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Posts tagged grammar

Virtual Unreality looks virtually imbecilic from the cover on in
July 4, 2014 | 2:29 pm

Virtual UnrealityThis is a book non-review, because it's in large part a review of a book cover. And I apologize unreservedly to any genuine worth in the contents that I may have traduced - but I won't hold my breath. Because wouldn't life be wonderful if every book cover in the world, physical or digital, told you unerringly that its contents were crap?  Plus, if you're going to try to stoke a moral panic, you'd better make sure you get it right from the off, or you're likely to wind up looking virtually ridiculous. I is a writer. I tries to be...

‘Air quotes,’ ‘scare quotes’ … and now ‘dick quotes’?
June 17, 2013 | 11:40 am

scare quotesIn a movie, a character can use "air quotes" to punctuate his or her lines, as has been done countless times in dozens of films. TV sitcoms and comedy shows use "air quotes" with abandon as well. Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show" uses both air quotes and scare quotes, but he refers to the latter as ''dick quotes''—and he'll have to explain that one! But how to perform an "air quote" in print, in a newspaper article or a blog post online? Well, the body language is a bit different, and one uses a keyboard rather than one's outstretched fingers...

Does epidemic of ‘scare quotes’ threaten a civil society?
June 16, 2013 | 2:22 pm

scare quotesIn the long run-up to the last American presidential election, an epidemic of so-called "scare quotes" almost turned political punditry and commentary by those on the left and right into a mockery of democracy and liberty. It's happening still now with news commentaries and op-eds on both sides of the fence about abortion issues, the NSA brouhaha and gun control, among other things. I feel that the epidemic of scare quotes not only threatens to infect and undermine the entire political process of this country, but it is also invading the religious realm as well. Maybe we should stop the excessive...

When will Americans finally start lowercasing ‘internet’?
June 11, 2013 | 11:47 am

InternetBy Tony Long and Dan Bloom Back in 2004, [Tony Long] told his readers at Wired News that "effective with this sentence, [our website] will no longer capitalize the first letter 'I' in internet." In that very same note, he also informed them that "at the same time, Web becomes web and Net becomes net." Why did Long go out on a limb in 2004 to lowercase ''internet''? The simple answer is because then—same as now, in 2013—there was no earthly reason to capitalize the word any longer. True believers, of course, are fond of capitalizing words, whether they be marketers or political junkies...

The 5 Steps of Intelligent Proofreading
December 21, 2012 | 10:07 pm

Over the years I’ve scanned and OCR’ed many printed books into electronic form for Gutenberg Australia—most of the Edgar Wallace collection there is my work, for instance—and during that time it’s become clear that not all typos are equal. After awhile, in fact, it became possible for me to divide typos into categories, as follows: Category 1: Typos due to English orthography Some letter sequences in English serif text happen to resemble others. The sequence ‘of her’, for instance, looks very much like ‘other’, and ‘thing’ looks very much like ‘tiling’. Every second or third book I scanned had these mistakes in it...

Is desktop publishing eroding grammar and spelling?
May 7, 2011 | 5:48 pm

img_0888English teachers and other grammarians have long complained about the prevalence of texting abbreviations causing a corruption in the grammar of our youth. But I think there may be a more pressing new-media threat to proper grammar: desktop publishing. Think about it. In the old days, when you wanted to put a “No admittance” or “Authorized personnel only” sign up, you had to pay a fairly large sum of money to have it fabricated. When you were paying that much money, and getting a permanent artifact in return, you (and the artifact makers) would make damned sure that everything...

Amazon self-publishing writer incites epic grammar flamewar
April 1, 2011 | 2:00 am

howettSome self-publishing authors just have way-too-thin skin. Melville House Publishing’s “Moby Lives” blog and Salon Magazine report on Amazon self-publishing writer Jacqueline Howett who took offense to an otherwise positive review calling into question her spelling and grammar talents—to the tune of inciting and taking part in a 400-post flamewar, which eventually led to a rash of readers posting one-star reviews of the book in question. It doesn’t seem to be very professional behavior—but on the other hand, it’s resulted in her book getting blogged about in a number of high-profile sites, and undoubtedly many people who would otherwise...

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