Wednesday, June 16, 2004

language rant 2

I'm tired as hell and probably off to bed in a little bit. Since I can't think of anything else, allow me to get my rant on, with no apologies for repetition of items from the previous rant:

1. It's "lightning" that strikes you, not "lightening." You can say "It's dawn and the sky is lightening" if you want, or speak of "the lightening of burdens."

2. "Definitely," not "definately." And it's "privilege," not "priviledge."

3. Remember my previous rant re: where the period and end quote go in American English? See (1) and (2) above for examples of how we do things in the good ol' U.S. of A.

4. Remember to use commas when addressing someone. It's "Hey, you!" and not, "Hey you!" But be aware of what you're doing, too. It's "Thank God!" and not "Thank, God!" You're not addressing God with that exclamation: you're announcing your God-gratitude to those around you, and doing so through a subjunctive (or possibly imperative!) construction. However, you should write, "Thank you, God!" In that sentence, you're addressing God directly.

[By the way: should one use capitals after a colon? Sources differ. I generally don't, but many magazines and newspapers work from style sheets that command otherwise.]

5. Although I can't stand this, it's actually OK to write either "forgo" or "forego" when you mean "to do without." (I prefer "forgo.") If, however, you're talking about "the preceding thing," then it's "the foregoing thing," not "the forgoing thing."

6. Notice, in (5) above, where the comma is in relation to the end quote. This, too, is how we do it in America. If you're gonna insist on the Brit way, go whole hog and start using more negative constructions like, "Aren't we going, then?" or precious turns of phrase like, "I'm sure I don't know." Also be sure to use single quotes first, then double quotes for quotes-within-quotes, the way the Brits do.

7. "Ambience" and "ambiance" are both OK in English.

8. Remember that "its" is possessive, while "it's" means "it is."

9. Need we rehash the whole "feel bad" thing? "Feel bad," not "feel badly."

10. What the hell happened to "hee hee"? People are too lazy to type the extra "e"? I'm sick of "hehehehe." (That's pure rant, by the way, not something from the Chicago Manual of Style.)

11. It's "mindless drivel," not "mindless dribble."

12. Clinton got it right: "But I say this because the president, by his generous words to Hillary and me today..." --not "to Hillary and I." When pronouns are the objects of prepositions, they're in the objective case, so you should see "me, you, him, her, us, them," not "I, he, she, we, they."

13. One is "unfazed," not "unphased."

14. To repeat from my previous rant: "everyday" is an adjective; "every day" acts as an adverb of time/frequency. I brush my teeth every day; it's an everyday thing to do.

15. If you begin a sentence with "I wonder," you're writing in the declarative mood, so please end with a period, not a question mark. I wonder where she is. I wonder how they did on their SATs.

16. American (and maybe Brit) English is currently in a state of high confusion about when to hyphenate, use compounds, or do something else. Am I online, on line, or on-line? Here's one thing I can tell you: hyphens play more of a role if a given phrase is functioning as an adjective. E.g.: She stared in awe at his twenty-inch dick. Otherwise, it's: His Johnson was twenty inches long.

And that about does me in, folks. I'm too tired even to be annoyed by any of the above.

Except emoticons. I'm always annoyed by emoticons.


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