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Bravo, MetaFilter Grammar Posse!
August 6, 2002 8:48 AM   Subscribe

Bravo, MetaFilter Grammar Posse! Following this memorable thread, Lauren Weiner, the editor of much esteemed Knuckerap, has kind words for those of us who contributed to it. [Embarrassingly, Ms. Weiner seems to think Matt Haughey's one and only MetaFilter is my web site. I'm honoured, so do please take your time before letting her know it ain't so. ;) ]
posted by MiguelCardoso (45 comments total)

 
dearest miguel,

you *really* need to get out more. and i mean that with nothing but respect.

love,

me.
posted by jcterminal at 8:50 AM on August 6, 2002


False attribution aside, that's really fucking cool.
posted by ColdChef at 8:56 AM on August 6, 2002


Hee hee. I love MetaFilter.

And congratulations, Miguel.

(Did I mention I love MetaFilter?)
posted by Marquis at 8:59 AM on August 6, 2002


Isn't MetaTalk Miguel's site? :)
posted by mkelley at 9:02 AM on August 6, 2002


Over at Miguel Cardoso's website,

I'm weepy over here.
posted by adampsyche at 9:09 AM on August 6, 2002


"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness...in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only".
posted by Mack Twain at 9:17 AM on August 6, 2002


"Over at Miguel Cardoso's website,"

I fucking warned you people...... But did you listen? No. And now it's too late.
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:17 AM on August 6, 2002


Before everybody starts taking the mickey, I'd like to state that I did e-mail Ms.Weiner (on July 12) to tell her I wasn't the owner of MetaFilter. Here's the complete correspondence, in reverse order:

Dear Lauren, Thanks for your note. I look forward to reading your considered opinion. I'm only one of MetaFilter's many members, by the way. But it's up again and you should find the discussion here http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/18396. All the best from Lisbon!
Miguel Esteves Cardoso

Dear Miguel,
I got a look at the great discussion you had going on the
Wheatcroft sentence. I want to draw upon it to update
knucklerap.com. Ran into some trouble trying to call it up today. I hope you are back up soon. (If there is an alternate way to get to it, please advise.)
Regards, Lauren Weiner

Dear Editor,
You might be interested to know there's an interesting discussion going on over at the MetaFilter community weblog regarding a sentence recently featured in your highly amusing web site. Here's the appropriate link:
http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/18396.
Warm regards - and keep up the good work!
Miguel Esteves Cardoso

posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:25 AM on August 6, 2002


It's not Miggy's site.... he's squatting!

And the bailliffs have been called... (",)
posted by dash_slot- at 9:44 AM on August 6, 2002


Oh come on. Not to be a wet blanket or anything, but surely someone must want to discuss the solution chosen by Knucklerap's editor or the users' comments she singled out.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:50 AM on August 6, 2002


Good Title:
"Separating Wheatcroft from chaff "
posted by ColdChef at 9:51 AM on August 6, 2002


but surely someone must want to discuss the solution chosen by Knucklerap's editor or the users' comments she singled out.

That would be true, Miguel, if you didn't blatantly point out the fact that the author of said link mistook you for the owner of MetaFilter...which, BTW, is quite the interesting occurrence, considering the fact that Matt's name is very clearly labelled in several locations on this site. Makes me wonder if this accident was really an accident at all...
posted by BlueTrain at 9:54 AM on August 6, 2002


Matt has just pointed out this should have been posted to MetaTalk. I've thought it over and I agree with him. Apologies all round.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:01 AM on August 6, 2002


BlueTrain: yeah and I also killed JFK.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:03 AM on August 6, 2002


Oh, let's give Miguel a break on this, please. Of course she should post up a correction too, and I'm sure someone will email her.

As to the sentence, I think it should've been broken up, but the juv3nal and nicwolff versions were about the best you could do to make sense of it and keep it whole.
posted by lackutrol at 10:04 AM on August 6, 2002


That would be true, Miguel, if you didn't blatantly point out the fact that the author of said link mistook you for the owner of MetaFilter

Oh, come on... if he hadn't pointed it out, someone would accuse him of thinking MetaFilter really does belong to him.

Then again --

Dear Lauren... I'm only one of MetaFilter's many members, by the way.

Okay, Miguel, but you still didn't tell her it wasn't your website. :-)
posted by Tin Man at 10:05 AM on August 6, 2002


(I'm kidding on that last part, by the way.)
posted by Tin Man at 10:06 AM on August 6, 2002


Tin Man: It's a good thing I did e-mail her. Otherwise it would have been Slaughter on Tenth Avenue. I thought there was a misunderstanding from the sentence "I hope you are back up soon" (my emphasis). I figured she probably thought I had something - anything at all - to do with MetaFilter or the server change.

I never imagined she'd think it was my web site. I only read the MetaFilter mention in Knucklerap today. I've been checking every two days and had come to the conclusion Ms.Weiner had given up. Good thing she didn't, though.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:19 AM on August 6, 2002


Miguel, since the post is here, might as well continue discussing it.

The original sentence was bloody awful, did the editor's fall asleep at the wheel?
posted by mathowie at 10:19 AM on August 6, 2002


Strike that apostrophe!
posted by nicwolff at 10:29 AM on August 6, 2002


The original sentence was bloody awful, did the editor's fall asleep at the wheel?

Speaking of the grammar posse, I get all bent out of shape when people misuse apostrophes. In this case, "editor's" should not have an apostrophe, since it's a simple plural and not a possessive. This usage is similar to the grocers' plural, which has that name because, apparently, at one time grocers were notorious for using the apostrophe to indicate plurality on their produce signs.

Let it stop here and now.
posted by anapestic at 10:31 AM on August 6, 2002


And maybe change the comma to a semi-colon. Or seperate into two different sentences.
posted by ODiV at 10:32 AM on August 6, 2002


Um, I mean, "What nicwolff said."
posted by anapestic at 10:33 AM on August 6, 2002


The original sentence was bloody awful, did the editor's fall asleep at the wheel?

The editor of The Spectator is Boris Johnson, a quite brilliant writer. Though it is true that, since he's become a Conservative MP, The Spectator has become sloppier than it ever was. Can the two events be connected, I wonder? Tee hee...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:36 AM on August 6, 2002


did the editor's fall asleep at the wheel?

Maybe they'd been out partying with Tad Allagash the night before?
posted by soundofsuburbia at 10:39 AM on August 6, 2002


I get all bent out of shape when people misuse apostrophes

You're not the only one -- check out the Apostrophe Protection Society.

Also an old New York Times article.
posted by Tin Man at 10:40 AM on August 6, 2002


Hey, talk about coincidences! Apart from being an excellent writer too, Lauren Weiner is (or was) the editor for Republican Senator Jon Kyl. Perhaps there is a connection between conservatism and good grammar. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:41 AM on August 6, 2002


I join you in your jihad, anapestic. And all other jihad's of yours.

*sorry, I couldn't resist*
posted by adampsyche at 10:41 AM on August 6, 2002


did the editor's fall asleep at the wheel?

No, I believe his fall remained awake throughout the entire drive.
posted by pardonyou? at 10:44 AM on August 6, 2002


Sorry, couldn't resist, in this thread.

Theodore Bernstein's great "Winners & Sinners" memos, which he posted when he was a managing editor at the New York Times and which are collected in The Careful Writer, had a column called "Zzzzz..." which reported on terrible lapses by Times editors. Even the great ones take the occasional nap...
posted by nicwolff at 10:50 AM on August 6, 2002


dammit dammit dammit! Why couldn't fishfucker have come up with the best alternative? That would've been too cool. Can't you just see it?

The thread contains many excellent suggestions as to what went wrong and how to fix it. The most spectacular rewrite, for our money, is the one by "rory" "fishfucker":
posted by Ufez Jones at 11:39 AM on August 6, 2002




Since it's the topic du jour, and since I'm tickled that my own contributions (which echoed others she credits, albeit first) were seemingly neglected, I'd like to engage in a wee bit of shadenfreude and observe that the analysis she cites -- "The problem is that the conjunction 'as well as' introduces a compound object phrase which is not parallel. Either both verbs [serve and witness] ought to be gerunds, or both ought to be infinitives" -- isn't quite correct.

Because, alas, rewriting the sentence to make both verbs gerunds, so that it read "This in turn allowed him, as well as serving bravely, witnessing the events ... " just wouldn't fly, I do believe. 'Twould seem there are yet other, unexplained forces at work here! I wonder what they could be....

With luck, she'll get it right eventually. ;)
posted by mattpfeff at 11:54 AM on August 6, 2002


Mattpfeff, I think the poster in question, vraxoin, was probably thinking of a construction along the lines of "...serving bravely and witnessing the events...".
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:59 AM on August 6, 2002


You mean, " ... allowed him serving bravely and witnessing the events ... " ??

One should always attempt the most generous interpretation, to be sure, but here even that won't help, except with additional reworking (unmentioned in the original remark) just to keep the sentence together.

[You could change it to, "This allowed, as well as his serving bravely, his witnessing the events ... " -- which is grammatical, but ugly, and barely an improvement.]
posted by mattpfeff at 12:41 PM on August 6, 2002


Though it is true that, since he's become a Conservative MP, The Spectator has become sloppier than it ever was. Can the two events be connected, I wonder? Tee hee...

I think it's more to do with his extracurriculars with Petsy Wyatt, Miguel.
posted by riviera at 12:52 PM on August 6, 2002


I'm just curious: do many people publicize their MeFi threads by writing to the linked site to tell them about it? Or is that just a Miguel thing?

And please feel free to correct my grammar while you're at it; I can't help but feel I've got one too many subordinate clauses in there, and I can't think of a concise noun for the recipient of a link: the linkee? the linked?
posted by ook at 12:55 PM on August 6, 2002


you *really* need to get out more.

Would this qualify?
posted by fatbaq at 1:22 PM on August 6, 2002


There's a clear, elegant rewrite by headspace, added today, on the old thread.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:21 PM on August 6, 2002


Speaking of bad grammar, it must of been a tear from his eye that made Bruce Springsteen use bad English on his latest release.
posted by HTuttle at 4:43 PM on August 6, 2002


Speaking of bad grammar, it must of been a tear from his eye that made Bruce Springsteen use bad English on his latest release.

Surely you mean "it must have been a tear...."
posted by anapestic at 7:11 PM on August 6, 2002


Her grammar gets an A. Her reading comprehension gets an F. We're looking at a C student here. Go back to pedantville Lauren.
posted by skallas at 9:14 PM on August 6, 2002


Knucklerap: there are standards, you know.


Hahahahahahaha.
posted by skallas at 9:16 PM on August 6, 2002


I was still the first to point out the problem with the passive voice, and to combat it with the use of an appositive. Ah, glory passes close by once again.
posted by dhartung at 11:20 PM on August 6, 2002


headspace's rewrite that Miguel likes: This gave him him the opportunity to both serve in the trenches on the Aragon front, and later, to witness the events in Barcelona when fighting broke out around the telephone exchange.

Yikes, no. I'm not a stickler for the unsplit infinitive, but "to both serve" is nasty. Anyway, "...to both serve..., and later, to..." doesn't work at all, since 1. the "to" outside the "both" fork means you don't need another "to" in the child process, and 2. the "and" has to be in the same scope as the "both" so the comma has to come after it: "...and, later, to...".

(Sorry, my formal education in grammar was at an excellent American high school in the '80s, which is to say it stank, so I use UNIX programming terminology instead.)

Instead: "This gave him him the opportunity both to serve in the trenches on the Aragon front and, later, to witness the events in Barcelona when fighting broke out around the telephone exchange."
posted by nicwolff at 7:44 AM on August 9, 2002


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