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The Long and Short of It

Long and short of it continues in part 2 I loved reading the first part of this series and it now has the second part that I have put link to. Long and short of it goes deeper into an important topic: Whether we should have a long sentence or a short one when describing things. I would well go with the long sentence as written by Charles Dickens on his novel Oliver Twist a century ago. But it seems quite a few people prefer short ones! What's your take on this.
posted by susanharper on Dec 2, 2008 - 54 comments

Single link silliness.

The "best" of the internet.
posted by pedstel on Oct 14, 2008 - 44 comments

I can’t believe that posting corrections to comments takes that much time away from real work.

So apostrophree corrects these kinds of errors before people see them, preventing employees from spending time posting corrections and engaging in online flame wars about English usage?
posted by blasdelf on Aug 12, 2008 - 94 comments

Two effect they're effluent capitol.

Confusing Words is a collection of 3210 words that are troublesome to readers and writers. Words are grouped according to the way they are most often confused or misused.
posted by blue_beetle on Aug 11, 2008 - 76 comments

I'M AWSOME

The 10 Greatest Misspelled Tattoos, according to The L Magazine.
posted by beaucoupkevin on Jul 17, 2008 - 71 comments

A dot's as good as a wink.

Who killed the semicolon? Paul Collins fingers a 19th-century culprit; Trevor Butterworth finds an American anitipathy to this troublesome punctuation mark. [previously] [via]
posted by Horace Rumpole on Jun 22, 2008 - 68 comments

I bet they hate Star Trek.

The Grammar Curmudgeon makes up for all of those snarky grammar comments we refrain from posting.
posted by sonic meat machine on Jun 1, 2008 - 31 comments

Errin' USA

Immediately, Herson spotted an offense—a second-floor awning outside a tarot shop that advertised "Energy Stone's." They climbed the stairs to the second floor and approached a middle-age women with a quizzical expression. "We happened to notice the sign for energy stones," Deck said, "and there happens to be an extra apostrophe. 'Stone's' doesn't need the apostrophe."

"And?" she asked, her voice flat with annoyance.

"And we wanted to bring it to your attention," Deck said.


A look inside the daring lives of Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson, vanguards of the Typo Eradication Advancement League.
posted by Rhaomi on May 21, 2008 - 84 comments

Get Your Red Pens Ready.

Zip up that dangling modifier--it's National Grammar Day! Let the ranting begin...
posted by laconic titan on Mar 4, 2008 - 37 comments

Pedants

Pedants; or, you're doing it wrong. [more inside]
posted by frobozz on Sep 29, 2007 - 77 comments

eBay Arctic Ale Ouchy

Man buys Allsop, relists it as Allsopp - proving that on eBay, presentation is everything. via b3ta
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Aug 31, 2007 - 38 comments

Super French Web Sites

Super French Web Sites.
posted by hama7 on Jun 2, 2007 - 31 comments

a fascinating short timely rectangular (due to the CSS box model) white-on-blue American pixel-based educational post (about adjectives)

"The old, mean man" vs. "The mean old man." Here's an aspect of English (and other languages) I've never thought of before. If you're using a string of adjectives, there's a natural order for them to appear in: "opinion :: size :: age :: shape :: color :: origin :: material :: purpose". (Although I find "old, mean," due to it's strange order, sort of striking.) [more info: 1, 2, 3]
posted by grumblebee on May 19, 2007 - 91 comments

"Where's the 'T' at?" she asked.

The caferteria had garbage an all tables. At my middle school in Staten Island, thought the dean, this cannot stand. So he sent home a letter.
posted by staggernation on May 3, 2007 - 109 comments

A CAPTCHA for Internet Access

A CAPTCHA to weed out certain potential users of the internet.
posted by exogenous on Apr 4, 2007 - 76 comments

a grammar nazi's punctuation blues

Apostrophes, apostrophes, more apostrophes. Yet more apostrophes. They're "everywhere". It's grammar hell - literally!
posted by progosk on Jan 18, 2007 - 88 comments

British dialectical prescriptivism from the voice of Today

John Humphrys is a militant grammarian: "We all care about language. Your concern may be different from the young hoodie's." On the other hand, he may have a point: "The simple fact is we cannot afford to be careless with our language, because if we are careless with our language then we are careless with our world and sooner or later we will be lost for words to describe what we have allowed to happen to it." (via)
posted by anotherpanacea on Nov 8, 2006 - 39 comments

"That I offer my services at all, you may take as a complement..."

"I am getting to my goal, slowly but surly." Cover letters from Hell.
posted by Iridic on Sep 28, 2006 - 52 comments

language

The Passivator. A passive verb and adverb flagger for Mozilla-derived browsers, Safari, and Opera 7.5, with caveats.
posted by semmi on Jan 6, 2006 - 54 comments

Animal Collectives. Ann Rynd beware

English names for groups various creatures are often bizarre. Many of the stranger collective nouns came from the Boke of St. Albans. Most lists don't include a "parliament of rooks" any longer. Lists of collective animal names are available for children and adults. Though, oddly there doesn't seem to be a collective name for humans as a species, numerous names (mostly silly) exist for types of human groups. Dispute does exist in the world of collective nouns. Officially monkeys are grouped in "troops", but most people would agree that the proper term for a group of monkeys is barrel . However debate seems to have been closed on the subject of the proper term for a group of tentacle monsters (NSFW). Of course, you have to know how the proper grammar when using collective nouns.
posted by sotonohito on Aug 10, 2005 - 33 comments

"Devoid of content" -- and loving it.

According to Stanley Fish, "Students can't write clean English sentences because they are not being taught what sentences are." The solution: make them invent their own language. After a generation that privileged content to the exclusion of form, is the pendulum swinging back the other way?
posted by myl on May 31, 2005 - 134 comments

Tools for editors

Tools for Editors. Find all kinds of useful language-related links; take a side trip to a site where you can recall the joys of diagramming sentences, corral misplaced apostrophes, check your spelling, set free pet peeves, or read lovely essays on the English language written by a retired professor of Dutch.
posted by etaoin on Mar 19, 2005 - 14 comments

The Corrections

The Grammarian. Miss Gould, as she was known to everyone at the New Yorker, died last week, at the age of eighty-seven. She worked at the magazine for fifty-four years, most of them as its Grammarian (a title invented for her). A typical “Gould proof” was filled with the lightly pencilled tracery of her objections, suggestions, and abbreviated queries: “emph?” “ind.,” “mean this?”. Writes David Remnick: "She confronted the galley proofs of writers as various as Joseph Mitchell, J. D. Salinger, Janet Flanner--well, everyone, really.". More inside.
posted by matteo on Feb 22, 2005 - 77 comments

A Grammar Test -

A Grammar Test - How is your grammar? Are you proficient with the English language? Here is a little test of 34 questions to help you check yourself. Or, perhaps grammar doesn't trip your trigger. You may want to try the Punctuation and Capitalization test.
posted by Crackerbelly on Jan 28, 2005 - 50 comments

The Eternal Appeal of Punctuation

Punk-Tuation: Is It The New Anarchy Or Boring Old Fascism All Over Again? How anal serious about apostrophes are you? Just how far would you go for a perfect semi-colon? Do you regularly reach for heart pills before you read MetaFilter? Take comfort in this: Lynne Trusse's wildly popular Eats Shoots And Leaves is this year's surprise bestseller in Britain. And I've limited myself to the MeFi-adored Guardian, just to make my (as it were) point. So... how important is punctuation to you? My own suspicion is that punctuation is the new spelling. It is important. (And, lest this seem carefree and frivolous, let me confess right away that MetaFilter may well be the worst offender, in this regard, ever to have blessedly existed.)
posted by MiguelCardoso on Dec 19, 2003 - 36 comments

Calling all Grammar Schoolmarms

"Even a brilliant piece of writing will have difficulty finding a publisher if the author has neglected to dress his manuscript decently." 'The Chicago Manual of Style' enters the 21st century. Calling all MeFi Schoolmarms! (Also: CSM New Questions & Answers)
posted by ColdChef on Jul 24, 2003 - 26 comments

Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky and the neuronaut's guide to the science of consciousness

We are because of others. We are born into this world with minds as naked as our bodies and we have to rely on others to feed, clothe us, and to teach us to think of ourselves as selves. The key is language -- grammatical speech and human culture build upon the brain's biological capacities to create a mind that is something different again than that with which we are born. We are conscious because we can speak to others and ourselves, because we can speak of ourselves to others and ourselves. Language gives us as individuals, memory, and as groups, culture, the social memory. Or so thought Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky, among others. Welcome to the the neuronaut's guide to the science of consciousness.
posted by y2karl on Jul 11, 2003 - 36 comments

"I was very lucky that she triped over my uncontios body beried under piles of ash..."

"I was very lucky that she triped over my uncontios body beried under piles of ash..." A saga of epic proportions: some moron living inside his "Morrowind" RPG computer game writes his gameplay out as a novel. Welcome to a capsule indictment of American education and the consequences of the new "American Way." Thank heavens we don't live in Morrowind, where most people can't "right nor reed."
posted by Perigee on Oct 11, 2002 - 20 comments

Jedi (n) and Klingon (n)

Jedi (n) and Klingon (n) will now be listed in the Oxford English Dictionary. As will Ass-Backward. Given MetaFilter's interest in grammar this seems worth noting. How the editors decided that "Jedi" is worth inclusion but "Stormtrooper" is not is a conversation I would have loved to have heard. Naturally, people complaining about such inclusions ain't new. However, when words are removed from the same dictionary it's hardly noticed. Clearly unused words go away, so why do people make a stink about this year after year? Slow news cycles? Or is it an extension of the Prescriptivist - Descriptivist Argument with the Prescripts making a push for the "hearts and minds" of the public?
posted by herc on Sep 26, 2002 - 35 comments

The Apostrophe Protection Society:

The Apostrophe Protection Society: ...reminding all writers of English text, whether on notices or in documents of any type, of the correct usage of the apostrophe should you wish to put right mistakes you may have inadvertently made.
posted by acridrabbit on Aug 12, 2002 - 57 comments

Bravo, MetaFilter Grammar Posse!

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 on Aug 6, 2002 - 45 comments

I Wouldn't Dangle That Modifier If I Were You, Bud:

I Wouldn't Dangle That Modifier If I Were You, Bud: The Grammar Mafia hits town - our town - laying into innocent bloggers; mercilessly gunning down the New York Times mandarins and generally making a bloody nuisance of themselves. They call themselves the Knucklerap gang. And yet one particular sentence has defeated them so far. Can MetaFilter's own Grammar Police come to the rescue?[Sentence inside]
posted by MiguelCardoso on Jul 12, 2002 - 58 comments

Sentence diagramming.

Sentence diagramming. Did anyone else learn this when they were a kid? Brings back memories -- a place for every word, and every word in its place. Fascinating for grammar nuts. The guy diagrams famous sentences -- even the opening sentence of the Declaration of Independence. (Happy Fourth!)
posted by Tin Man on Jul 3, 2002 - 27 comments

They might actually be, you know, be useful.

They might actually be, you know, be useful. This year, a student in Nebraska won $1000 for finding the worst example of overuse of the phrase 'you know,' by an athlete who said it 30 times in a 135 second interview. But are they really that terrible? Known as discourse markers, phrases such as 'you know' and 'I mean' are thought to be essential in conveying information in conversation and helping us understand each other. Discourse markers also exist in many other languages and possibly even ancient languages.
posted by adrianhon on May 15, 2002 - 25 comments

If your never sure about all thing's grammatical...

If your never sure about all thing's grammatical... then this may help you. hyphens, apostrophes and split infinitives are all covered, along side many and various spellings, rules and regulations.
posted by Spoon on Jan 8, 2002 - 21 comments

Learning propper english gramar ain't gotta suck no longer. Someones made it fun and enjoyable for everybody! And when you meat someone who can't write good, you'll know why. This could even be the dearth of the MeFi grammar flames even! (nahhh)
posted by BentPenguin on Dec 29, 2001 - 6 comments

Why grammar is the first casualty of war...

Why grammar is the first casualty of war... "It's hard for abstract nouns to surrender. In fact it's very hard for abstract nouns to do anything at all of their own volition - even trained philologists can't negotiate with them."
posted by campy on Dec 19, 2001 - 4 comments

I wish I were happy...

I wish I were happy... Who says money can't buy happiness? Katy and Greg would beg to differ.
posted by wondergirl on Sep 3, 2001 - 19 comments

yo d00dz! hav u seen tihs?

yo d00dz! hav u seen tihs? "Two-thirds of the 18-24 year olds questioned do not worry about punctuation, grammar or style when writing messages. About 16% sign every e-mail with love and kisses, even when addressing their boss."
l8s, love wrighty XX
posted by gi_wrighty on Mar 22, 2001 - 30 comments

Adverbs make you hot and bothered? Try Tham's Sexed-Up Grammar Guide.
posted by tdecius on Jan 9, 2000 - 0 comments

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