Steven D'Aprano steve+comp.lang.python at
Fri Nov 15 07:44:22 CET 2013

On Thu, 14 Nov 2013 17:10:02 +0000, Mark Lawrence wrote:

> On 14/11/2013 03:56, renato.barbosa.pim.pereira at wrote:
>> I apologize again for my bad english and any inconvenience that I have
>> generated.
> I do wish that people would stop apologising for poor English, it's an
> extremely difficult language.  IIRC there are eight different ways of
> pronouncing the vowel combination au.  Whatever happened to "There
> should be one-- and preferably only one --obvious way to do it."? :)

Words like "sorry", "pardon me", etc. are the social grease to smooth out 
interactions between people. Instead, I read such apologies as a flag 
that we ought to make allowances for any grammatical or spelling errors 
they may make, rather than to interpret them as signs of laziness or 

I'm inclined to forgive nearly any language error from somebody who is 
trying their best to communicate, while people who merely cannot be 
bothered to use language which is at least an approximation to 
grammatically correct, syntactically valid, correctly-spelled sentences 
inspire similar apathy in me. If they can't be bothered to write as well 
as they are capable of, I can't be bothered to answer their questions.

A few minor errors is one thing, but when you see people whose posts are 
full of error after error and an apparent inability to get English syntax 
right, you have to wonder how on earth they expect to be a programmer? 
Compilers are even less forgiving of errors than is my wife, and she once 
kicked a man to death for using a colon where a semi-colon was required. 
(Only joking. He didn't actually die.)

This doesn't apply to people who gave some sort of sign that they're 
doing the best that they can, whether it is due to inexperience, 
dyslexia, being Foreign *wink*, or even broken keyboard. ("Nw kyboard is 
on ordr, pls xcus my lack of lttr aftr D and b4 F.")

But it does amuse me when non-native English speakers apologise, then 
write a post which is better written, more clear, and far more articulate 
than the native English speakers :-)


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