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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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dating guide for the grammatically inclined
children of dune - leto 1
While working on editing the fic that will never finish being beta'ed (seriously. I think this one wont' be posted until the new millennium. Not exaggerating) and controlling the urge to add in a random vampire attack (this is hard. I like vampires. I like fighting. You see where this could go) I decided to count instances of punctuation.

...please, please do not judge me.


207 semicolons
33 colons
559 -- (dashes?)EM DASHES THANK YOU jengrrl and amireal
5513 commas
5383 periods
3894 quotation marks
2820 apotrophes

Okay, before there is an unfriending orgy because it's officially likely I'll end up on a talk show in twenty years talking about how the letters dance, let me explain.

When eleveninches was betaing "The Principle of Exclusion", she had a special note for me about the -- (dashes? God I should know this) em dashes. It was a special capitalized note. It might have been sparkling to get my attention. To wit, stop it with the dashes em dashes. So I viewed the advice, found it good, and went to discover what crimes I could commit against some other form of punctuation.

I discovered the semi-colon.

Semis and I have never been close. It's just not that kind of relationship, you know? We talk sometimes, but it's stilted. They don't understand me. I don't understand them. We had some arguments--you know how it goes. Dashes (fuck it, I'll call them that until someoen corrects me) Em dashes and I have been OTP for years. We're practically *married*. I named a set of freckles after him, you know? We're happy. But I kept thinking, I'm too young to settle down. I need to branch out. Check out the other punctuation in the sea.

So now I do this thing where I think, let's semicolon this! Or colon it! And look up the official grammar guide! (I have never done this in my life.) I suppose this is kind of the grammatical version of reading How To Get a Boyfriend or something. We're still not sure we understand each other, but we do have fun.

I just don't know how long this relationship will last, really.

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(Deleted comment)
Do you meen hyphens? Because dashes are accurate too. Personaly, I was always partial to ellipses...

Wow. *Waits for z_rayne to come in and then faint because I got that right*

*laugh* I abuse them freely! And yet, when I beta I totally send people to the wikipedia page on em dashes, en dashes, hyphens, and other annoying variants.

One day I will understand semicolons, though. One day! *g*

We're still working on our issues. *thoughtful* Maybe a nice lit prof could give us counseling?

As many English profs and pro-writers as there are in fandom, I'm sure someone could do a remedial punctuation post for us. *g*

Wikipedia has another post about the semicolon here, if that helps any.

IMO, though, the first case quoted in that article feels very jarring.

So take that as you will. :)

Thanks, I've read that before but I wish there were better examples for transitional phrases. Long compound sentences get complicated. (I actually ordered a copy of Eats, Shoots & Leaves last week -- maybe I'll learn something! :P)

And yet you don't even mention parentheses (and that despite using them). Are they the punctuation that dare not speak its name?

Oh honey, let me tell you; semi-colons, if nurtured carefully, can take a hell of a lot of guesswork out of punctuation. I used to have the same problem - honestly, for more years than some of my flistians have been alive - with the whole dash/semi-colon/colon thing. (I regularly pointed to Emily Dickenson as my defense in my mad em-dash ways, but people kept pointing out she was a hermit lady and probably a few kits short of a caboodle. ::sigh::) Bane of my writerly existence, which could explain the whole not writing for enjoyment regularly for oh, say, nearly 20 years. Ahem. Except for the odd break-up poem of angst.

And yeah, now I'm showing off a little.

(Watch me still have it wrong and still not know it!!!)

My husband buys me books like the Transitive Vampire, which I read for fun and pick up not one whit of grammarial lore. ::shrugs:: Well, not any I'm aware of picking up.

Seriously, you'll find a style of punctuation (I insist there can be one, comparing it to liking reggae rhythms over, say, marching band stuff) and settle down and have many years of happiness together, with nary a comma splice between you. ::pets your hair:: Don't worry.

probably a few kits short of a caboodle

I have never heard this phrase before, and I love it.

I just made it up! Yay for sleep deprivation!!!

::beams:: Thanks!

Thank you for this. No, really, I mean it. I just got the edit from hell back for a Stargate SG:1 zine fic. Who knew there were so many interesting uses and non-uses for the comma, the period, the colon and semi-colon. Don't even talk to me about bolding for emphasis (to bold or not to bold... that is the question)

Annie, back to the drawing board again, again

I adore your view of the world. :D these kinds of posts make me very happy.

(sorry, that's not meant to sound stalkerish... I've just decided that I need to de-lurk since I've been reading for ...um...going on at least 18 months. Probably more. And I'm not a stalker, I promise! I don't even live in your country!)

You could always declare yourself a citizen of Britain/Commonwealth. In those countries, the comma splice is a perfectly cromulent thing to do.

(While I use emdashes like Bogart used cigarettes -- I mean a lot of them -- I strive always to use them in pairs, like open and close parens. Avoiding obfuscation is the goal; too many untethered em dashes in a single paragraph and it's possible for the eye to to elide over several important subclauses.)

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