Sunday, April 17, 2016

Formal or Informal

     Yesterday I took a birding group out for two hours on very beautiful day. We found lots of birds : black capped chickadee, crow, magpie, robin, cedar waxwing, downy woodpecker, red breasted nuthatch, white breasted nuthatch, mallards, red tailed hawk, house sparrow and an unidentified gull. The gull was about 2000 ft above us. 

      Now somebody gave us a bit of a lesson as some of us , including me, usually say seagull instead of gull! So smarty pants told us that there's no sea around us and to remember it that way.

      If you look this up you find that seagull is informal and gull is the proper term as there are many species of gull. So there!

      As a little guy I spelled seagull as "seagle" as in eagle. Now that goes too far and is just plain wrong even if you are in gr. two.

      There are many other situations where we have a formal usage and an informal usage. So if we are writing in a formal style we would use the formal term.

       So do you have examples of formal and informal terms?



merlin

37 comments:

  1. I always thought seagull and gull were generally synonymous -- and I suppose they are unless you're a stickler for formal usage and/or a birder. :)

    I'm sure there are plenty of other examples of formal vs. informal terms, but darned if I can think of one!

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    1. Dare ya to do this in French!

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  2. Those seagulls here have a lot of sea here and they are very big, so I don't think we should call them gulls.

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    1. It would be interesting to know how this is handled in Dutch.

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  3. I think that is along list of birds! You must be in a lovely area that is rich. I am having trouble with the National Audubon Society's decision to capitalize common names of birds. The say it is to tell the difference between description and the bird itself...i.e. Blue Bird vx. I saw a blue bird. Still controversial.

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    1. Controversial and blatantly defying the rules of English grammar. The National Audobon Society's decision makers must be dimwits... or should that read Dimwits?

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    2. We were in about 20 acres of a ravine which is attached to about 200 acres of bush. Yes it's a good area.

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  4. Always been seagull, cause you know where I live. I think that is cute about the seagle and sounds typical of grade two. Have a nice day.

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    1. The whole issue makes sense but I still say seagull...I think!

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  5. Ooh, and forgot to say if you see a bunch of them in the sky - you might hear - " There's a buncha gulls flying aboot"

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    1. Now we may have a bunch of gull but never aboot!

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  6. I guess you could call the thing you carry (if you are female) a bag, which is informal, and a purse if you're formal. Pretty lame, but it's all I could think of, Red. Feeling better this morning after a weekend of misery. :-)

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    1. I'm sure there are many examples. Good to hear that you're on the mend.

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  7. I'm noticing that hubby likes to leave of the 'g' in speakin'! Drives me nuts, as we often have our grandies around!

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    1. I'm afraid we're losin the ing battle!

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  8. I wouldn't have thought of not calling gulls seagulls, though you're right, we're a long way from the sea.

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    1. Now I've got to look up where the term sea gull actually came from.

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  9. e.g.
    Royal Canadian Mounted Police (formal) = The Mounties (informal)
    Steak canadienne (formal) = meat sandwich (informal)
    Donald Trump (formal) = ****ing ****er (informal)

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    1. Hey, Donald S. Trump as he refers to himself. Quite an ego on that guy.!

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  10. I have a problem with "toward" or "towards." Sometimes it sounds better with an "s" tagged on and sometimes it doesn't. I think "towards" is more the British spelling.

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  11. I might refer to them as gulls, but have regarded them as seagulls

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    1. Fair enough. Just don't call them seagles!

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  12. Here's one that's not exactly formal vs informal. It really bugs me when people say CANADIAN goose.

    It's CANADA goose, people! Whew, I got that off my chest. 😊

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    1. I've never heard Canadian goose!

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  13. I read this post earlier today and I got so busy with other things that I can't remember if I left a comment or not, so I'll leave one again anyway.

    That sounds like such a great outing! What time of day is best to go bird watching.

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    1. We go at about 10:00 AM. The afternoon is pretty slow.

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  14. Police and Cops
    Television and TV
    I am usually informal:)

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    1. Good examples and you have lots to back you up in using the informal. It's what gives your blog personality! (if blogs can have personality!)

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  15. In garden circles there is the whole thing about latin botanical names vs common names. A buttercup is a ranunculus, and even then it will have a second name depending on what variety it is. I try to remember the formal botanical names of some plants, but a buttercup is a buttercup.

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  16. Hi Red, As you will know, Seattle is a place where it seems the "gulls" are all around. Yes, I do like calling them gulls. Now, on the other hand, we have the "Seagals" ... the gals who cheer for the Seahawks. I guess that one is OK too. :-)

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  17. Now that's interesting, I did not know that and that is why I love blogging, the continued learning :) Thanks Red!

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  18. The local pioneers had many for local birds red tail = chicken hawk, turkey vulture = buzzard, kestrel=sparrow hawk, coot= mudhen etc...

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  19. It's great to see an eagle and it's also great to see a gull. :)

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  20. I go for the informal word, every time. And I am prone to stick my tongue out at smarty pants who correct me. (Just kidding...well. in my mind I do that!)

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  21. I like your seagle. I'm surprised about the gull though. I thought seagull was the proper term. Learn something new everyday.

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