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Thread: Read that again?

  1. #1501
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    In American English, commas always go inside quotation marks.
    OK, I misunderstood the rule then.

    Henceforth deliberately ignored in my writing as being an utterly stupid rule with as little reason to exist as titles in quotation marks in newspapers.
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  2. #1502
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeLeRoyTirebiter View Post
    I know I've mentioned this before, but the teletype machines used in those days also lacked lower-case letters (as did many portable typewriters), yet newspapers weren't printed in ALL CAPS; someone had to add lower-case letters late in the process.
    Establishing upper and lower case is generally pretty straightforward. Frankly, I think the quotation convention makes more sense than the italics convention, though it's essentially about whatever you've become used to.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

    The Leif Ericson Cruiser

  3. #1503
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    I do, as I said, think the italics rule makes a great deal of sense, inasmuch as it actually provides useful information. (Although, alas, not as much anymore, given that no one seems to know or follow it.) It allows you to know something about the work at a glance. A short story is denoted differently, because it is shorter. A TV series is denoted differently, because it is all-encompassing. It's a simple shorthand that I think diminishes the language when it is not followed. I agree that the American convention about commas and periods within quotation marks is a little odd, and I can understand someone who is learning English being disinclined to follow it, though they ought to if they're learning English in an American classroom. Just as I ought to use the British convention somewhere which uses British rules. I would like it if this, too, were standardized, but I don't think any of us could bear the arguments as to whose version should be deemed correct.

    ETA--Oh, and I put two spaces after periods, too, which also makes sense to me. It provides a distinct pause after the sentence, if that makes it clear to anyone else.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  4. #1504
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    I do, as I said, think the italics rule makes a great deal of sense, inasmuch as it actually provides useful information. (Although, alas, not as much anymore, given that no one seems to know or follow it.)
    Is it being used less? I thought it was seeing increased use, because it is so much easier to use italics these days.

    ETA--Oh, and I put two spaces after periods, too, which also makes sense to me. It provides a distinct pause after the sentence, if that makes it clear to anyone else.
    I learned that habit back in the typewriter and early on-line days, but I'm losing it, given that editors these days tend to strip off the second space. Another effect of changing technology.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

    The Leif Ericson Cruiser

  5. #1505
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    ETA--Oh, and I put two spaces after periods, too, which also makes sense to me. It provides a distinct pause after the sentence, if that makes it clear to anyone else.
    This is a typographical thing which aids reading by making sentences visually distinct. This is one thing that e.g. TeX does automatically, and many webbrowsers undo automatically.
    __________________________________________________
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    Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. Benjamin Franklin
    Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails. Clarence Darrow
    A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read. Mark Twain

  6. #1506
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    A lot of word processing programs undo it automatically, too, unless you set it not to.

    And, yes, I'd say italics are being used less often. At least, they're used less often in general writing. Fifty years ago, when people wrote letters, they italicized. (Though, Heaven help us, not as much as the Victorians!) A lot of people I talk to don't even know that the rule is there.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  7. #1507
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    Fifty years ago, when people wrote letters, they italicized.
    What? Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but I've never seen any correspondence where someone switched their handwriting from, say, a Palmer cursive to a chancery italic to indicate titles. I have seen proper titles underlined when handwritten, but that's not "italicized."

  8. #1508
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    I had a really bad word processor once (for a C64 -- man, am I dating myself!) that automatically inserted two spaces after a period. Including periods in decimal numbers. I can't imagine why anyone thought that was a good idea.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  9. #1509
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    Gillian, George,

    I have never seen anyone use italics in a letter, either.

    I'd agree with Van Rijn that italics ought to be far more common
    now in writing by "ordinary people" than in the past, because of
    computer word processing programs, dot matrix printers, and
    high-resolution video displays. Before that, books and magazines
    certainly had italics, you could have a printer use italics on your
    flyer, and you could buy italic press-on lettering. But italicizing
    by hand doesn't sound very practical. Something you might do
    if you take an entire day to write out a letter.


    Trebuchet,

    The Commodore 64 didn't have enough characters per line to
    have room for two spaces after periods! (It had only 25 lines,
    40 characters wide.) The Commodore + 4 was identical in many
    ways to the C64. I had a program for it which was supposed to
    simulate a handheld calculator. I have to assume that the
    programmer was not yet a teenager. When a calculation was
    to be completed, you hit 'Enter'. By typing the letters E-N-T-E-R,
    and then hitting the 'RETURN' key!

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    http://www.FreeMars.org/jeff/

    "I find astronomy very interesting, but I wouldn't if I thought we
    were just going to sit here and look." -- "Van Rijn"

    "The other planets? Well, they just happen to be there, but the
    point of rockets is to explore them!" -- Kai Yeves

  10. #1510
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    C64? Show off. I only had the Commodore Vic 20.

  11. #1511
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spoons View Post
    C64? Show off. I only had the Commodore Vic 20.
    I've had (and still have, stored away somewhere) three different Commodore computers. An Amiga 500, before that a C64, and before that a PET.

    Envy me.

    (Did you know that the Amiga brand is still alive and still being updated?)

  12. #1512
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    Oh, I do envy you for that. I know I had an Amiga somewhere, I picked one up for cheap about 13-15 years ago for music production - they were really great machines for certain narrow purposes.

  13. #1513
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    Various older books of mine refer to "drawing a line of italics," and I do actually write them in longhand myself, though it's kind of just slanty writing. I would also note that style manuals which discuss the subject generally accept underlining as equivalent, which is worth noting at least in part because most people don't seem to do that, either.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  14. #1514
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    Various older books of mine refer to "drawing a line of italics," and I do actually write them in longhand myself, though it's kind of just slanty writing. I would also note that style manuals which discuss the subject generally accept underlining as equivalent, which is worth noting at least in part because most people don't seem to do that, either.
    I didn't say anything about that earlier, but this also gets to the issue of formal versus informal writing. I will always italicize a book title in formal writing, unless it's for a newspaper. But in personal email, I definitely don't. In fact, I avoid all formatting.
    As above, so below

  15. #1515
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    I don't because the formatting for both my e-mail account and my IM program think that, if I italicize one thing, I want everything italicized. I would if I could, though.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  16. #1516
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    I've seen more underlining than italics, and I think that's because it was more practical, though not always easy. Back in the typewriter days, underlining was more feasible than italics on most typewriters, though it was still a bit of a pain (you'd have to backspace, and make sure you put the underline under the right characters). Online, in the ASCII days, it was harder - you'd have to use ^Hs to backspace, counting out the characters to back up, and it wouldn't always display correctly. At least this was pretty easy when handwriting.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

    The Leif Ericson Cruiser

  17. #1517
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    It was possible to underline in plain ASCII???!!! Really???!!!
    I had no idea. Unless you're talking about a word processing
    program-- Wordstar, or Word Perfect, maybe?

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    http://www.FreeMars.org/jeff/

    "I find astronomy very interesting, but I wouldn't if I thought we
    were just going to sit here and look." -- "Van Rijn"

    "The other planets? Well, they just happen to be there, but the
    point of rockets is to explore them!" -- Kai Yeves

  18. #1518
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    I've had (and still have, stored away somewhere) three different Commodore
    computers. An Amiga 500, before that a C64, and before that a PET.
    So, you live on a farm?

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    http://www.FreeMars.org/jeff/

    "I find astronomy very interesting, but I wouldn't if I thought we
    were just going to sit here and look." -- "Van Rijn"

    "The other planets? Well, they just happen to be there, but the
    point of rockets is to explore them!" -- Kai Yeves

  19. #1519
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Root View Post
    It was possible to underline in plain ASCII???!!! Really???!!!
    Yes, sort of, but it was display dependent. Some displays would allow you to overlay characters without erasing the previously displayed one if you used ^H (backspace), so you could use backspace and "_" characters. A big pain, though, and it could only be trusted if you knew what people were using to read the text.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

    The Leif Ericson Cruiser

  20. #1520
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    Ah.... I think I remember seeing that. I probably did something
    roughly similar using a Teletype machine when I was in 8th or
    9th grade.

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    http://www.FreeMars.org/jeff/

    "I find astronomy very interesting, but I wouldn't if I thought we
    were just going to sit here and look." -- "Van Rijn"

    "The other planets? Well, they just happen to be there, but the
    point of rockets is to explore them!" -- Kai Yeves

  21. #1521
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    Another case of TMI in a single sentence.
    Military Surplus Store Sued For Firing Worker Over Seizures
    A Denver-area military surplus store is accused of a firing an employee who suffered epileptic seizures in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act, according to a federal discrimination lawsuit.
    Can somebody tell me what kind of epileptic seizures do not violate the ADA?

  22. #1522
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    Wow. That there's a badly written sentence. It needs to be cut in two, and the first one should start with the information presented last!
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  23. #1523
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    A federal discrimination lawsuit accuses a Denver-area military surplus store of being in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act for firing an employee who suffered epileptic seizures.
    There, fixed without cutting it in two.

    Headline:
    Surplus violates epileptic's rights
    __________________________________________________
    Reductionist and proud of it.

    Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. Benjamin Franklin
    Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails. Clarence Darrow
    A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read. Mark Twain

  24. #1524
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    Military suffering after lawsuit; Federal seizure of a Denver-area employee who accuses a store of being in violation of the Surplus Americans Act.

    . . . what?

  25. #1525
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fazor View Post
    . . . what?
    Nicely mangled
    __________________________________________________
    Reductionist and proud of it.

    Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. Benjamin Franklin
    Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails. Clarence Darrow
    A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read. Mark Twain

  26. #1526
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEOWatcher View Post
    Another case of TMI in a single sentence.
    Military Surplus Store Sued For Firing Worker Over Seizures

    Can somebody tell me what kind of epileptic seizures do not violate the ADA?
    I'd like to know that myself. I'm now a bit more thankful that my meds work well.

  27. #1527
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    More pronouns that apply to more than one noun in the sentence.

    Delta flight experiences extreme turbulence
    Merriman said even with her seatbelt on, she slammed her head into the overhead bin hard enough to put a crack in it.
    Although; since she has a conussion, maybe I am reading that right.

  28. #1528
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    I was expecting Sean to ask why I surmised (in post #1518) that
    he lives on a farm...

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    http://www.FreeMars.org/jeff/

    "I find astronomy very interesting, but I wouldn't if I thought we
    were just going to sit here and look." -- "Van Rijn"

    "The other planets? Well, they just happen to be there, but the
    point of rockets is to explore them!" -- Kai Yeves

  29. #1529
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Root View Post
    I was expecting Sean to ask why I surmised (in post #1518) that
    he lives on a farm...

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    I was embarrassed to admit I didn't get it.

  30. #1530
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    You said:

    I've had (and still have, stored away somewhere) three different
    Commodore computers. An Amiga 500, before that a C64, and
    before that a PET.
    If they were in the basement or attic, you would have said
    "in the basement" or "in the attic", not "somewhere". You have
    a wife and kid, so you don't have any spare closet space. Yet
    you have room to store multiple old computers, including a PET,
    which I think takes up quite a lot of space. That means they
    are either in a farm outbuilding or in what has become a
    "storage room" in a big farmhouse with a lot of rooms.

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    http://www.FreeMars.org/jeff/

    "I find astronomy very interesting, but I wouldn't if I thought we
    were just going to sit here and look." -- "Van Rijn"

    "The other planets? Well, they just happen to be there, but the
    point of rockets is to explore them!" -- Kai Yeves

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