think. That is all. The best words, grammar, and even language to use obviously vary with who the audience is.
It's generally a good idea to follow your prescriptive "rules" when your writing/speaking is being judged by people (e.g. teachers, editors, or snobs) who want you to follow those "rules". That doesn't mean that that is the only correct way to speak.
> Every language needs rules. Linguistic anarchy would help no one.
That's entirely false. Linguistic anarchy is what we have in English and the vast majority of languages, and it works just fine. (I would argue that linguistic anarchy controls every natural language, even French, etc., but obviously some would disagree.)
@Zifre: I agree that the best way to speak/write varies with the audience, but that doesn't mean there should be no accepted rules. Every language has a standard form: Standard American English and Standard Mandarin, for example. English has more words than ANY other language, and it has sounds like "th" that are very rarely found in other languages. Without rules governing conventions and grammar, a non-native speaker studying English wouldn't know where to even begin; his head would probably explode. ESOL teachers would have to teach every possible colloquial form so that their students could understand when native speakers decide to mix and match words and grammatical structures. I NEVER said that colloquial speech was bad. Everything I marked indicated that the grammar or usage was improper, as in not the standard. Flip through almost any dictionary, and you'll find words marked "slang." There are times to use those words and times not to. Languages have rules and standard forms so that people can actually learn it and use it. Colloquial speech is FINE. I don't speak completely properly all the time. But it is still important to know what is accepted as "standard" and what is not.
Nobody speaks completely properly all the time.
Standard speech more likely would never sound more natural than conversational speech.
Imo, the big difference between both is that standard speech is NOT language, and conversational speech IS. Language is by definition the particles and rules used for speech by a certain community. And it evolves by definition and is in constant adaptation and divergence.
And being a foreign user, you don't want to learn "Standards", you want to obtain the ability to interact with people from different linguistic environments.
Btw, I'm a Spanish native speaker, and my head is just where it belongs.
-I agree it would never sound more natural; never said it would. But, sometimes, it's necessary.
-I know foreign learners of English want to learn the way natives speak, but there needs to be a standard so they can start someplace because there are too many colloquial words and phrases to be taught reasonably.
-Unless you learned English on your own, your head is where it belongs because your English teacher started by teaching you standards.
-I've taken intro level courses of Spanish, German, and Chinese. Each comes from a completely different language family and needs to be taught with a different approach, but not a SINGLE one of those classes taught colloquial speech. They all had a structure and taught basic grammatical RULES that would allow us to construct sentences with whatever new vocabulary we learned and have them be understood by a native speaker. I didn't learn any Chinese idioms or colloquialisms until my second year of study, and that's helped me progress tremendously, even without a teacher and class.
I've learnt English, Japanese, and some German, just like you're saying, because that is kind of the way to do it right. And after I start to get the this and that about this language, I have Tatoeba so I can start to dig into the "real" language, the spoken one.
That's precisely what I think these sentences are. The other way would be like learning a language from a dictionary.
Right! Nobody wants to speak like a machine! But, languages need a set of standard rules so that everybody has a place to start. Every time I help my Chinese friend with English, I tell him, "This way is 'proper,' and this way is native," and I let him choose one or take note of both if he wants to. That's why I was marking sentences as incorrect or improper. It's important to learn standards first, and then you can dig, as you said, and learn more casual and native ways to say things. If you try to learn colloquialisms first, it's like being a 2-year-old who was just thrown into the deep end of a swimming pool. You'll be overwhelmed, and you'll probably never master the language as well as you could because you'll never know the "why" behind it.
Well, that's probably what tags are for :)
Though you must become and advanced contributor to start tagging sentences.
Exactly why I was making comments instead. They need to be tagged or in some way indicated as colloquial, slang, or non-standard.
@marcelostockle @Zifre @cntrational
I have the impression that you all want to pruve that yifen's views are either wrong or irrelevant. I don't think so. I understand that you have in some points other views, but not all your arguments are generally true.
Maybe I can't much contribute in a discussion about English. But from my own experience I know: it's not true that nobody speaks the standard variation of a language. I can assure you of that.