I could swear I read a quote once, attributed to Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain about how much he hates semi-colons.
I can't find it anymore. I found one by Vonnegut, but I really wanted the one by Twain (if there even is one).
posted by From Bklyn
on Sep 11, 2013 -
I'm on a dating site and I've noticed that in the profiles and messages of some non-native English speakers there's a pattern of irregular spacing around commas. I don't believe that it is a random typographical error, as I have seen it repeatedly by different writers.
Here's an example: "I like to go to the party ,park,movies ,I like to go hike ,swimming ,travel "
The above example is from a native Arabic speaker. Is this related to the grammatical construction of a particular language, differences in keyboards, or something else?
posted by aspen1984
on Aug 29, 2013 -
How would you use hyphens and en dashes in the following phrase: "one to three year jail sentence"? [more inside]
posted by Ollie
on Jun 20, 2013 -
In the past week or so I have seen numerous constructions like this
headline and lead sentence ("Erik Loomis argues that the reason we don’t see more tragedies like West, Texas is because the US has outsourced industries to places like Bangladesh..."). Should there not be a comma after "Texas" in that headline and sentence? I have even had writers tell me that editors (on internet sites) have actively removed the second comma in a mid-sentence "Cityname, State, ... " construction. Is it not still "West, Texas, ..."?
Punctuation police—can we get a ruling? Are standards shifting, or is this just a case of bad editing?
posted by stargell
on Apr 25, 2013 -
Is there a way (a macro perhaps?) to change the spellings and punctuation in a Microsoft Word document (.docx) from "American" style to "British" (or should I say, 'British') style in one fell swoop? [more inside]
posted by dhens
on Mar 11, 2013 -
When a sentence includes a date (month, day, and year), is it always proper to set off the year with commas? [more inside]
posted by southern_sky
on Feb 28, 2012 -
[PunctuationFilter] When you are writing a list of people with their credentials, do you separate the person with their credentials from the next person with their credentials with commas? [more inside]
posted by Kimberly
on Feb 16, 2012 -
Firefox / WIN7: I type in two hyphens IE -- and word processor (LibreOffice Writer) changes them into M dash IE – which is what I would love to see happen in Firefox. Alternately, if this cannot be done, is there a simple way to do this with some sort of macro on my puter? Plus, hey, while we're here, can we turn three periods IE ... into an ellipsis IE … ? (Hewlett Packard HP 630 laptop, if it matters.) [more inside]
posted by dancestoblue
on Nov 6, 2011 -
Whither indentations? I've noticed lately that people are not using paragraph indentations for business correspondence and other public writing (e.g., public policy whitepapers.) Why is this? Is it good or bad?
posted by yarly
on Sep 7, 2011 -
How should I denote transitions between languages in a story I'm working on? [more inside]
posted by mordax
on Jul 28, 2011 -
Punctuation question -- Are the semicolons correct in separating the list of book titles in the following sentence, or should I use commas?
"John and Susan offer workshops based on the following books: Making Cheese: A Guide; Cheese is Your Friend: A Method for Success; and Expand Your Horizons: Give Cheese a Chance."
posted by kim in chicago
on Jul 3, 2011 -
Punctuation filter: Comma, colon, semicolon, dash? Is what I'm saying even grammatically correct? [more inside]
posted by a.steele
on Jun 10, 2010 -
When writing fractions as words, under what circumstances do you hyphenate them? [more inside]
posted by stenoboy
on May 14, 2010 -
BritishPunctuationFilter: I'm an American editor preparing a author's manuscript that will soon be submited to a British publisher, and I have three exciting questions regarding dashes, hyphens, and apostrophes! [more inside]
posted by scody
on Dec 10, 2009 -
Punctuation-filter: When opening a sentence with the phrase, "Per my discussion with Mr. White __ I am writing you regarding..." What goes in the "__"? [more inside]
posted by wfrgms
on Jun 5, 2009 -
Semi-colon usage: "My name's John; I'm a carpenter and I enjoy repairing old homes and building new ones." [more inside]
posted by boosh
on Mar 27, 2009 -
Punctuation question. Gentle reader - what connotation do you get from seeing Jesus'
? (Possessives with or without the 's' for nouns ending in 's'.) [more inside]
posted by typewriter
on Jan 23, 2009 -
Looking for examples in literature where the author had to rely on his/her editor rather heavily. I'm thinking of instances where the authors were capable of spinning a good yarn, yet they had trouble with grammar, structure, punctuation, etc. [more inside]
posted by captainsohler
on Dec 29, 2008 -
Punctuation filter: How would I hyphenate "... climate change related disclosures", or "... climate change specific patterns"? [more inside]
posted by stenoboy
on Aug 26, 2008 -
MetaStyle: When using a superscripted dagger (cross) to indicate a footnote, should the footnote at the bottom of the page be preceded by a superscripted dagger or a regular-sized dagger? Should there be a space between the dagger and the footnote? [more inside]
posted by Shepherd
on Jul 14, 2008 -
Is there a consensus on the grammatical relationship between emoticons and punctuation? [more inside]
posted by mkultra
on Apr 8, 2008 -
What is the origin of using asterisks to bracket a self-referential action statement? [more inside]
posted by Tube
on Dec 8, 2007 -
How do you punctuate an elliptical sentence structure?
1) Paul ate the tuna casserole; Mary, the taco salad.
2) Paul ate the tuna casserole, Mary the taco salad.
I'm feeling frustrated that I'm coming across many published examples that I find confusing to read!
posted by SMP
on Sep 13, 2007 -
My eight year old wrote her latest poem, then asked about the subtleties of poetic punctuation (commas, periods, breaks ... and why such decisions are made... help! ). The poem is included, as of course ... [more inside]
posted by RMD
on Jun 5, 2007 -
I find myself fascinated with the intricacies of typography, punctuation, character sets etc. What books should a newbie read to become a connoisseur on these matters? [more inside]
posted by lifeless
on Apr 11, 2007 -
Which heavy metal bands have umlauts in their names? Apart from Mötley Crüe and Motörhead, of course.
posted by tombola
on Mar 30, 2007 -
Anyone know anything at all about Adobe GoLive's use of -type HTML tags? Its insertion of these tags around dates, places, etc is causing extra spaces to pop up, throwing off proper punctuation and basically just making copytext look bad. [more inside]
posted by cyrusdogstar
on Jan 9, 2007 -
In this article
, a quotation reads "What is unique about Harry S Truman's name? His middle initial doesn't need a period after it". Why not?
posted by Heatwole
on Nov 2, 2006 -
I just realized (I'm fairly slow that way) that suddenly, and without fanfare, every language on Earth, excepting North-Korean and maybe a smattering of others, has acquired mood punctuation
i.e. emoticons. Much like a ? indicates that the
preceding sentence was a question, a jocular sentence is marked with a :)
Now, here comes my question. Are there any languages that have mood punctuation that pre-exists the internet? Or something similar? Markings that indicate a mood, feeling or emotion in any way? [more inside]
posted by Kattullus
on Aug 4, 2006 -
How do type an upside down question mark in Outlook Express? (for Spanish class)
posted by alball
on Jan 28, 2005 -
PunctuationFilter: I'm writing the copy for a CD insert booklet in which the title of a book is mentioned. Typically, I'd italicize it, but the entire piece is already in italics. What's the standard here?
posted by plexiwatt
on Dec 6, 2004 -
When (and where, and maybe why) did people start doing this ?
Is it mostly a UK/Europe thing ?
Is it only occasional or a valid trend now ?(Another question about a grammar anomaly, but I'm not complaining this time, only curious. This one only occurs in informal [Internet] communication and for some reason I enjoy it: a space between sentence end and final punctuation, when punctuation is a '!' or '?' Mostly UK- and Ireland-ers do it, like sgt serenity [a mad Scotsman] here.)
posted by Shane
on Mar 27, 2004 -
People in my company often use a period instead of a question mark at the end of an interrogative sentence. I pointed this out to an old boss as I was proofing one of his e-mails, and he told me this is standard custom now in business communication. Is this so? What the hell? [more inside]
posted by Shane
on Mar 25, 2004 -
Why does Outlook convert an ellipsis (...) to a question mark (?) ? This is happening on outgoing emails -- I only can tell it's happening when people reply to me and I see the email I sent in the body of their reply. It does not appear in the saved copy on my machine. I use Word as my email text editor.
posted by bowline
on Dec 10, 2003 -