Wordcraft Home Page    Wordcraft Community Home Page    Forums  Hop To Forum Categories  Potpourri    Punctuation
Page 1 2 3 
Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
Punctuation Login/Join
 
Member
Picture of arnie
posted
We've mentioned Lynne Truss and her surprise best-seller Eats, Shoots and Leaves before.

Apparently she was on her way to a conference and the taxi driver asked her what she'd be doing there. She explained she was to give a speech on punctuation, and he replied, "I'd better make sure you're on time, then."

Wink


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
Posts: 10940 | Location: LondonReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
One thing I teased Richard and arnie about in London was the misuse, at times, of the apostrophe on many signs. Just tonight in fact, the main sign read "Youngs Pub," while another sign on the same pub read "Young's Pub."

I think we in the U.S. have been mislead regarding the superior ability of the Brits to use apostrophes. Wink

I do have one question about grammar abroad though. My small group facilitator was from Scotland, and he was brilliant, well-educated, and a wonderful group leader. One thing confused me, though. He always said "ain't." Now, sometimes in the U.S. people say "ain't" to be cute, but it seemed to be a part of his vocabulary. Is that the case for the Scots?
 
Posts: 24050 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of jheem
posted Hide Post
What made you think that Brits had a superior ability to use apostrophes well? Who do you think invented the greengrocer's apostrophe?

What's wrong with "ain't"? In informal, spoken English it's used as a contraction of "am not". Heaven knows how your man was using it. Perhaps English was his second language. Or maybe medical school had caused a mini-stroke. In any case, you oughtn't to tease Scots.

Hope you're having fun, K.
 
Posts: 1218 | Location: CaliforniaReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Richard English
posted Hide Post
I think it fair to say that "ain't", even in spoken English, is not considered correct. The correct abbreviation for "I am not" is "I'm not". It is not "I ain't".

It is, though, a very common spoken expression in the south of England. However, even here it would be frowned on were it to be used in any kind of written expression.


I did not think the "ain't" was used much, if at all, in Scotland and I wonder whether it was Kalleh's mis-hearing of a word spoken with a strong Scots accent. Obviously I would be happy to be corrected by one with a greater knowledge of Scottish vernacular; do we have any Scottish contributors?


Richard English
 
Posts: 8037 | Location: Partridge Green, West Sussex, UKReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of arnie
posted Hide Post
Remember, Kalleh, that Richard, Bob and I (and others) came to this forum by way of the Apostrophe Protection Society board. The APS was founded by a Brit, and the posters on its board are mainly Brits. Why do you think it was felt necessary to found the society in the first place? Wink

Ain't is used in many dialects across Britain. Its use is mainly frowned upon, and it is restricted to verbal communication only. See this [URL=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ain't]article on Wikipedia[/URL].

You should also remember that Scotland, like England, has many dialects, some of which use ain't, some of which do not. The Highland speech is considered by many to be one of the "purest" forms of English -- very close to Received Pronunciation -- but the Glaswegian accent, for example, can be almost impenetrable to non-locals.

Edit: It looks like the apostrophe in the URL for the Wikipedia article is confusing the forum software. You'll have to copy and paste the URL into your address bar, I'm afraid.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
Posts: 10940 | Location: LondonReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
Yes, arnie, I understand that those apostrophe boards are predominantly British, and that's why I thought the Brits were more accurate than the Americans with the use of apostrophes. However, as you and Richard both saw, there were a number of misused apostrophes just on that one afternoon!

As for my Scottish friend, he was using "ain't" not as a contraction for "am I not," but in sentences like, "he ain't coming." I thought maybe the Scots did that. I was going to ask him, but then I worried that I might insult him. However, he definitely was saying "ain't," Richard. There is no doubt about that!
 
Posts: 24050 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Richard English
posted Hide Post
Th Scottish abbreviation I have heard for "He isn't coming" is "He isna' (or isni') coming"

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


Richard English
 
Posts: 8037 | Location: Partridge Green, West Sussex, UKReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
I have a tiny grammar question and don't want to start a new thread for it, so I thought I'd use this one.

Which of the following is correct?

"...a variety of key stakeholders participate..."

or

"...a variety of key stakeholders participates..."

The former sounds correct to me, but my grammatical knowledge tells me that the latter is correct.
 
Posts: 24050 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of jheem
posted Hide Post
The latter, "... a variety of key stakeholders participates ...", is correct.
 
Posts: 1218 | Location: CaliforniaReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of aput
posted Hide Post
Disagree with jheem. It's the stakeholders participating: plural subject. Recast it with simpler words:

A number of people are...
A number of people is...

Clearly the only thing we'd ever say here is 'are'. The subject is plural 'people', and 'a number of' is a qualifier of the subject.

The alternative analysis has 'a number' as subject (taking singular concord 'is'), and 'of people' as a qualifier of 'number'; but I'm pretty sure no-one would naturally say that.

> The former sounds correct to me, but my grammatical knowledge tells me that the latter is correct.

'Sounds correct to me' is what being grammatical means (to a linguist). Ignore school teaching: it's always wrong, if it conflicts with what you always say.
 
Posts: 502 | Location: LondonReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of jheem
posted Hide Post
Figures that when I try to be prescriptive, I get it wrong. (If anybody could get it wrong.) But it's not the stakeholders who are participating (otherwise K. would've written that), but rather it is some subset of the stakeholders which is particpiating.

Here's the problem: "a variety of key stakeholders particpates" sounds good to me and agrees with my grammar of English. Also, number is a, to me, wonky quantifier, similar to some or all (i.e., singular in form but plural in meaning).

A number have died.
Some have died.
All are dead.

But,

A variety always is ...
 
Posts: 1218 | Location: CaliforniaReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
Unfortunately this was a part of a white paper that I had to get out today. Since our editor recently quit, I had no expert to ask....so I asked my husband. Shu is the one who convinced me it should be "variety participates", though it doesn't sound right to me. At this point it will be distributed as "variety participates."

I tried to reword the sentence as people on this board often tell me to do, but I wanted "variety" to show several different stakeholders, and I wanted "key" as they are the important ones.

It will be in our Business Book as "variety participates," but I am going to distribute it and publish it on our Web site. So, further thoughts would be helpful. Is this perhaps a British/American difference?
 
Posts: 24050 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of BobHale
posted Hide Post
A quick reply in between loading software (which I've now been doing, on and off, for the last ten hours).

The short answer is don't worry about it.

This is one that the grammarians argue about in most of the text books.

A group of people is coming.
A group of people are coming.

A tribe of Indians is over the hill, General Custer.

A tribe of Indians are over the hill, General Custer.


Either can be defended; one on the grounds of logical consistency, the other on the grounds of common usage.

The same sort of argument crops up over and over with group nouns.

The team is
or
the team are ?

The committee is
or the committee are?

There is no right or wrong answer. Just go with whatever sounds natural and be prepared to defend your choice should you meet a wordcrafter in the street. Smile
 
Posts: 8326 | Location: EnglandReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of aput
posted Hide Post
With group nouns (group, tribe, team, committee) both are widely used, and they're much more commonly plural in British than in American usage. I would also normally say the BBC are, the Army are, the government are, as the normal way unless I want to emphasize the unity of their action; an American would probably reverse this and use singular unless emphasizing their plurality.

But I think number words (number, selection, proportion) behave differently: for me, only the plural is possible:

The stockholders accepted the motion, but a number were/*was unhappy with the result.
A number of them were/*was unhappy with the result.
A number of stockholders were/*was unhappy with the result.

This will vary with the number noun: so 'majority' can take singular or plural. And I'm sure there'll be some nouns where it's not clear whether they're group-type or number-type.
 
Posts: 502 | Location: LondonReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
BBC are, the Army are, the government are

You are right, aput. I would say BBC is, Army is, and government is. Yet, your way makes more sense. I had always thought the Brits were more inflexible about grammar rules, but I see that isn't true at all.
 
Posts: 24050 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of aput
posted Hide Post
I've noticed Americans sometimes think British usage is always to use plural here, but this is probably their overgeneralizing from seeing some examples. Newspapers and the BBC usually use singular. The singular sounds completely natural; there's no preference against it, and most of the time it would hardly make any stylistic difference.

One place where the plural is always used is sport:

Arsenal complete an unbeaten league season
Newcastle grab Euro place
Kent leave Kiwis in trouble
ACT reach Super 12 final

Yesterday (unfortunately the BBC site has changed it so this isn't there now as such) the main news page had both "South Africa win World Cup bid" and "South Africa wins World Cup bid", one as the heading, the other as the lead sentence of the story. I can't remember which was which, though I'd guess headline "wins" was put in by the main news editors, and story "win" was written by the sports people.
 
Posts: 502 | Location: LondonReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of jheem
posted Hide Post
And, I've noticed British English "the band are" where I'd say the band is.

"When you’re listening late at night
You may think the band are not quite right
But they are, they just play it like that
It doesn’t really matter what chords I play
What words I say or time of day it is
As it’s only a Northern song."
[The Beatles A Northern Song]
 
Posts: 1218 | Location: CaliforniaReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Graham Nice
posted Hide Post
I have almost fallen out with our College Administrator over this issue: she is a grammatical fascist; I don't mind either way.

She also is a great one for object-verb agreement, and so is my sister. They both prefer the latter only in these two examples:

These are a great set of school reports.
This is a great set of school reports.

I think both are OK. Any views?
 
Posts: 382 | Location: CambridgeReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of arnie
posted Hide Post
In formal writing I try to ensure that subject and verb agree in this sort of case (for example, "This is a great set of school reports.") My only reason is so that I don't upset the grammatical fascists. For the same reason I try to always ensure that I don't split an infinitive; whilst I don't think there is anything wrong with it, avoiding it stops people complaining about it.

In informal writing and speech I say whatever seems clearest.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
Posts: 10940 | Location: LondonReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Chris J. Strolin
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by arnie:
For the same reason I try to always ensure that I don't split an infinitive;

You forgot to add the "Heh, heh."

I find that doing so heads off the accusations of my cluelessness that invariably spring to the minds of the humorless.
 
Posts: 681Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
I am finding this discussion fascinating. I had always thought the Brits more anal about grammar than we Americans. Apparently that's not the case, except for apostrophes of course Wink. To be honest, whilst (heh, heh!) I might split an infinitive now and then, I wouldn't say, "These are a great set..." It just doesn't sound right to me.
 
Posts: 24050 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of arnie
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Chris J. Strolin:
You forgot to add the "Heh, heh."
I did consider that, or adding a smiley face, but decided not to unnecessarily labour the matter, trusting my fellow wordcrafters would get the point. Cool

This message has been edited. Last edited by: arnie,


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
Posts: 10940 | Location: LondonReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
This seems to be the most recent thread in which to post an "apostrophe catastrophe," though there are many such threads!

Sent out to everyone in our office today, from our HR guru Wink:

"One topic that was addressed concerned Employee Coffee's."

Do I point this out, or just chuckle under my breath?
 
Posts: 24050 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Richard English
posted Hide Post
Write back and say, "...I sorry, who is this employee and what's his or her coffee supposed to have done..."


Richard English
 
Posts: 8037 | Location: Partridge Green, West Sussex, UKReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
Or ask if there's an employee named Coffee and if the rest of the sentence has just been missed off, for example:

"One topic that was addressed concerned Employee Coffee's bad timekeeping."

You can soften the blow by beautifying your memo with glitter and other sparkly things, so their chagrin at their own bad grammar is tempered by the "ooh! pretty!" factor. Cool
 
Posts: 669 | Location: EnglandReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of arnie
posted Hide Post
quote:
One topic that was addressed concerned Employee Coffee's
I agree with Cat. Simply ask: what is it belonging to Employee Coffee that they were discussing?

The strange use of capitalisation adds to the confusion.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
Posts: 10940 | Location: LondonReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Richard English
posted Hide Post
Quote "...The strange use of capitalisation adds to the confusion..."

Maybe it makes the matter clear. There is a person working at the firm and his or her name is Employee Coffee. All we need to know is that he or she is guilty of.


Richard English
 
Posts: 8037 | Location: Partridge Green, West Sussex, UKReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
Oh, you Brits are cracking me up! Big Grin I wish this fellow were the sort whom I could share this with...but he's not.
 
Posts: 24050 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
A new question has arisen in my work life, and I said I'd post it here. I am on the board of the National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities (NOND), and we are just getting started as a group. We hold all our meetings, discussions, etc., via e-mail so it can be a bit unwieldy sometimes with over 20 board members. Anyway...today we received an e-mail from someone who thinks the "that" in our Mission Statement should be changed to "which." I think I know how you will respond, but I promised to bring back your thoughts. Thanks!

Here is the Mission Statement and "that":

We are an open membership, cross-disability, public education, and advocacy organization that works to promote the full inclusion and acceptance of people with disabilities and chronic health conditions into nursing careers.

As for the wording of the mission statement, well, just remember, we have only just begun...and there are over 20 of us to put this together! In other words, give us a break! Wink
 
Posts: 24050 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
How about "We are an open membership, cross-disability, public education, and advocacy organization promoting the full inclusion and acceptance of people with disabilities and chronic health conditions into nursing careers."
 
Posts: 1242 | Location: San FranciscoReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of BobHale
posted Hide Post
When faced with this kind of grammatical question the trick is to strip out all the extraneous stuff and get the sentence down to its bare bones and then decide.

We are an organisation that promotes inclusion.

We are an organisation which promotes inclusion.

It seems clear to me that the word you need is "that" although people do tend to use them more interchangably nowadays. There is a mistaken belief in some people's minds that "which" carries a greater degree of formality. It doesn't. There is a rule though few seem to observe it.

The normal (i.e. old-fashioned) rule is that a defining clause uses that and a non-defining one uses which. Here clearly the promoting of inclusion is not just a defining characteristic it is the rasion d'être of the whole sentence. Applying the "rule", it is clear that "that" is correct.

However with that said the misuse of that and which is so ubiquitous it's hardly worth the fight that will inevitably ensue when you point it out.

In the other direction it's one of my pet hates about Word which will insist on trying to change every use of "which" to "that" unless you turn the rule off in your settings.

neveu's suggested recasting is certainly the best way to avoid an argument but as I pointed out in an entirely different context to a colleague last week - avoiding a problem is not the same as solving it.
 
Posts: 8326 | Location: EnglandReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
quote:
neveu's suggested recasting is certainly the best way to avoid an argument

When have I ever been a member who works to avoid an argument? I think 'works to promote' is wordy and sounds timid.
 
Posts: 1242 | Location: San FranciscoReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of BobHale
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by neveu:
quote:
neveu's suggested recasting is certainly the best way to avoid an argument

When have I ever been a member who works to avoid an argument? I think 'works to promote' is wordy and sounds timid.


No slight was intended.
 
Posts: 8326 | Location: EnglandReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
Neveu,
I agree with you that the mission statement is wordy, and at the time I had made that point. It happened to be a point in time when my own organization had an expert in who was helping us with our mission statement (which, by the way, I don't much like either!). He had said that the mission should be pithy so that you could recite it in an elevator. Surely NOND's isn't pithy. However, at this point they would kill me if I suggested changing the wording of the entire statement. They only asked about 'that' versus 'which.'

Hopefully, though, in the future we can change the mission statement. You should see our vision! It is downright abrasive! Hopefully not many people read these things.

Bob, thanks. I will give her the feedback.
 
Posts: 24050 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Richard English
posted Hide Post
I am prepared to produce mission statements for organisations on a commercial basis.

Me fees start at £50 for a fifty-word mission statement and increase by £10 for every word by which I shorten it. So forty words is £150, thirty is £250, twenty is £350. Thereafter it's £100 per word reduction.

Since I have never seen any worthwhile mission statement of more than about 15 words, my typical fee would be £850 for a worthwhile MS.

I'm sorry I'm so cheap but I am prepared to increase my prices for those who measure value by its price:-)


Richard English
 
Posts: 8037 | Location: Partridge Green, West Sussex, UKReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
This discussion reminds me of the limerick I had written for OEDILF on writing mission statements:

The will to succeed is ambition;
We lack it when writing our mission.
It is gobbledygook,
But by hook or by crook
We'll firm up our firm's new position.
 
Posts: 24050 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:

We are an open membership, cross-disability, public education, and advocacy organization that works to promote the full inclusion and acceptance of people with disabilities and chronic health conditions into nursing careers.

"Cross-disability"? You have to be disabled?

That is the word I would use. But the mission statement is really only the last half of the sentence: "to promote the full inclusion and acceptance of people with disabilities and chronic health conditions into nursing careers." It's till wordy and stilted and needs work. The first part is a description of the organization and belongs in the by-laws or somewhere else, but not in the mission statement. Short mission statements are best, I think. Look at these examples.

Tinman
 
Posts: 2795 | Location: Shoreline, WA, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by tinman:
quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:

We are an open membership, cross-disability, public education, and advocacy organization that works to promote the full inclusion and acceptance of people with disabilities and chronic health conditions into nursing careers.

"Cross-disability"? You have to be disabled?

That is the word I would use. But the mission statement is really only the last half of the sentence: "to promote the full inclusion and acceptance of people with disabilities and chronic health conditions into nursing careers." I think it's still wordy and stilted and needs work, but it's better without the baggage up front. The first part is a description of the organization and belongs in the by-laws or somewhere else, but not in the mission statement. Short mission statements are best, I think. Look at these examples.

Tinman
 
Posts: 2795 | Location: Shoreline, WA, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Caterwauller
posted Hide Post
My library's mission: We promote reading and guide learning in the pursuit of information, knowledge and wisdom.

Not bad, in my mind. What do you think of it?


*******
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
Posts: 5149 | Location: Columbus, OhioReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of jerry thomas
posted Hide Post
Personal mission statement (borrowed from Tom Joad, a creation of John Steinbeck -- The Grapes of Wrath) ... "I'm just a guy that's tryin' to get by without shovin' anybody."
 
Posts: 6708 | Location: Kehena Beach, Hawaii, U.S.A.Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of arnie
posted Hide Post
quote:
What do you think of it?
See the TS Eliot quote in my sig line.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
Posts: 10940 | Location: LondonReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Richard English
posted Hide Post
quote:
My library's mission:My library's mission: We promote reading and guide learning in the pursuit of information, knowledge and wisdom.

Not bad, in my mind. What do you think of it?



Very good. My only comment is a grammatical one to clarify that you're not actually promoting "guide learning". Just a comma after reading and after learning so that the sentence reads:

"We promote reading, and guide learning, in the pursuit of information, knowledge and wisdom."


Richard English
 
Posts: 8037 | Location: Partridge Green, West Sussex, UKReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Caterwauller
posted Hide Post
Oh yes, punctuation. Not my forte.


*******
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
Posts: 5149 | Location: Columbus, OhioReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of jheem
posted Hide Post
I've never really considered punctuation to be a part of grammar. Important, yes, but grammar, no.
 
Posts: 1218 | Location: CaliforniaReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
jheem, I am trying to learn your position on grammar. Okay, it doesn't include punctuation, I can see that. You also don't think we should go crazy over things like "which vs. that" or "Give it to whoever you wish." What would bother you?

As for mission statements, I told our president that I would post the "this vs. which" question, but I warned her that the mission statement itself would be criticized, too. At the time, I thought it had been poorly written. However, there were more than 20 of us via email votes who had to approve it, along with all our bylaws, in order to get our not-for-profit status. That takes time, and when we have more money, we'll hire one of the bigwig consultants and do it right. Roll Eyes

In the meantime it is somewhat understandable, though, no, Tinman, you don't need to be disabled in order to be a member. "Cross-disability?" I don't think that's a good word at all. After all, why not just say "disability?" Why the "cross?" I had mentioned it at the time, but a few loved "cross." It is funny how words are perceived so differently by people.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Kalleh,
 
Posts: 24050 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Richard English
posted Hide Post
quote:
That takes time, and when we have more money, we'll hire one of the bigwig consultants and do it right.

Alternatively hire a naturally hirsute consultant (me, for instance) and get it done more quickly and cheaper. Or more expensively if you really wish - but certainly better value for money.

I have discovered, too late in life, that being good at what you do is not the way to be sussessful or even well-regarded. That is a result of blatant self-promotion - which I am now trying, belatedly, to do!


Richard English
 
Posts: 8037 | Location: Partridge Green, West Sussex, UKReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Richard English
posted Hide Post
Quote "...I've never really considered punctuation to be a part of grammar. Important, yes, but grammar, no..."

What would you consider it to be, then? An incorrectly puntutated sentence can be just as ungrammatical, to my mind, as one which is faulty in construction.


Richard English
 
Posts: 8037 | Location: Partridge Green, West Sussex, UKReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of jheem
posted Hide Post
I am trying to learn your position on grammar.

Here's a nice résumé of what grammar means to me. The prescriptivist difference between which and that is incorrect. (Here and here.) I would concede that it is mainly a stylistic decision, and I have followed it in written documents because it was in the style guide I was currently using. Most, even the grammar mavens, agree that the distinction between who and whom has been lost in present-day English. I am saddened by this, but I'll live.

Because of my views on language and grammar, many assume me to be some wild-eyed linguo-anarchist with no rules at all. Nothing can be further from the truth, because I have written for a living for the past 17 years, and I wouldn't have got far breaking any and all of the editorial rules at work. But let's not delude ourselves by calling these things grammar.

What would you consider it to be, then? An incorrectly puntutated sentence can be just as ungrammatical, to my mind, as one which is faulty in construction.

Punctuation has more to do with orthography and bit to do with rhetoric. The "rules" of punctuation are even more ad hoc [sic] than the "rules" of grammar, with even fewer "experts" agreeing with one another. In a word, chaos. What annoys me is that, because of my age, I learned a different set of "rules", which today are being corrected by younger editors for being wrong.
 
Posts: 1218 | Location: CaliforniaReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Richard English
posted Hide Post
But of course, Lynn Truss's title, "Eats, shoots and leaves" demonstrates very well how a small error of punctuation makes a major difference of sense.

That is, to my mind, a grammatical error - not simply a stylistic one.


Richard English
 
Posts: 8037 | Location: Partridge Green, West Sussex, UKReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of jheem
posted Hide Post
Well, Richard, we'll just have to agree to disagree. Here's a funny blog entry on Louis Menand's review Truss' book and some of the punctuation errors therein.
 
Posts: 1218 | Location: CaliforniaReply With QuoteReport This Post
  Powered by Social Strata Page 1 2 3  
 

Wordcraft Home Page    Wordcraft Community Home Page    Forums  Hop To Forum Categories  Potpourri    Punctuation

Copyright © 2002-12