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Thread: graffiti

  1. #1
    Hong Kong Chinese Guest

    Default graffiti

    http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?va=graffiti

    I never saw that graffito are used!
    According the the meaning of this word from Webster - usually unauthorized writing or drawing on a public surface. One time, the KCRC (local train) were painted by some youngers with beautiful pictures under the darkness without permission. The next day, I read a newspaper in English about this piece of news which was called Graffitti. But in Chinese translation, it should be writing or drawing something ugly!
    So we got some entirely different meanings!
    I'd like you know which one is correct!

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Any writing or drawing on walls, etc, is called graffiti, whether it's a work of art or the name of a football team. I disagree with the dictionary about the singular- in BE, we happily use graffiti for both singular and plural.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: graffiti

    Quote Originally Posted by Hong Kong Chinese
    http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?va=graffiti

    I never saw that graffito are used!
    According the the meaning of this word from Webster - usually unauthorized writing or drawing on a public surface. One time, the KCRC (local train) were painted by some youngers with beautiful pictures under the darkness without permission. The next day, I read a newspaper in English about this piece of news which was called Graffitti. But in Chinese translation, it should be writing or drawing something ugly!
    So we got some entirely different meanings!
    I'd like you know which one is correct!
    I don't know anyone who uses the word "graffito" or "a graffito". Graffiti does not have to be ugly, but it does have to be used to deface something. A beautiful picture on a wall would be a mural if it belongs there. If not, the same picture would be graffiti.

    I also disagree with the note from Webster's. This is from the AHD:

    USAGE NOTE The word graffiti is a plural noun in Italian. In English graffiti is far more common than the singular form graffito and is mainly used as a singular noun in much the same way data is. When the reference is to a particular inscription (as in There was a bold graffiti on the wall), the form graffito would be etymologically correct but might strike some readers as pedantic outside an archaeological context. There is no substitute for the singular use of graffiti when the word is used as a mass noun to refer to inscriptions in general or to the related social phenomenon. The sentence Graffiti is a major problem for the Transit Authority Police cannot be reworded Graffito is (since graffito can refer only to a particular inscription) or Graffiti are (which suggests that the police problem involves only the physical marks and not the larger issue of vandalism). In such contexts, the use of graffiti as a singular is justified by both utility and widespread precedent.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    I had a teacher at schoolwho said 'these spaghetti', but he was very strange.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    I had a teacher at schoolwho said 'these spaghetti', but he was very strange.
    He must have been strange. My mom served "spaghettios" every now and then, but that was different.


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