“AM” stands for the Latin phrase Ante Meridiem —which means “before noon”—and “PM” stands for Post Meridiem"I learned something new today. Thanks anastasiav.—Keyser
“AM” stands for the Latin phrase Ante Meridiem —which means “before noon”—and “PM” stands for Post Meridiem"
What is your objection? Is it one of those phrases that is misused by so many people that its meaning has changed? If so, that's sad. It was a good phrase. I'm going to have to start saying "Hey, man, you're really improperly assuming as true the very point you're trying to argue for here."
Exactly; its meaning has changed. (Or, to put it differently, the technical meaning used by philosophers changed when the phrase was picked up by the general public, a fate suffered by many such technical usages; ask any physicist about "relativity.") If I've had to come to terms with the change in "disinterested" (which distresses me a lot more), you can deal with this. And look on the bright side: if you say "Hey, man, you're really improperly assuming as true the very point you're trying to argue for here," your listener will actually understand you!
"That's absurd. Did the British not use typesetting? It's a style preference, nothing more, nothing less."—languagehat
Neatness is the sole consideration; just as the ears may be regarded as not hearing organs, but 'handsome volutes of the human capital', so quotation marks may be welcomed as giving a good picturesque finish to a sentence; those who are of this way of thinking must feel that, if they allowed outside them anything short of fine handsome stops like the exclamation and question marks, they would be countenancing an anticlimax. But they are really mere conservatives, masquerading only as aesthetes; and their conservatism will soon have to yield. Argument on the subject is impossible; it is only a question whether the printer's love for the old ways that seem to him so neat, or the writer's and reader's desire to be understood and to understand fully, is to prevail.—Fowler, The King's English, 1908
OK, I'm a little hazy on this, but I'll try. I picked this stuff up
ca. 25 years ago when I was into the history of printing and hand-setting
type, so it's been a long time...
Consider a piece of foundry type, i.e., type that comes in individual
pieces which are set by hand into a gizmo called a composing stick.
It is made of an alloy of (basically) lead and antimony, which has a
low melting point and is relatively soft, but harder (and somewhat
more brittle) than lead alone.
Think of a kid's rubber stamp set -- the sort you can make your own
stamps with by putting letters together (backwards!) in the little
slots on the base of the stamp. The characters consist of raised
bits of rubber that will pick up ink and transfer it to a piece of
paper (or whatever). Same principle.
Now, especially in the smaller sizes, such as you would find in text,
the raised bits of metal are very fine and delicate, which gives a
sharp, readable impression. Punctuation marks, especially periods
[full stops for our British readers] are the most delicate, and are
on the thinnest pieces of type (I forgot to mention that each character
has a different width, and so does the piece of type it is cast on --
so a period is about as narrow as you can get).
When a period is set at the end of a sentence, it is followed by a
piece of type with no character cast on it, i.e., a space. This
makes the period more vulnerable to damage, since there is no
raised character on one side. OK so far?
The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
Observe that the period is protected from breakage by the `g';
``The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog''.
Here the `g' provides no protection; neither does the quotation
mark, since it only covers the _upper_ portion of the piece of
type. Thus, the period is more likely to break off its moorings
than in the example above. By moving the period to the _left_
of the quotation mark, like this:
``The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.''
we regain the protection afforded by the preceding `g'.
The same applies, of course, to commas. Semicolons, colons, question
marks, exclamation points, etc. clearly do not cause this problem,
which could explain why some readers found them apparently exempted
from the rule.
Now you know.
At the prompt, type "cd \archive."
He said "foo.".
Ethereal Bligh, I'm with you. Just seems more logical that way. I've even carried it to absurdities likeHe said "foo.".—kenko
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