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Picture of Kalleh
posted
I am having a major disagreement with my editor. My name is going on this article which will go out to all nursing faculty in the U.S., and I just hate what they've added. They say it's "grammatically correct," and won't budge. I thought I could quote some of you, and that might convince them. However, it is going out soon, so please reply as quickly as you can.

Here is what I wrote:

As these strategies are implemented, boards of nursing and nursing faculty are asking important questions, including: Can simulation be used to replace clinical experiences? How much simulation is too much? Are preceptors or adjunct faculty effective clinical instructors? How many precepted experiences are too many?

I don't really want to reword that. They have added semicolons after each question mark, which looks incredibly inane to me. For example: Can simulation be used to replace clinical experiences?; Are preceptors or adjunct faculty effective clinical instructors?; etc.

Now what do you think? Can I get away with deleting the semicolons? I think it looks fine without them and stupid with them.

Thoughts?
 
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Picture of shufitz
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I'd agree with you 100%: your way is right, and there way is wrong. (It's not a mattter of "either is right" or "either is acceptable".) And I'd say it's not even reasonably debatable. I doubt you'd find any reputable authority allowing their style, let alone demanding in.

Now, let's try to find some "noted authorities" on the matter. Smile
 
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Picture of Richard English
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I agree. Absolute rubbish. Whereas there are occasions when two or more punctuation marks follow one another that is only when both are needed. For example, it would be in order to put a question mark mark before inverted commas to show that the quoted speech is interrogative. However, a question mark is a terminal mark - like a full stop - and thus finishes the sentence.

Semi-colons and colons, on the other hand, do not finish the sentence (even though it is US practice to use a capital after such marks - unlike the UK). It is as stupid to have a semi-colon after a question mark as it would be to have one after a full stop.

Why your editor is confused is that he or she is trying to treat your passage as a single sentence, i.e. Can simulation be used to replace clinical experiences; how much simulation is too much; are preceptors or adjunct faculty effective clinical instructors; how many precepted experiences are too many?

That would be acceptable, although clumsy. Your way is better and your punctuation perfectly correct. Had you chosen to write each thought as a numbered list item:

1. Can simulation be used to replace clinical experiences?
2. How much simulation is too much?
3. Are preceptors or adjunct faculty effective clinical instructors?
4. How many precepted experiences are too many?

then your editor would never have been tempted into this error. It is only because your list is in sentence form that he or she is confused.

Edited to add afterthought: Do editors go to the same language schools as signwriters?

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Richard English,


Richard English
 
Posts: 8037 | Location: Partridge Green, West Sussex, UKReply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of shufitz
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Kalleh, the following authorities support your view. The question becomes, What authorities – if any – do they have for their view?
    Multiple Punctuation and When to Avoid It
    6.123
    When to omit comma or period. Neither a period (aside from an abbreviating period) nor a comma ever accompanies a question mark or an exclamation point. The latter two marks, being stronger, take precedence over the first two.
    – Chicago Manual of Style (hard copy. Available on-line to subscribers only, but questions may be submitted.)

    MULTIPLE PUNCTUATION
    3.104
    A comma is generally omitted following a stronger mark of punctuation:
    If he had watched "What's My Line?" he would have known the answer.
    She shouts "Where's the beef!" and we cut to a close-up of the hamburger.

    – Kate L. Turabien, A Manual for Writers (6th edition; hard copy)

    6. When writing a series of questions, use a question mark for each item, even if items are not complete sentences. Capitalization of the question items is optional so be consistent with whatever option you choose.
    The board members had to decide on a new course of action for the company. Expand ? Sell out ? Consider new financial reforms ?
    Punctuation Rules – The Question Mark
NOTE: The last of these sources indicates that your colon ought to instead be a comma. (I have not researched that issue further -- but look at the second sentence of this post. Smile )
    4. Use the question mark after a direct question which is inserted into a statement. If the question comes at the end, separate it with a comma. Capitalization of the question after the comma is used for extreme emphasis but is rarely recommended.
    Her boss wondered, Was she really doing her job the best she could ?
    [question capitalized for extreme emphasis]

    The question was, was she really doing the best she could ?
    [question not capitalized – recommended]
 
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Picture of jerry thomas
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Recognizing the urgent nature of this matter, I consulted my good friend Doctor Stewart G. Grinnell, noted authority on almost everything, who said, "In all my long and varied academic experience this is the first time I ever saw a semicolon used together with a question mark. I'd recommend against such superfluous usage."

The noted authority then went on to say, "Shorter words often do a better job of conveying clear meaning. I would comment further on this if I knew what it meant, which I don't."

Pressed for more, he said, "Nevertheless, nowadays this inconsequential n'er-do-well's wherewithal and whereabouts heretofore notwithstanding, buddy, can you spare a dime?;"
 
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Picture of bethree5
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It's hard to soar like an eagle etc, isn't it Kalleh?; when you work with turkeys I mean?; >sigh<.

Since the editor appears to need to make changes as a matter of ego (or perhaps job-preservation), I would suggest changing to the enumerated fashion mentioned in Richard's post. Perhaps your future submittals should contain at least two glaring goofs each, so they'll keep their mitts off the good stuff.
 
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Picture of BobHale
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quote:
Originally posted by bethree5:
Since the editor appears to need to make changes as a matter of ego


Isn't that pretty much a definition of "editor"?
 
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Using the question marks and semicolons together looks atrocious. I doubt if your editor will listen to me or anyone else on this board. Why don't you submit your question to the Chicago Manual Of Style?
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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Perform a colon rescection.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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Thanks, guys. I am going to approach her tomorrow, based on the advice of my learned colleagues, and say I can't live with it that way. If I have to change the wording I will. My concern is that this publication is sent out so widely; otherwise I really wouldn't care that much.

The funny part is that our person (and her 2 associates) added the semicolons to my original. She uses the AP manual, I think. I asked her to please change it, and she did seem to listen to me. She sends this publication out to our printer, who also has an editor/writer, so she said she'd ask him. Well, wouldn't you know that he agreed with her?! I couldn't believe it.

However, my name is on it, and it's not going out like that. Had all of you agreed with her, I'd have thought I was wrong. But now I don't.

Thanks a lot for responding so quickly. This has to go out tomorrow without the semicolons.
 
Posts: 23300 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
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Let me start by saying that in my family, I'm the least concerned with correct punctuation. That being said, I find the "?:" appalling, I can't even imagine what the editor was thinking. In jargon, "What was he smoking?; and where can I get some?."

All that being said, I honestly don't think it is that big of an issue. Your name will be on an article with a number of other names, and there will be some questionable punctuation in one paragraph. The meaning isn't effected, and I would imagine most nurses of the readers won't care all that much. I highly doubt the validity of the content will be judged on a few errant semi-colons, a punctuation mark which I have been taught so poorly that I almost never use it.

That being said, it isn't my field, computers are. I read a news article that said "Illinois football coach has sent 98 million kilobytes of text messages" a few months ago, and I calculated the ratio of bytes sent to time to type in a letter, and if he sends message at a normal pace, he'll have to spend a few thousand years to get to that amount. Are you worried about this kind of reaction to the punctuation?
 
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Picture of Richard English
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quote:
Are you worried about this kind of reaction to the punctuation?

Different things are important to different people. I know very little about text massages and have no idea at all how many bytes, kilobytes or even trilobites it might take to send a text message. Therefore I'd never have questioned that newspaper item.. Many people have a similar lack of knowledge and interest in the English language and, as you suggest, most who read that item would neither notice, nor care about, the error.

But some would - and that matters to kalleh as it would matter to me. It's a small thing but I am watchful always of the words of Sir Henry Royce, "Small things make perfection, but perfection is no small thing".


Richard English
 
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Picture of BobHale
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quote:
Originally posted by Richard English:
I know very little about text massages and have


I think you may just have invented a whole new branch of the sex trade. Smile
 
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Picture of wordmatic
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quote:
Originally posted by BobHale:
quote:
Originally posted by Richard English:
I know very little about text massages and have


I think you may just have invented a whole new branch of the sex trade. Smile


LOL--Kalleh, I'm probably repeating what someone else wrote, but as an editor, I wouldn't have touched that paragraph. If they want to string the questions together as items in a series, the correct way to do it would be to separate each with a semi-colon and end the series with a question mark. But there is no need to do that. On the other hand, if an editor won't listen, there is nothing you can do but go to the editor's boss. I agree with Seannahan that probably it will go unnoticed, but to my eye it is flagrantly annoying, and just plain wrong.

WM
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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quote:
Originally posted by BobHale:
quote:
Originally posted by Richard English:
I know very little about text massages and have


I think you may just have invented a whole new branch of the sex trade. Smile

Aye, there's the rub!
 
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Picture of Richard English
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Now THAT kind of typographical error is what a good editor should pick up!


Richard English
 
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Picture of zmježd
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Aye, there's the rub!

There is also the book by Marshall McLuhan The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects (1967).


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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quote:
Your name will be on an article with a number of other names, and there will be some questionable punctuation in one paragraph.
No, I am the sole author of that article. I do worry about my reputation, though perhaps too much.

I had a "crucial conversation" with our editor this morning, and she thinks it's correct with the semicolons even though I quoted all of you (Tinman was right), as did the editor at the publishing company. Therefore, I have asked them to bullet the questions and be done with it. However, it will take up more space, obviously, and space was already a concern. I just don't see why they couldn't have humored me on this one.

BTW, I want one of those massages! Wink
 
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Picture of Richard English
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quote:
I just don't see why they couldn't have humored me on this one.

BTW, I want one of those massages!

It' not a question of humouring you; that implies that it is a matter of style and it's simply a question of giving in to your particular preference. In this instance it is as right as just about anything connected with eccentricities of English language rules can be right, and your editor is as near to 100% wrong as makes no difference. What I can't understand is how a person with such a poor understanding of the principles of English gets to be an editor.

Of course, she doesn't want to have to admit her error - after all, we none of us are all that keen on being proved wrong - but in the face of the evidence she would do well to admit her error.

However, we have a saying in England (and maybe you have similar one in the USA) which goes thus: "The boss may not always be right, but he is always the boss". In other words. if you know what's good for you, keep quiet.

I have occasionally done my career no good at all by contradicting my boss (back in the days when I had a boss) but I certainly wouldn't want any creation of mine to hit the world with such an egregious error.

So far as the text massage is concerned, once I master texting then massaging is the next skill. Roll on Wordcraft 2008 in Columbus Wink


Richard English
 
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Picture of pearce
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
.
No, I am the sole author of that article. I do worry about my reputation, though perhaps too much.… [/QUOTE]

Very much a postscript, but you raise a general point concerning we writers and our editors. I think you were right to be so concerned.

When I have had a comparable editorial hand rending massacre not only on my impeccable punctuation(!), but also words, and word order, I have reacted strongly, possibly too strongly.

I remember saying once that since the edited MS was no longer recognizable as my contribution, my name should be withdrawn from the publication, using the editor's name to replace it.
That had the desired effect, but I would not have been miffed had they withdrawn my name.
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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Yes, Pearce, I once also asked for my name to be removed when the article was changed so much that I wasn't comfortable. Interestingly, in a flash, the article was changed back to what I could live with!

I do have further news on this, though. Our internal editor had been humoring me and hadn't really planned to use the bullets, as she had promised. She sent it with the question marks and semicolons. However, the publisher's high honcho (her words) apparently stepped in and said, "That's over-punctuation. Take out the semicolons!" They are now removed, and the publication has gone to print. When it's out, I will supply a link since all of you are so invested now. Wink
 
Posts: 23300 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
"That's over-punctuation. Take out the semicolons!"

I'm glad somebody had some sense!
 
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Picture of Richard English
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quote:
"That's over-punctuation. Take out the semicolons!"

Not even over-punctuation, to my mind - but wrong punctuation.

I regard over-punctuation as over-enthusiastic use of punctuation marks, albeit used correctly.


Richard English
 
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