Tag: <span>Lynne Truss</span>

Prompted by this article in the New Yorker (which I’ve just happened across), I’ve been giving some thought to my use of grammar and punctuation on this here site.

(side note: I still jar when describing this site as a “blog”, odd that)

Comma usage, ellipsis (ellipsi?), italics, bold, capitals, the odd semi-colon, and the even rarer colon have all featured here. Did anyone notice that for a while after reading Eats, Shoots and Leaves my usage punctuation was much wider than normal? And that, more to the point, it has dwindled back to it’s normal state since then.

Anyway, here’s the thing. Hyperlinks. Are they, should they, can they, be considered punctuation?

For example, when I mentioned Eats, Shoots and Leaves should I have distinguished it somehow? Is “Eats, Shoots and Leaves” correct or will Eats, Shoots and Leaves suffice, or is Eats, Shoots and Leaves a valid use of the markup and grammar available to us.

Can the hyperlink serve as a form of punctuation? Is this a valid part of the evolution of language?

Of course I have a vested interest in this, being a technical writer for a living, but I’m interested in what you guys think. The masses (cultured of course), the proles, the everyday writer.

Postscript: the New Yorker article linked above nails this book precisely. Lynne Truss taps into that sense of outrage and disbelief that some of us feel when staring at public signage that is badly punctuated, and openly admits to ignoring and abusing some of the rules of grammar. I was once told that the rules of the English language were the strictest set of rules in the world, and it was only their steadfast resolve that allowed them to be bent, twisted and skewed so often by so many.

Next question: One space or two?

* This mistake was on purpose. Any other mistakes in this post are, of course, only there to see if you catch them. Honest.

1. Just finished reading Eats, Shoots & Leaves. It’s smart, funny and reminds me that I really should pay more attention to my grammar on this ‘ere site.

2. I have received an email from Ron. He left some comments on yesterday’s post (Ikeaphobia) and has clarified a few things. Thanks for that Ron, I will respond to your email later today.

3. To the BBC; I know I should care about the resignations and worry about who will be appointed next but, frankly, I don’t (did you see that semicolon there, I’m a changed man I tell ya).

4. When trying to login to a well known online book store, check you are logging in to the UK site NOT the US site; Preferably before accusing the aforementioned online book store of being the “son of the whore of satan”.

5. All this punctuation is hard work. Remember you voted that grammar, spelling and punctuation were “Somewhat important. I do notice these things, and prefer them correct.”

6. When posting late at night re-read carefully before you post. Do not fall into the “I’ll just post this quickly” trap. I mean look at that top entry in the miniblog. Appalling. Clarification: This site will not be expanding into the US market, I’ll leave that to 1&1.

7. Write to Lynne Truss concerning the dot dot dot (ellipsis). I think it has a new, and very valid usage. Namely as a draw into a linked article, offering that the description of the linked article isn’t giving the full story – which obviously it isn’t – and adding some intrigue to the reader’s experience.

8. Find out if her novels share the same kind of wit and humour.

9. Fair Trade: I’m all for it, I look for it when I buy goods (and to be fair to Starbucks they are continually expanding their use of Fair Trade beans). Ultimately the reason I don’t drink at Costa is because I enjoy coffee. I do not enjoy Costa coffee. This makes me guilty of pandering to the highest dominator with concern only for myself and my likes. I give no or little thought to the purchases I make. I am one of billions. I’m not defending myself or my position, just stating a fact. I live in a comfortable ‘middle-class’ country with a typical attitude, I recycle a little (could do more), I conserve energy when I can (could try harder), and I am aware of my purchases (but will defer to my desires over the “right thing to do”). I could go on, and I will another time.

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