July 01, 2004

Drugs? No, he's addicted to product samples.

This is the blog of unrelenting positivity. Honest, it is. This entry has been heavily edited for failing to live up to our standards of saying nothing but nice things about absolutely everyone, but the following snideness has remained despite our best efforts to reprogram it.

Public service announcement: the English language counts at least 7 punctuation marks that can be legitimately used in common sentences. The most common, I believe, are commas and periods. Others are less general and should be used carefully; semicolons should be counted among these (as should parentheses). One in particular requires caution for correct use: the colon. Another--my personal favorite, the em dash--is easy to use but tricky to space correctly. Lastly, who could forget the question mark?

There's no excuse for writing an entire entry using only ellipses. The many Internet users who do so should be collectively forced to re-attend elementary school English class.

Posted by dianna at July 1, 2004 04:36 PM

Not to be a biatch or anything...but being corrected on anything grammatical makes me want to make the 'error' more than ever...and I hated elementary school English...it was usually held immediately after recess, which I often spent being sat upon by the more belligerent members of the student body. Aw crap! I used a comma! And a period! And...and...ah good...there are the ellipses that I know and love...you'll probably be suggesting soon that $p311i|\|G m@'rz on the 'net...

Ok, I am trying to be a biatch... :)

(mmm, there're the italics again for this font...)

Posted by: Erik at July 1, 2004 08:48 PM

do jolie and i need to put our buffering breasts between the two of you?

Posted by: erica at July 1, 2004 10:36 PM

I'm with Dianna on this one. My summer project is to get my parents using 'good' and 'well' properly. Contrary to my parents' belief, there are very few instances where the two are interchangable. For chrissakes, they're not even the same part of speech*!

*Actually, both words have a noun form, but they are not even close to synonymous. Both words also have an adjective form, which confuses things since the easiest way to explain the common misuse of both words is to say that 'good' is an adjective while 'well' is an adverb. This is generally a good rule to work with, despite the fact that 'well' has an adjective form meaning 'in good health.'

Posted by: Chris at July 2, 2004 01:10 AM

Good luck on that one, Chris. I don't see your parents as the type to take this crusade without exasperation (on your dad's part) and sarcasm (on your mom's part). Or am I judging too harshly?

Ms*D, your buffering breasts are always needed here.

Posted by: Dianna at July 2, 2004 06:30 AM

I think there's definitely something to be said for the legitimacy of colloquoy. I do try to maintain a higher standard than mere comprehensibility for my own speech and writing, but there's not always a clear demarcation between style and error.

All other things being equal, the alleged "misuse" of good/well doesn't qualify as clear error in my opinion, nor does an attractively split infinitive. Even the much-maligned "very unique" doesn't irk me, because I think it has a legitimate colloquial connotation: the state of being unique and also being so dissimilar to others that similarities are far more difficult to articulate than differences.

But there are other considerations as well: if the language in question is written, is the writer imitating speech? What's the irony quotient? Is the writer/speaker making an obscure reference with an unstated "[sic]"?

Arguably it's a slippery slope from all that to accepting ebonics and leetspeak as legitimate dialects, but I'm comfortable where I am.

Posted by: poot at July 2, 2004 07:15 AM


Posted by: Chris at July 2, 2004 02:51 PM

erica- Don't change the subject! This is about breasts, not grammar! Damn! I mean, grammar, not breasts, however buffering!

At any rate, I'm pretty sure that Dianna knows where I stand on grammatical imprecision. Though I've never been able to pull off The Librarian Look, I am constantly haranguing the engineers and scientists at work about their 'grasp' of the English Language (or complete and utter lack thereof).

Still, I maintain that the 'net is no holds barred when it comes to this stuff... (token ellipses)

Posted by: Erik at July 2, 2004 06:07 PM

Erik - I appreciate your attempt to keep things on track, but I have to say I'm a tad bit concerned with your priorities. My father is an English teacher and he always places breasts before grammar.

Posted by: Jolie at July 2, 2004 07:06 PM

Jolie and erica- Please don't take my comment the wrong way. Generally, there's no problem in the world that a good pair of breasts can't solve...but, I mean, two good pair breasts? Well not even, erm, whatever it was that I was talking about before could compete, I'm convinced. Someone pass me another Newcastle? Th-thanks!

Posted by: Erik at July 2, 2004 08:03 PM

Oh, and:

Huh huh, the colon 'requires caution for correct use'. That was cool, Beavis.

Mkay, now I've had enough.

Posted by: Erik at July 2, 2004 09:50 PM