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Use of abbreviations "sb", "s.o", "sth" in forum posts

Discussion in 'Comments and Suggestions' started by DonnyB, Jan 25, 2014.

  1. DonnyB

    DonnyB Senior Member

    Coventry, UK
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Would it be possible, please, to show a little more latitude and tolerance over the use of abbreviations such as "sb" "s.o" and "sth" in posts in the English Only forum? I notice a number of people using these in their posts in apparent contravention of Rule 11, although that doesn't specifically prohibit them. I believe they're picking them up from sources such as dictionaries and grammar textbooks where they're widely used as a way of saving space when using illustrative examples, which is largely what the forum members concerned are doing. In most if not all cases it's obvious what the terms mean, so the question seems to me to boil down to one of usage and etiquette. My comments there apply to the English Only forum, but the type of abbreviation to which I refer is used in other European languages in the same way and perhaps in the corresponding forums as well. I'd be interested to know what their policy is on this.

    If the verdict is that they should not be used, then could I please ask for this to be handled by the moderators alone. I keep coming across harshly worded posts from experienced members in which no attempt whatever has been made to answer the question which was asked, but the hapless member concerned has been pulled to pieces solely for using a "non-standard" or "not acceptable" abbreviation. To make matters worse, a completely misleading explanation is sometimes given to back up the objection (Native speakers never use "sth"). I really don't feel this sort of thing sits at all well with our stated objective of being respectful, helpful and polite.

    Thanks!
     
  2. newg

    newg Senior Member

    London, UK
    (France)-ais
    Couldn't agree more.
     
  3. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    I agree too:thumbsup:
     
  4. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    I think you have an excellent point, DonnyB, particularly in your last statement. I've opened a thread in the Moderators forum to discuss this. Thanks for speaking up.
     
  5. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    At long last.... someone notices something that should have been noticed a long time ago. :thumbsup: This particular point of our rules have always seemed somewhat bold to me. I've seen native speakers and reputable dictionaries alike (OALD and Camridge, to name only two) use these abbrevations.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014
  6. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    I haven't seen native speakers use them, dreamlike. I do agree that they appear in some dictionaries. I suspect they are used to save printing space. It is not an abbreviation that I would expect to see in any document or note here in the U.S.

    I think the important point is that the use of them is no reason to jump down someone's throat. :)
     
  7. DonnyB

    DonnyB Senior Member

    Coventry, UK
    English UK Southern Standard English
    While I'd tend to agree that here in the UK, too, they're not in common general use, they are familiar to anyone learning a language, which surely is a good proportion of the forums' target audiences? I'm currently learning Italian and my tutor uses them extensively, together with their Italian equivalents to teach grammatical structures, and so we copy them into our notes - and I've certainly seen them used on language-based Internet sites. So I can fully understand, and sympathize with, puzzled forum members who are being told unequivocally that it's "wrong" to use them. I don't think this seemingly intransigeant policy is altogether very fair. :(
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
  8. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    I agree with Donny's objection to the way in which some members seem to 'police' the forum with abrupt or even harsh remarks, especially when the 'perpetrator' is a newcomer who isn't yet familiar with the way we do things — and may be put off coming back. A helpful answer with an added gentle comment about what we don't do (and why) is much better.

    On the subject of "sb", "sth" and the like, I do think it's valid to point out (helpfully!) to non-natives that although such abbreviations are valid in in dictionary entries, or when writing in note form, we don't normally use them in full sentences. I wouldn't like to encourage learners to think that it's normal to write, for example, "Sb said sth about that n., and its corresp. adj, being pron. differently in N. Amer." (though all those abbr. are used in some dictionaries ;)).

    There's a time and place for everything.

    Ws:)
     
  9. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    :) As an aside, if you encounter a post that is not respectful, helpful and polite, please press the Report-A-Post button (the little red triangle in the footer of the post to the left) to notify the moderators. We scan the Reported Posts frequently, while we may not even catch a post on the thread. There are just too many threads for us to read every post on every thread every day.

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014
  10. Beryl from Northallerton Moderator

    British English
    Seconded. All acts of aggressive pseudo-moderation are to be reported without hesitation by means of the .
     
  11. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Postscript to my #8: I've just come across a thread of a couple of days ago, which I suspect may have been the trigger for the present thread. I see, Donny, that you had already provided exactly what I was suggesting above: a friendly, helpful explanation of the difference between dictionary/grammar-book usage and everyday written/spoken English.:thumbsup:

    Ws:)
     
  12. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    They do appear with some frequency when I'm chatting with my BrE-speaking friends. This may be a question of age, since they are mostly my peers. I'm pretty sure I've seen these used by native speakers on internet boards as well, though.

    I'd never dream of using them in full sentences, that's stretching things a bit. :D Just as an aside, 'sth' and 'sb' are quite popular with Polish EFL teachers, whether school or academic.
     
  13. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    France
    USA Northeast
    Foreign language manuals in Europe use these abbreviations quite frequently: sth, sb, so... probably because it saves having to repeat them over and over again: give sth to so, lend sth to so... etc., especially when there is a long list of them. I never use them and don't think it's a good idea for people to believe it's fine to write them whenever, wherever but I would never correct them in a forum if that isn't specifically part of the question.
    I have noticed for a long time that in English Only, compared with other forums, there are often unfriendly agressive comments made by foreros but I don't know how that can be helped. Most aren't really "against the rules" per se, it's just the tone that is aggravating.
     
  14. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    The best way to help is to report the post, merquiades. Feel free to press that red triangle whenever you see unfriendly or aggressive comments. They are not in keeping with our mission here and we want to do our best to maintain a friendly atmosphere.
     
  15. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    I'm under the same impression. I tend to come across grumpy nit-pickers every single day in the English forum, by the tone of their posts I can tell that they've been leading very miserable lives....... thankfully, they're largely outnumbered by cordial and normal members. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2014
  16. JeanDeSponde

    JeanDeSponde Senior Member

    France, Lyon area
    France, Français
    I couldn't agree more. And EO is, as far as I know, the only forum plagued with this disease.
    I did it once, to absolutely no avail. Non-natives seem to be second-class foreros there.
    Actually I stopped reading / posting in EO for this very reason.
     
  17. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    I'm sorry to hear that, JeanDeSponde. We are discussing this issue now among the English Only moderators and we hope you will see some improvement in tone in the forum in the near future.
     
  18. DonnyB

    DonnyB Senior Member

    Coventry, UK
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I've just used the red triangle to report a patronisingly sarcastic post by a moderator :eek: and I'm pleased to say I see it was very promptly edited to conform better to the standards we all expect. So the red triangle does definitely seem to be the way to go. :)
    Thanks, James.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2014
  19. JeanDeSponde

    JeanDeSponde Senior Member

    France, Lyon area
    France, Français
    I can't believe it.
    The times they are a-changing...?...
     
  20. cyberpedant

    cyberpedant Senior Member

    North Adams, MA
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    It would seem to me that the use of these abbreviations is more or less universal in the English "texting" communities (cell phone users). An English native newb—especially one who hasn't read the rules (100%?)—would consider them to be perfectly understandable. Non-natives might find them incomprehensible—and there's the rub. A link to a list—I believe I've seen a few—might be helpful in case the prohibition is dropped.
     
  21. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod


    Text (SMS) abbreviations are not allowed in English Only. That doesn't seem unreasonable to me. If I am learning French and I read the French Only forum, I don't want to learn SMS abbreviations in French, thinking that I'm learning standard French. These are, after all, language forums primarily read by language learners.
     
  22. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    But what's wrong with knowing SMS abbreviations? Let's say I'm learning French and happen to come across some French SMS abbreviations on WR. This doesn't automatically mean that I'll incorporate them into my speech and writing.
     
  23. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    Nothing is wrong with knowing SMS terms. The English Only forum rules allow them when they are under discussion as such. The problem arises when they are used in a post, which is not a text message, with no indication that they are SMS terms. When that happens, English learners may infer that they are part of standard usage.
     
  24. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    ... and that does indeed happen. I can remember more than one occasion where a learner (at a lower level than your excellent English skills, dreamlike ;)) has expressed surprise when told, in this forum, that abbreviations such as sb and sth (or indeed certain text-speak forms) ar not used in normal English writing.
    But that assumes that you recognise that they are SMS abbreviations in the first place. I suppose you might assume that strings of several consecutive consonants are unlikely to be real words — but then a learner of Polish would really come unstuck!:D

    Ws:)
     
  25. JeanDeSponde

    JeanDeSponde Senior Member

    France, Lyon area
    France, Français
    SMS abbreviations are not accepted in a post because they are very difficult to read and unnecessary because text-length is not limited.
    On the contrary sb or sth are accepted abbreviations in texts about language or grammar because they allow for greater clarity and concision.
    They are not caused by laziness, and are largely used e.g. in dictionaries, including Wordreference dictionaries.
     
  26. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    At first I thought it's a bit patronizing to think that a learner could conceive of these abbreviations as being 'part of standard usage', but since there were such cases.... I guess that treating them with scepticism is justified.

    Thank you your kind words, Wordsmyth!
    :eek:
     
  27. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    This is true. However, would you accept "qqn" in standard French? It is common in French language books and French dictionaries and I have seen it in casual French writing but I certainly wouldn't recommend it anywhere standard French is required. It is the same thing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
  28. JeanDeSponde

    JeanDeSponde Senior Member

    France, Lyon area
    France, Français
    I would certainly not use "qq" or "sb" in non-casual writing, and I would certainly not recommend them — except when posting in WRF (sorry, in Wordreference forums) to explain an expression or a point of grammar.
    I would not write "Is there sth I can do to improve my English?" in a post, as I don't chatspeak.
    But I would certainly write "Should I say to give sth sb or to give sb sth?", all the more so if many variations on the theme are to be presented. The context is "academic" in a sense, as is a dictionary entry.

    I found this old thread on the very same topic. There seems to be a large confusion between academic and chatspeak use of those abbreviations (and Panjandrum's #22 beat me by seven years...)
    Anyway, prohibiting a dictionary-like use in a word-oriented forum looks like a religious issue to me. So reason has to be put aside — thou shalt not...
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
  29. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    I don't think "academic" is quite analogous, JeanDeSponde. When we say we haven't seen these, we are including years of English composition and grammar classes. Our teachers don't write up on the board: "donate = give sth. to sb. for charitable purposes". They don't appear in our academic writing. They don't appear in our textbooks. I don't think you will find them in our monolingual dictionaries, either, as regular abbreviations in the definitions of words. Imagine, if you can, that everyone BUT native French speakers used "qqn" in all ESL French books but you had never seen it used by any French native, whether teacher or student.

    So it is quite a divide, not just a preference to exclude certain "academic" abbreviations out of religious fervor.

    To quote another post by Panjandrum in that same thread:

     
  30. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    There's one difference, however, between dictionaries and this forum. If I were a beginner, learning English, and I came across "give sb sth", and I didn't understand it, I could look in the dictionary's list of abbreviations used, to find the meanings. That doesn't apply to WRF posts. As for the case of many variations on a theme, I don't see a problem with writing something and somebody in full — once. Thereafter, it's quick to copy/ paste, then modify the text for the variations.
    But there is no such prohibition! If you can find one in the rules and guidelines, JDS, I'd be interested in knowing where. As Donny's original post #1 shows, some members seem to present it unfairly as a 'thou shalt not', rather than giving a helpful explanation of when it should or shouldn't be used (based on reason).

    Ws:)
     
  31. JeanDeSponde

    JeanDeSponde Senior Member

    France, Lyon area
    France, Français
    Panjandrum's last comment (and thread closing comment) was
    Anyway, the main topic of the post is not "why can't we...?", but "why would you rather accept that plain foreros enforce the rule thou shalt not sb or sth rather than enforce the rule be polite...?
    Form above content.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
  32. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    I think we can have both. :) That's the goal, at least. We can be polite and I hope you see more of that in the future. There's a concerted effort to make that happen, thanks to this thread. I appreciate that the issue was brought up here.
     
  33. learnerr Senior Member

    Russian
    The question is whether the opposition to these abbreviations is caused by the desire to avoid any misservice to learners, or because they hurt the feelings of the opposing people ("I always shudder internally whenever a friend uses them online"). The second is understandable, but avoiding this hurt is not a good goal to try to achieve. The first is probably impossible (how does one protect learners from every kind of mistake that non-natives make in forum posts? this undertaking is way too massive…)
     
  34. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    These particular abbreviations fall into a different category from any other abbreviation. They are not like "etc." or "no." or even "w/o". These are all recognizable by any native English speaker with even the most basic education.

    The odd disconnect here is that we have abbreviations that are completely normal for English learners and completely foreign to native English speakers. The only people who would encounter them would be those who either taught English as a second language or studied multiple languages and were aware of ESL texts. So it is primarily an important point of information for English learners that these abbreviations would not be recognized by the majority of native English speakers, other than their use in SMS. It is as surprising to those of us who have English as our first language that there are abbreviations we have never seen as it is surprising to non-native English speakers that they are not common and standard.

    That said, there is sometimes a knee-jerk reaction to them that is neither kind nor helpful. This is contrary to the forum's mission and guidelines and we want to minimize or eliminate that type of response to these abbreviations.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
  35. JeanDeSponde

    JeanDeSponde Senior Member

    France, Lyon area
    France, Français
    Sorry about that — what does "ESL" mean...?
    Now, who's mainly opening threads on the English Only forum: natives, or ESLs?... (OK, I know what ESL means)
    Why keep on telling them "you think you know, but you're stupid"...?
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
  36. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    That is not the intended communication, in most cases. If you think that is the intended communciation, report it. Besides, it is not a case of "keep on telling them". The issue is usually a one-time thing with new posters. Everything can get repetitious when you've been on the forum for a while. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2014
  37. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Yes, but a little earlier in the thread Panj also said:
    So I take his closing comment to refer to these abbreviations being non-standard and unacceptable when used outside that particular learning context (i.e. space-limited dictionaries and grammar reference books). Also, the comment was a summary of opinions of a certain cross-section of members — not a prohibition.
    I'm not sure whether the "you" in that question is me or the impersonal you, but either way I certainly wouldn't accept that forum members (plain or fancy ;)) enforce "thou shalt not" rather than be polite. So I can't answer the question "Why would you ...?", because I wouldn't.

    One thing that seems to run through this thread, and the other one, is a desire by some people to have a black-and-white rule: either allow sb/sth, or don't allow them under any circumstances. Those people might like to take Panjandrum's advice (in the other thread) on the subject of acceptable abbreviations:
    ... read the sticky! ... in which we see "If you use other abbreviations, you must define them with the first use". So anyone who feels an overwhelming urge to use sb/sth in a forum post can do so, as long as those abbreviations are defined there. That makes sense to me, because it mirrors what we find in any dictionary: the ability to look up the definition of an abbreviation as used in that particular publication.

    Ws:)
     
  38. JeanDeSponde

    JeanDeSponde Senior Member

    France, Lyon area
    France, Français
    Wordsmyth, my "you" was almost impersonal. (Poorly) restating what DonnyB said, it meant "you, the moderation, let foreros forbid sb, sth, to the detriment of the rule be polite."

    I think you overestimate Panj's tolerance: his final comment was a "I hear what you said, now anyway nothing is allowed here outside the approved list."
    Be it in WRF's "particular learning context" or not:
    Hence the rule which has been enforced since then by moderators and, er, would-bes.

    Including sb, sth in the approved list could seem to be the simplest solution, but then their use should be restricted to "particular learning contexts" because none of us want chatspeak — and those contexts would need to be defined. Not so simple.
     
  39. DonnyB

    DonnyB Senior Member

    Coventry, UK
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I must admit this would be my preferred solution. ;) With, I think, the sole exception of OP, none of the abbreviations on that list are likely to be familiar to or even recognizable by "normal" native speakers, not used anywhere outside the forum. I'd never seen AE or BE used before I became a member here, in fact. They're "approved" solely on the basis of saving time and space because they're so frequently used within the contexts of the forum and surely that's precisely the rationale behind the use of sb and sth.

    The other objection being voiced, which seems to be that we don't want to permit the use of chatspeak, is undermined in my view by the inclusion of OP on the list. That is going to be familiar I imagine to anyone who's ever taken part in a forum, online chat or discussion group - although I have occasionally come across newbies asking what it means, which suggests to me that it's not instantly recognizable by "normal" native speakers.

    I'm not suggesting we undermine the basic principle of encouraging the use of "correct" English in the framing of questions, merely advocating that we start to take a more pragmatic and flexible approach to it.
     
  40. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    I take your point(s), JDS. It would be interesting to know Panj's present position, seven years down the line and in light of the arguments in this thread.
    I heartily agree with that, Donny. Whilst I'm all in favour of discouraging chatspeak, I feel that the use of abbreviations is an area where common sense should prevail. I think there's a lot of value in the much-overlooked caveat about defining abbreviations when they may not be recognised in everyday language. It's a principle that's applied in most professional contexts.

    Ws:)
     
  41. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    Not speaking as a moderator but just as a WordReference forum participant, I don't have a problem with adding sb, sth and so. to the approved list. As long as we can point the confused (probably native) participant to the list of approved abbreviations, along with an explanation, I think that makes sense. I'd like to see some sort of punctuation to distinguish "so", the abbreviation, from "so", the word. Sb and sth don't have that problem.

    I will bring this up in the moderators' discussion about this topic. Changes happen essentially by consensus here, so I'm sure there will be discussion before there is a consensus.
     
  42. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    I can't help but to say (and I don't mean to sound bold in any way!) that some of us may be insulting the intelligence of 'the confused natives', or the confused natives do that themselves, because abbreviations such as 'sth' and 'sb' are easily decipherable. I mean, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out their meaning on one's own, as I did when I first came across them in an Oxford textbook. This is just to say.
     
  43. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    Well, if no one's confused, it won't be a problem. If they are, we could refer them to the list.
     
  44. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    I'd say the key words in your #41, James, are "along with an explanation". I think we're all agreed that we wouldn't expect to see sb/sth/s.o in 'normal' writing, and that should be made clear to learners if those terms are to be included in the 'acceptable' list.

    On the broader topic of the contents of that list, I sincerely hope that nobody will start applying it strictly — otherwise we'll always have to write North Atlantic Treaty Organization, British Broadcasting Corporation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Short Message Service, etc et cetera, in spite of the fact that NATO, BBC, FBI and SMS are far better known than RHU (which is in the list). And if ever I post in a thread that refers to the KGB, I'm certainly not going to write Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti!

    Perhaps the guideline should be rewritten to allow the use of established, widely-known abbreviations (especially where the abbreviation of a name is better known than the full version). Or perhaps there shouldn't be a restricted list at all, but just a caution to use abbreviations sensibly, and to define them where necessary.

    Ws:)
     
  45. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    I understand what you're saying, Wordsmith, but the catch is in what is considered "established and widely-known". Many would argue that the abbreviations that are the subject of this thread are established and widely-known. I am doing my best to listen to these concerns as a fellow user. I would ask that suggestions that are offered be considered with a view to how a moderator would possibly enforce them. It is one of our most difficult and time-consuming duties.

    Appealing to common sense is always an invitation for problems. The definition of common sense may have some general overlap but there is a great deal of variation from person to person regarding what is sensible and what isn't.
     
  46. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Yes, I could see that one coming.:( But I don't think it's feasible to make all the guidelines devoid of interpretation: some require a judgement of what is "useful", or what is "offensive", or what is "standard English", etc. So interpreting "established and widely-known" would be much the same.

    Far be it from me to suggest complicating the lives of moderators (whose efforts, in my view, are admirable) — b
    ut the current 'abbreviations' guideline already poses the problem of how to enforce it. As it's written, we shouldn't use SMS without first defining it, and yet the guidelines themselves contain "SMS" with no definition. I don't think anyone would dispute SMS as "established", yet under the present 'rule' it would be forbidden, unless defined. I don't think there'd be many disputed cases, but you're in a better position than I am to judge that, so ... your call, of course.

    With the abbreviations sb/sth/s.o, it's not really a question of total acceptance or a total ban, but of the context in which they are acceptable — and it seems to me that that's going to need some carefully weighed words, if time-wasting niggles are to be avoided. I also see a risk of moderators being approached with numerous other dictionary-type abbreviations as candidates for inclusion in the 'white-list'.

    I'm not trying to be negative (honestly!:)), but it just strikes me that monitoring posts for compliance with an 'accepted' list involves more work (and potentially more disputes if the list isn't entirely realistic) than enforcing a generally worded guideline. Anyway, ... food for thought.

    Ws:)
     
  47. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    These are all good points. Thanks for taking the time to express them. My experience as a moderator is that we spend very little time interacting or moderating the reasonable users. :) Ninety-nine percent of the participants here make great contributions and somehow work out how to deal with some of the unique (possibly quirky) rules we have.

    With that one percent it can be an endless discussion if anything is subject to interpretation. I have personally spent weeks in an ongoing conversation regarding the interpretation of one word of a rule. So I think we end up becoming a little gun-shy after a while and try to design things with as little wiggle room as possible, anticipating the occasional drawn-out dialogue about what constitutes four lines of a poem or what constitutes a change in topic vs. expansion of the same topic. :)

    I know that kind of rigidity can pinch all the users for the sake of being able to deal with the occasional problem. I also know that's not fair, but sometimes the amount of time one user will demand of a moderator is also unfair. We are volunteers who have day jobs and families and responsibilities beyond this board. We volunteer because we want to see this board thrive and continue. We believe in its mission and its usefulness. We want to make the best use of the limited time we have to moderate by making it as clear as possible what the expectations are. In the end, that may end up causing its own set of problems.

    I appreciate everyone's contributions to this discussion. It's good to re-visit these things and re-examine them, especially when they are a chronic pain in the neck for the regular contributors here. We have l-o-n-g discussions in the moderators forum about these issues, which is another responsibility for us here. This issue is under discussion now with the EO moderators and some changes have already been made. If nothing else, we hope that you see an improvement in tone and atmosphere. Feel free to report anyone, including moderators, if we are not expressing ourselves in keeping with the mission of WordReference.
     
  48. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Well said, James. It's important that everyone recognise the challenges and obligations faced by moderators, and the contributions they make to keeping the ship on an even keel.

    Ws:)
     
  49. learnerr Senior Member

    Russian
    Just a point here (to confused natives :D): for many people outside English-speaking countries, such abbreviations are, I believe, natural only inside use-guides for verbs and, marginally, in plain sentences whose meaning is close to that of a use-guide (for example, where the meaning of the verb is explained, not where the verb is used). It is so easier than to write: the object; the indirect object; the object of the preposition "in" controlled by this verb ("controlled" is perhaps not the best verb, but the non-native cannot currently remember the right one); etc. Outside such contexts, such abbreviations are very bizarre for me, and I think for many others from many countries as well, so the sarcastic plain sentences made with these abbreviations do not touch the point, I think.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2014
  50. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    Oddly, we do use v., n., i.o, d.o., prep., adv., adj. in our books here (in the U.S.). All of those are familiar. The completely new ones are sb., so., and smth. I have no idea why we use the others and don't use sb., so. and smth. I suppose it's because they are not actually parts of speech.
     

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