I saw a billboard the other day advertising the House on the Rock. If you’ve been there, you know what it’s like. If you haven’t, perhaps you’ll make plans to go. Fans of American Gods know about it, thanks to Neil Gaiman’s interest in it. And yet …
The billboard exclaimed “AMAZING YET INDESCRIBABLE”.
Why use “yet” there? Isn’t it logical, sensible even, that something amazing could also be indescribable? Used as a conjunction, “yet” means “but” or “though.” “Amazing BUT indescribable”? “Amazing THOUGH indescribable”?
WHY? I must have pondered this for a good ten minutes or so after seeing the sign.
I still don’t have a good answer.
Earlier this morning I had reason to look for this post from December, 2016, in which I talked about dialogue and reactions. In it, I said I’d be writing another one “soon(ish)” about when dialogue needs to start on a new line.
It’s soon(ish) now. (Hey, it hasn’t been a year yet. That has to count for something, right?)
I’m still seeing the thing that caused me to say this post was needed. No surprise there; the way teachers address dialogue in standard English classes (from, let’s say, middle school on through college) is sorely lacking in nuance and clarity, from my experience. They drill this information into students’ heads: “Always begin dialogue on a new line.” The missing part is “from a new speaker.” The way dialogue appears on the page is a cue to the readers about who’s talking. Every new line indicates a change of speaker.
At least that’s how it’s supposed to work. Continue reading “Formatting dialogue: when do you need a new line?”
This post has been banging around in my head for a few days. I’m going to try again to get it out of my gray matter and into pixel form so I can stop thinking about it.
Perhaps I’m a bad editor, but I refuse to read the local papers’ columns by “grammar experts.” (When I say “local,” I mean local to anywhere; the tiny burg I live in has little more than a broadsheet filled with want ads, for-sale/giveaway ads, and minutes of the local school board and PTO meetings. However, the power of the internet lets me access papers from all around the country. But I digress.) Why don’t I read them? Continue reading “On peeververein and the burnishing of credentials”
I bumped into an errant indefinite article a short while ago, and decided I’d tweet a link to the blog post I’d certainly written about such things.
Except there was no blog post. There was only a G+ post from 2015.
Now it’s a blog post.
I wrote about the concept of notional concord here. Refresh your memory if you like before reading farther. I’ll wait.
All right. I just encountered the following.
“Each of these disparate images have their own story […]”
The problem is that phrase “of these disparate images.” Without that, we know that “each” implies a singular thing, one item, and therefore takes a singular verb. However, as soon as we put a phrase after it that contains a plural noun, things get complicated. The MWDEU invokes Copperud and says that “notional agreement appears to be gaining ground over grammatical agreement.” Continue reading “Notional concord redux”
I have an inordinate fondness for–some might say obsession with–intrusions.
Not physical ones. I don’t get into breaking down doors or smashing windows. I’m not talking B&E here. I mean written ones, like the one in the first sentence in this post. That clause in the parentheses is an intrusion. Why did I choose em dashes over parentheses? Continue reading “Intrusions: ems or parens?”
Let’s talk about question marks for a little bit. (Okay, more accurately I’ll write and you can read.)
I’ll bet you learned in school that you put a question mark at the end of an interrogative sentence. Take a look at the title of this post. Is that really a question? Is it asking a question? Continue reading “He wondered if he was right?”