|READS BLOG, AND LEAVES|
Ah, inept grammar nazis, where would we be without you?
There is a lovely article by one Jennifer Garrett, despairing of blog punctuation. Helpfully telling people to capitalise properly, as if these people didn't know what the rule is. People know the rules, they just don't care that they look less competent than they might - no amount of explaining the rules will change that. Thankfully, this also applies to other rules that Jennifer has pulled out of her arse to 'explain'.
There are two reasons to use an ellipsis: Use an ellipsis to indicate words omitted from a direct quote or to trail off intriguingly.How about use a comma to disambuate that sentence? How about, after a list-indicating colon, writing a list rather than repeating the bit of text from just before the colon and going on to write a poorly-constructed sentence from it?
If you don't know whether or not to use a colon, a semicolon, or a dash, cut that sentence down! Brevity is the source of wit, after all.And hypocrisy is the wellspring of advice, eh? A dash or a fullstop would've gone down well in that ellipsis quote, in place of that colon, though you'd still be wanting that missing comma or the rewrite. And on the subject of the ellipsis quotation and hypocrisy, is this following ellipsis from Jennifer's blog indicating words omitted, or is it trailing off intriguingly?
So, on the whole, I really can't complain. I just kind of ... want to.Mind, I'm not saying that she should only use an ellipsis for the reasons she recommends - I'm just pointing out the hypocrisy of her advice. As far as I'm concerned, her actual use of an ellipsis cited here is a perfectly good one, and the advice is what's at fault. I would even go so far as to say that an ellipsis shouldn't be used to indicate words omitted, except enclosed in square brackets, and that they definitely shouldn't be used to trail off 'intriguingly', because that's fucking annoying. It's not intriguing. It's pathetic. It's passive-aggressive behaviour translated to text. It is, I reiterate, fucking annoying.
Jen just doesn't seem like someone who should be giving advice on how to blog, grammatical or otherwise. Look upon her works and despair. Read blog (but not too much), and leave.
Her article did, however, link to The New Yorker shredding Lynne Truss, which is quite entertaining. There are a few of their complaints that I disagree with, but on the whole their picking seems well justified. I particularly enjoy their suggestion that "it's hard to fend off the suspicion that the whole thing might be a hoax." I often find myself doing the same sort of thing. It's painful to have to convince oneself that no, the writer really is as bad as they make themself out to be.
What did I disagree with? Their complaint that the comma in "Naturally we become timid about making our insights known, in such inhospitable conditions" is unwarranted. The comma, in my opinion, makes the meaning of the sentence less ambiguous. That's not to suggest I think it was well-written - just that removing the comma would make it worse, and that rearranging the sentence entirely would be a better solution.
The other thing, which I disagreed with more strongly (though I can understand their position as newspaper editors), is their complaint that "sometimes, phrases such as “of course” are set off by commas; sometimes, they are not." I don't think this is incorrect behaviour. In my opinion, there are two distinct usages of "of course", and the comma distinguishes which one is being used. One is insistent ("of course I am correct"), and the other is stating the obvious ("of course, I am correct"). I don't think a writer should be limited to just one of these implementations.
Credit to Kevan for the phrase "reads blog, and leaves" and several_bees for digging up the ellipsis hypocrisy amongst other things. [15:23] [5 comments]