gnomi: (kitty)
Early interactions:
Beta: I think it might work better if you rearrange this and do this and change this. What do you think?

Later interactions:
Beta: Change this. You know I'm right.
gnomi: (correct_grammar (elfgirl))
Their online Q&A is beautifully snarky:

Q. Hello, Wise Ones. If you were me, how would you pluralize B-26? B-26es? B-26s? (Not, I’m pretty sure, B-26’s.) None of them look right to me.

A. If we were you, of course, none of them would look right. But since we are CMOS, “B-26s” looks just fine. Please see CMOS 9.54.

Q. Are periods always used with the initials of a person’s name? This is for use not with running text, but rather on a memorial on a university campus. And the donor sees no value in the use of periods.

A. The donor is usually right. Chicago style does require periods after name initials, but display type is not bound by such rules.

Q. Apparently from now on the ellipsis has been banned. Which punctuation marks can take its place?

A. Hmm. Is this a state or local ordinance? (Surely not federal—Congress would never cooperate on that.) Unless we missed a major memo, I’m confident that you can carry on eliding.
gnomi: (can't_touch_this)
May vs. Might. I know that traditionally there are differences between the intensity of the uncertainty (may is less uncertain than might, if I recall correctly). However, technical writers tend to avoid using "may" in documentation because of the possible confusion between "may" (possibly) and "may" (allowed) in (for example) the construct "you may [whatever the possible choice is]." In many cases, I replace "may" with "can." However, when I am writing about a possibility, I often replace "may" with "might" (as in, "You might need to open the window before throwing your computer out of it") if the sentence is not cleanly recastable (recasting the sentence above results in "Open any closed windows before throwing your computer through them"). But when I do find myself substituting "might," I wonder if I'm overstating the uncertainty.
gnomi: (correct_grammar (elfgirl))
...she sent me this link, the text of which is below:


SEVEN BAR JOKES
INVOLVING GRAMMAR
AND PUNCTUATION.


BY ERIC K. AULD


- - - -

1. A comma splice walks into a bar, it has a drink and then leaves.

2. A dangling modifier walks into a bar. After finishing a drink, the bartender asks it to leave.

3. A question mark walks into a bar?

4. Two quotation marks “walk into” a bar.

5. A gerund and an infinitive walk into a bar, drinking to drink.

6. The bar was walked into by the passive voice.

7. Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They drink. They leave.
gnomi: (Default)
[Poll #1418136]
gnomi: (practice_acts_grammar (commodorified))
I keep having to correct this, so I'm putting it here instead of stabbing my Purple Pen of Doom through my lovely 22" flat-screen monitor.

The Subjective Case

-- A penguin rang the doorbell.

-- Bob asked me who rang the doorbell.

The Objective Case

-- I gave a herring to the penguin.
-- It was the penguin to whom I gave the fish.

Remember (reposting a joke I first posted in January 2008):

Knock knock.

Who's there?

Objective case.

Objective case who?

*No*! Objective case "whom"!
gnomi: (practice_acts_grammar (commodorified))
[Poll #1235751]

*Note: I always thought it was "he'll furnish the spot," but online lyrics databases seem to be split between "he'll furnish the spot" and "his firm is the spot," so I went with the one that popped up more.
gnomi: (Default)
-- BSG fans, should I be worried that I woke up this morning with the Jimi Hendrix version of "All Along the Watchtower" playing in my head?

-- I'm mostly making my own fun after work this week, because [personal profile] mabfan is working on a project for his class, and it's eating all of his available evenings and likely a decent chunk of the weekend. So far, my fun seems to be a combination of working on various freelance projects and getting together with friends.

-- I knit my way through the non-Shabbat portions of Readercon and at the end had a 99% done sock. I have since finished that sock and cast on the next one. I spent some time sitting on a chair at the doorway of the dealers' room on Friday, knitting away as [personal profile] mabfan chatted with some folks, and people kept stopping to ask me what I was working on or (if they were knitters themselves) what yarn I was using.

-- Learned while knitting in the dealers' room on Friday: If you are sitting in the doorway of the dealers' room, people will think you want to see their badges.

-- Going back to knitting, I'm up to the final rows of the back of the cardigan sweater I'm currently working on, and I have to say that a 264-stitch row takes forever to knit, even if you're a decently-fast knitter. I'm not going to be sad when I hit the end of this section.

-- The headphones I use at work are being bizarre. If I move them past a specific point along the tightness spectrum (tight against my head, I mean) to where they're most comfortable, the right ear goes dead. Considering these were relatively inexpensive headphones from Radio Snack Shack, I figure that the 3+ years I've gotten out of them is a good run. I may have to invest in another relatively inexpensive set soon, however.
gnomi: (bankrupt_kitty (lanning))
-- Had guests for both meals on Shabbat. Was much fun. People ate lots. We still have lots and lots of baked ziti left (because I made two pans, lest we not have enough food).

-- Am going to make another pot of corn chowder tonight, for eating the rest of the week. No particular reason other than it's tasty and we like it.

-- To ponder: does corn bread go with corn chowder, or is it too much corn all in one place.

-- Note: chocolate carrot cake makes excellent cupcakes. Also note: having folks frost their own (bringing the container of cream cheese frosting to the table) is an excellent idea all around. And it prompts people to randomly eat the frosting. Further note: making the frosting in a Gladware container was good decision.

-- Watched "The Specials" on Saturday night, borrowed from [personal profile] xiphias and [personal profile] cheshyre. Was cute movie. Still liked "Mystery Men" better.

-- Sunday, saw "Iron Man." Highly recommended. If you go, do stay through the credits. It's worth it. Trust me.

-- Sunday afternoon spent mostly editing. Got lots done, still some to finish up.

-- Now back in office. Cannot type "None" without almost typing "Nomi." Fingers clearly trained.

YALP!

Apr. 14th, 2008 04:03 pm
gnomi: (grammar_crisis_room (wanderingbastet ))
[Poll #1171059]
gnomi: (practice_acts_grammar (commodorified))
1. *No* editor is perfect. Everyone misses things. The human brain corrects for what one expects to see, which isn't always what one *does* see.

For example: Many people misread the following, even when they're asked to read it aloud
He sat on the
the table.

The general rule I was taught is that every editorial pass catches 50% of the remaining errors. It's an asymptotic relationship between the number of editorial passes and the number of remaining errors. So, yes. The more editorial passes that a manuscript goes through, the fewer errors remain. However, that also means that, regardless of how good an editor you are or how good an editor you have, no manuscript will result in a flawless final publication. This applies to both fiction and nonfiction.

2. Related to the above: When you receive the final copy of the published text, invariably you (whether you are the editor or the writer) will open to the page that has the most glaring error that was not caught.

3. A good number of editorial decisions on grammar come down to house style. There are a number of grammatical "rules" that are, simply, style choices. Use of the Oxford comma (I'm for), allowing conjunctions at the beginning of sentences (I'm wishy-washy, depending on context), and hyphenation of prefixes or suffixes (I'm usually against, unless it disambiguates or clarifies) (that said, I stand firm on the hyphen in "e-mail") are *all* style issues. Different houses do it differently, and we freelancers strive to remember which house does things which way (house style guides are your friend).

4. The editor and the writer are, in the best-case scenario, partners in any given project. If there are things we don't know about, we can't watch out for them, so we depend on the writer to clue us in. By the same token, we owe it to the writer to clarify and confirm if we're confused.
gnomi: (writer (celli))
When given the opportunity, I can get quite rambly on the process of writing in general and my writing process specifically. I can easily get equally rambly on the editing process (both in general and my own).

This subtracts from actual writing time.

I need to remember the wise words of [personal profile] cbpotts: "No process for you!"
gnomi: (practice_acts_grammar (commodorified))
Today, "lay" vs. "lie."

Lay always takes an object. Lie never does. Thus:

I am tired and I am carrying a chicken. Suddenly, I spot a bed.

Present tense:

Lie: I lie on the bed.

Lay: I lay the chicken on the bed.

Past tense:

Lie: I lay on the bed.

Lay: I laid the chicken on the bed.

Past participle:

Lie: I have lain on the bed.

Lay: I have laid the chicken on the bed.

Present participle:

Lie: I am lying on the bed.

Lay: I am laying the chicken on the bed.
gnomi: (hypotamoose)
I've picked up a bunch of new readers round these parts recently, so I figured it was about time I did a "General Guide to the [personal profile] gnomiverse" type of post. I'm not sure I've ever done one of these before, so some of the folks who have been around here for a long time might find stuff they didn't know, either (though I'm not sure).

Things One Should Know About [personal profile] gnomi:
-- I'm originally from Burlington, Massachusetts.
-- I have the following relatives that hang out on LJ with varying levels of regularity: [personal profile] mabfan (my husband), [profile] lcmlc (my mother), [profile] beckyfeld (my sister), and [personal profile] osewalrus (my brother-in-law, married to [profile] beckyfeld)
-- There are folks on my friends list who I have known since elementary school or even before.
-- I am a word nerd and an inveterate punster. I wrangle words professionally, both as a technical writer and as a freelance editor.
-- I'm an Orthodox Jew, and I have been known to yammer on about obscure Jewish topics here.
-- I knit (a lot), I sew (less than I used to, but still a decent amount), and I'm getting into beading.
-- I have an inexplicable love of penguins.
-- I have a standing policy on icons in comments.
-- My life is one long musical cue. Anything and everything is a prompt for me to break out in song (or, as it manifests itself here periodically, in random lyrics), and I'm hugely susceptible to earworms. (not to be confused with ear mites, to which Yofi, the cat in my default icon, was susceptible.)

Recurring Features in the [personal profile] gnomiverse:

-- "No, Really, We Talk Like This" (oddball conversations, usually between [personal profile] mabfan and me)
-- Language-related polls
-- Menu planning (usually for Shabbat (the Sabbath) or Jewish holidays)
-- Rambly Bits (catchall posts of stuff I've been thinking about that don't merit their own posts)

As a couple of people have pointed out, "Narf" is always an appropriate response to a question I ask.
gnomi: (oxford_comma (yin_again))
When I'm clarifying a bit of style or punctuation or whatever, I tend to give an example sentence, so that the rule is not provided in a vacuum. This is true of most style guides: an example of correct (or common incorrect) usage is usually provided. But most example sentences tend to be dry. I have a different take on it... I don't know what it is, but I love writing example sentences. For example:

When showing the varying uses of em-dashes:

Bob -- the guy with the chicken on his head -- spoke first.

"Bob, why are you--" Mark started to ask, cutting himself off when the chicken took flight.


On ellipses:

"Bob... why is there a chicken on your head?"

"The chicken belongs to Bob... He wears it on his head."


On periods, commas, semicolons, question marks, and quotation marks:

Bob said, "The moose isn't going to the Red Sox' victory rally."

Susan repeated, "Bob said, 'The moose isn't going to the Red Sox' victory rally.'"

Did Bob say, "The Dropkick Murphys don't expect moose at the rally"?

Susan asked, "Why don't moose like the Dropkick Murphys?"

"Bob saw a moose," Susan said. "It was going to the Depeche Mode concert."

Jason said, "Moose are fond of 80s music"; he said it's true of antelopes, too.
gnomi: (grammar_crisis_room (wanderingbastet ))
[Poll #1070179]
gnomi: (vote_for_pluto (shoegal-icons))
-- It's so weird being in the office on a Thursday. I'm just saying.

-- I'm very bad at not working while eating lunch at my desk. I have to get better about that.

-- Apples in New England in the fall are wonderful. ::CRUNCH::

-- This weekend we've got a problem: we've got baseball in Boston in October, but it's the week of Parshat Noach (the week in which we read the Torah portion about the story of Noah), and it almost always rains for Parshat Noach.

-- At Young Israel on Yom Kippur, people were asking me, "So... how's your planet?" It's been a year since the article, but people still ask.

-- Note to chick-what-packed-our-leftovers: writing "chicken" on the top of the carryout container as an identifier of the contents is not so helpful when both of us had chicken leftovers.

-- I work well with deadlines. Really I do. But do I really need *three* between 12 October and 24 October? I think not. And that's just my work-work deadlines. Freelance deadlines are an entirely different animal altogether ("They're an entirely different animal.")

-- In the end, I *did* end up getting the Nine action figure. He's standing next to Ten, with Jack on Ten's other side (and, as it happens, Daniel Jackson standing behind them holding a zat gun).

-- What does it mean when someone writes something one way in a manuscript and then votes the opposite way in my polls?

-- I'm knitting another Dalek. This one will be beige with black Dalek bumps.

-- Is a Dalek bump anything like the Colbert bump?

-- I'm pondering doing an Erev Shabbat Jewish Blogging post about the difference between work and melacha (the categories of "work" disallowed on Shabbat).

YALP!

Oct. 8th, 2007 02:32 pm
gnomi: (oxford_comma (yin_again))
[Poll #1067958]
gnomi: (practice_acts_grammar (commodorified))
Don't worry -- you don't have to quit the English language. Doubles are the only ones you need in that situation.

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