Friday, 2 July 2004

Serial comma killer?

"Punctuation / punc, punc, punc, punctuation / they are the little dots that use their influence / to help a sentence make more sense." (from the Electric Company, I think. 30% of my mind seems to comprise lyrics to songs I learnt when I was a kid.)
Here's an amusing article on the battle between Lynne Truss and Louis Menand on punctuation. Mmm. Sometimes I want to be a copyeditor. Or a copy editor, depending on house style. :)

My own take on New Yorker house style: I like its pluralisation of "CD" as "CDs" unlike the New York Times' "CD's", which I abhor. I like the use of the serial comma, which is more common in American English but has Fowler's stamp of approval. The umlaut over repeated vowels (as in "coöperation") is somewhat pretentious, but bearable. What really gets to me about the New Yorker's English usage is the use of "insure" for cases where "ensure" should do. I know, I know, in American English the two are supposedly interchangeable, but I'm a stickler on this.




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