Friday, February 29, 2008
A Sign of Hope
so what kind of geeks are we that we have our favorite punctuation marks?
I use too many semicolons, though.
"I love the semicolon. A period and a comma. It's like a party in my head!"
Just too funny not to share :)
And--ahem--aren't words as words (words qua words?) supposed to be italicized? Or were all those ruler-beatings I received in English class for naught?
Hear me out.
In Shakespeare, you'll frequently hear "nuncle" for uncle. Go back further, and you have "nadder" instead of adder. The history of the language is filled with words that used to start with an N but don't anymore because that N moved from the word to the article "a nadder" to "an adder" or vice versa from "mine uncle" to "my nuncle".
A whole nother is an unself conscious participant in that tradition, so I like it, even though it sounds wrong to anyone whose primary language is written English.
From where I sit grading freshman comp essays, I feel that a slew of simple English words suffer from the silly, unjustified prejudice that wants a long, fancy-sounding, latinate word in place of every short Anglo-Saxonish one. In particular, I'll take my stand for but.
Apparently, most kids are taught to never begin a sentence with and or but, but many of our best writers freely do so. MLK's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" has whole paragraphs that start with it.
FYI, here's a fun test to find out which punctuation mark you are:
I'm an ellipsis! But I sure do adore the semi-colon!
My pet peeve is when the colon, of which I'm a fan, unlike DD, is used to announce a list after a verb. I like: science, music, chocolate, and journal articles that are accepted without revisions. Please, fellow writers, only put a colon after a noun.
DD, I'm glad that you managed to use a semicolon somewhere in the post. I was getting worried there for awhile.
I hate the business-speak tendency to make nouns into verbs. "Let's calendar that," "I think we should dialog about that . . ." Blech.
And I really like "dis," because it's a slang word that actually filled a need--a far more succinct way to say "act disrespectfully toward."
I can't stop myself. I have read/heard "take it for granite" many times, and it almost works. "Begs the question" meaning "makes one want to ask" rather than referring to the fallacy also bugs, but I really should get over that.
No, my first thought was 'throw away the paper?' You see, NYC is a recycling city, and I couldn't believe they would suggest throwing away the paper rather than recycling. Yes, I understood that the ad was about picking up one's garbage, but still...recycle people, recycle!
And I wrote this without a single semi-colon, but I couldn't resist an ellipsis.