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Wednesday, June 8, 2005 - 7:47amSanction this postReply
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I regret the loss of a distinction between 'fewer' and 'less'.



Post 1

Wednesday, June 8, 2005 - 8:32amSanction this postReply
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True - fewer are there, and less and less as it goes along......



Post 2

Wednesday, June 8, 2005 - 11:34amSanction this postReply
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Tibor, I liked your article, for obvious reasons. I also dislike the argument "just because"; most standards have a logic to them that's caused them to hold out over time.

I guess this is as good a place as any to mention something that irks me to no end.  That's the practice of putting parentheses instead of brackets in a quote to indicate words that are not part of the original.  A person can speak parenthetically or actually place parenthetical remarks in a written work, so it's confusing to no end when it appears someone's used parentheses instead of brackets. 

(Consider this fair warning for those who employ that practice when submitting SOLO articles!)

Jason

(Edited by Jason Dixon on 6/08, 11:35am)




Post 3

Wednesday, June 8, 2005 - 12:30pmSanction this postReply
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"I guess this is as good a place as any to mention something that irks me to no end.  That's the practice of putting parentheses instead of brackets in a quote to indicate words that are not part of the original. (I don't know why anyone would complain about this!!) A person can speak parenthetically or actually place parenthetical remarks in a written work..."

[parenthetically, when I am speaking and quoting someone with the raised "quote fingers", I always do try, when inserting my own parenthetical remarks inside their quote, to crook my fingers in a "square" way, to let listeners know these are my own comments inside the quote surrounded by brackets]

But whilst we are on the topic of language corruption, I despise what is happening to the word "atheist", more and more it is used exclusively in the strong sense, and skeptic Micheal Shermer, whom I otherwise admire, is contributing to this. I think he actually wants to coin the phrase "non-theist" as a replacement.




Post 4

Wednesday, June 8, 2005 - 12:52pmSanction this postReply
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Steve,

I complain about this because it's confusing to the reader.  Brackets are the signifier of the quoter's comments, not the person being quoted.  Since parentheses can be used in the original (but brackets are rarely used),  when reading a quote/passage that has no brackets but has parentheses one doesn't know if the parentheses were in the original work or are the quoter's own addition. 

It wouldn't be a source of confusion if people hadn't started using parentheses instead of brackets.  Now that they have, it's something that one has to decipher.

That said, your second paragraph was funny.

Jason




Post 5

Wednesday, June 8, 2005 - 2:09pmSanction this postReply
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Actually my first paragraph was intended humorously too. But not the 3rd. See how easy this is?

Steve




Post 6

Wednesday, June 8, 2005 - 3:40pmSanction this postReply
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I have five words of advice on language:

Language changes--get over it.

That said, there are things I resist. For example:
  • The redundancy of "tuna fish."
  • Redundant suffixes, such as "fantastical."
  • The trend toward making 's mandatory for ALL possessives, even if they end with S.
On that last issue, Wikipedia notes:
"If a name already ends with an s, the extra s is sometimes dropped: Jesus' parables. This is more common in U.S. usage and with classical names (Eros' statue, Herodotus' book). Additionally, many contemporary names that end with -es (a -z sound) will see the extra s dropped by some writers: Charles' car, though most style guides advocate Charles's car."   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostrophe_%28mark%29
As I've noted elsewhere, forcing the extra S leads to such ugliness as "James Arness's horse." Three esses in a row! Lord have mercy.

If we went by pronunciation and not printed esthetics alone, it might be justified, as we would say "Arnessez." But we would not say, not without sounding odd, "Jesusuzz."

Similarly, here is a website which lists common errors in English:

http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/errors.html

The man's name is Paul Brians. Possessifying that as "Brians's" pushes a pronunciation of "Brianzuzz," which is pretty tragic. Poor man has enough trouble getting people not to use "Brian's."

In other words, I suggest that there are good and rational reasons for allowing a writer to use forms like Arness' and Jesus' and Brians'.  It's not just a matter of uniform punctuation.

Jason: Does SOLO have an official style sheet you can post? I notice that your use of dashes - is like so, and I'd be glad to adopt this if that's the official preference.
Steve wrote:
But whilst we are on the topic of language corruption, I despise what is happening to the word "atheist", more and more it is used exclusively in the strong sense, and skeptic Micheal Shermer, whom I otherwise admire, is contributing to this. I think he actually wants to coin the phrase "non-theist" as a replacement.

Steve, I don't recall Shermer's rationale, but I've used "nontheist" in my own writing.

In my case, I used it stipulatively to distinguish between an atheist who denies that a god exists and a nontheist who holds no belief in a god (for lack of evidence) but does not deny the possibility. It might appear that agnosticism would cover the latter, but as Huxley used it, it referred to the existence of God as something unknowable, not just unknown.

So rather than a replacement for atheist, as I use it, it denotes a particular form of atheism. If someone's motive is to avoid the culturally negative connotations of atheist, however, that's a fool's errand--it would only be a matter of time before nontheist had pejorative overtones.

Nathan Hawking




Post 7

Wednesday, June 8, 2005 - 3:45pmSanction this postReply
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Robert:

I regret the loss of a distinction between 'fewer' and 'less'.
The author at
http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/amount.html

is more descriptionist than prescriptionist in his presentation of language use, but he gives no hint that fewer/less is actually acceptable in educated use. So maybe the cause is not lost.

Nathan Hawking




Post 8

Wednesday, June 8, 2005 - 4:16pmSanction this postReply
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Well, I have to say, Nathan, I was surprised you'd let this drop after my e-mail.  I should've known better.  Although if this is the Nathanator, I'm not impressed. :-P

Seriously, though, regarding the 's issue, I would argue that it isn't a new trend.  My style book from 1926 directs one thus:
Do not form the possessive singular of a noun ending in s by putting an apostrophe before or after the s; add 's to the complete word.  If a word of two or more syllables ends in s and is not accented on the last syllable, the possessive may be formed by adding either the apostrophe or 's.
[Emphasis in original]

Yet my style book from 1988 says the same thing!  They're both American style books.  However, my 'popular' grammar book "Woe Is I" (by Patricia T. O'Conner) directs one to only add the apostrophe.  So the acceptance of the apostrophe only seems to be one that was slow to win out.

My contention with that rule is one of consistency and mental focus.  While I understand the pronunciation concerns, the mental signal given by an apostrophe and an s is that the "possessor" is singular - no further thought required. 

In answer to your question on a style sheet, it's a good idea but there isn't one yet.  The practice of changing em-dashes to single dashes has two reasons:  I was told when I took over editorship that the SOLO site software doesn't like the solid em-dash, which probably explains the second reason - when I'm editing articles and want to insert one I can't; there's no mechanism for it to change "--" to the em-dash.  I personally think the double dash breaks up the focus.  An em-dash should be a forceful pause, not a staccato two pauses.  Double dashes break the focus instead of arresting it as it should.

While you may disagree, I hope the clarifies the reasoning behind my stubbornness.

Jason




Post 9

Wednesday, June 8, 2005 - 6:30pmSanction this postReply
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Jason:
Well, I have to say, Nathan, I was surprised you'd let this drop after my e-mail.  I should've known better. 
LOL Actually, it's not an issue worth much bother. There is no "correct" answer, and it's your sandbox.
Although if this is the Nathanator, I'm not impressed. :-P
"I'll be back." [Austrian accent.]

Yet my style book from 1988 says the same thing!  They're both American style books.  However, my 'popular' grammar book "Woe Is I" (by Patricia T. O'Conner) directs one to only add the apostrophe.  So the acceptance of the apostrophe only seems to be one that was slow to win out.
As the Wikipedia article noted, in the US there is no hard and fast rule. There are only hard and fast rulers. (Ahem.)
My contention with that rule is one of consistency and mental focus.  While I understand the pronunciation concerns, the mental signal given by an apostrophe and an s is that the "possessor" is singular - no further thought required. 
...

The practice of changing em-dashes to single dashes has two reasons:  I was told when I took over editorship that the SOLO site software doesn't like the solid em-dash, which probably explains the second reason - when I'm editing articles and want to insert one I can't; there's no mechanism for it to change "--" to the em-dash.  I personally think the double dash breaks up the focus.  An em-dash should be a forceful pause, not a staccato two pauses.  Double dashes break the focus instead of arresting it as it should.

While you may disagree, I hope the clarifies the reasoning behind my stubbornness.

 

Many of these things are a matter of taste, and I won't argue taste, as there is no "correct." If I'm passionate enough about not putting three ss's in a row, I will simply write around it. Let's see...

"The horse of James Arness was so small that under him it looked like a large dog." 

LOL See what you made me do?
In answer to your question on a style sheet, it's a good idea but there isn't one yet. 
Maybe, but the dash issue is the only thing I've noticed so far. The rest seems pretty straightforward. It might be easier to adopt and post a link to an existing style sheet and simply note any exceptions.

Nathan Hawking




Post 10

Wednesday, June 8, 2005 - 11:35pmSanction this postReply
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By the way, Nathan, something I forgot to mention:  I was going to send you a SOLOmail telling you I'd let you out of my 's preference.  Until I saw the Nathanator.  :-P



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Post 11

Thursday, June 9, 2005 - 12:27amSanction this postReply
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I'm gonna have to fire this editor. Sex, sex, sex. One dropped apostrophe & she's anybody's. Worse than Iannolo. Strumpetry & sluttery wherever I turn.



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Post 12

Thursday, June 9, 2005 - 12:47amSanction this postReply
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Linz:
I'm gonna have to fire this editor. Sex, sex, sex. One dropped apostrophe & she's anybody's. Worse than Iannolo. Strumpetry & sluttery wherever I turn.
Not to worry. I'm not that easy. I'm holding out for periods, too.

I would have thrown in colons and asterisks, but fear mention of those would only worsen matters.

NH




Post 13

Thursday, June 9, 2005 - 7:25amSanction this postReply
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Oh, Linz, you're just mad I denied your request for a video.

Or was that Alec?  I get you voyeurs so mixed up.




Post 14

Thursday, June 9, 2005 - 7:46amSanction this postReply
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Strumpetry & sluttery wherever I turn.

I believe the correct term is "generosity."




Post 15

Thursday, June 9, 2005 - 1:19pmSanction this postReply
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Regina Dildo & SOS Dixon: No, you may *not* start a new sub-group called SOLO Nympho.

Linz



Post 16

Thursday, June 9, 2005 - 1:27pmSanction this postReply
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...a new sub-group called SOLO Nympho.

You say that like it's a bad thing...




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Post 17

Thursday, June 9, 2005 - 3:01pmSanction this postReply
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Geez!

I remember the days when Jennifer and Jason were more than just sexual organs.

When they actually had something else to say.




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Post 18

Thursday, June 9, 2005 - 3:18pmSanction this postReply
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When they actually had something else to say.

You mean like this?  Or perhaps this?  Or maybe even this.

I will also point out that you have been more than happy to contribute to the melee.




Post 19

Thursday, June 9, 2005 - 3:27pmSanction this postReply
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I am not claiming to be a prude.

Nor am I claiming to be a slut.




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