Saturday, April 26, 2008

Taking Punctuation to the Nth Degree


From AP article..." the Pew Internet and American Life Project, in a study released Thursday, found that teens who keep blogs or use social-networking sites like Facebook or News Corp.’s MySpace have a greater tendency to slip nonstandard elements into assignments."

It isn't just teens slipping in nonstandard elements. Between blogging and using Instant Messenger all the time I've noticed in a lot of my work e-mails (even to my boss) I'm typing :)'s and LOL's.

The article further states that "the rules could possibly change completely within a generation or two: Perhaps the start of sentences would no longer need capitalization, the way the use of commas has decreased over the past few decades."

I've never been good at using commas so put me on the list of people that contributes to its decreased use. Reading this article reminds me of an Nth Anderson did on semi-colons in February 2004 entitled "Taking Punctuation to the Nth Degree". Here is the clip:






Here is the transcript:

Tonight, taking punctuation to the "Nth Degree." Remember that fuss budget of a English teacher you had. Turns out she was right, punctuation does count. Late yesterday, a judge told groups wanting to stop San Francisco from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples that they made an error in their filing.

"The way you've written this," the judge said, "it has a semicolon where it should have the word or." He went on to say, "I am not trying to be petty here. That semicolon is a big deal."

He's got a point. Imagine if good old Patrick Henry, instead of "Give me liberty or give me death" had instead said give me liberty; give me death. See the problem?

And what about the old love or leave it bumper sticker. Your replace the or with a semicolon and, you've got America, love it; leave it. Talk about little things meaning a lot. People were married today who otherwise might not have been all because of a comma wearing a dot for a hat. I'm Anderson Coper. Period. Thanks for watching. Period.


Hmmm, I wonder if the judge used to be a "fuss budget English teacher".




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8 comments:

Kristien said...

Quitty, I find myself wanting to slip things like LOL, IMHO, BTW,...in my mails too.
It's hard to understand for people who are not familiar with the lingo anyway and it makes even less sense when the rest of the mail is written in Dutch, lol!

Thanks for another great Nth Degree Quitty!
(BTW, I'm not a fan of the messy tie look; looks too scruffy!;:?/&"')

Have a great Sunday!!

Anonymous said...

And how many of us have used Ander phrases or spelling in our writing, such as: on my good lord, buddon, um just to name a few.

Quitty I love your posts and clips since I missed most of the original airings of the Nth Degree. 360 needs to replace something with the Nth Degree, especially this political year(s).

Anonymous said...

I loved and miss the "original" 360 with the nth degree, does anyone remember when Elvis Mitchell used to show up on Friday night's with a weekend movie or something?

Roonie said...

It drives me CRAZY when people use nonstandard elements in professional emails. I also can't stand to use abbreviations like 'b4', 'u' and '2morrow' just to shorten things up. I'd rather write in complete sentences to convey my point...even in text messages.

It's been shown that the average vocabulary has fallen for an individual from something like 60,000 words down to 20-30 thousand over the course of a few hundred years. I wish my vocabulary was better.

ACAnderFan said...

Great Nth Degree, Quitty. Thanks for sharing.

I miss the old 360. The Nth Degree was the best!!!

ACAnderFan said...

@aruna, I'm the same way too. I like to write complete sentences for text messages. My best friend, however will use any and every abbreviation there is. Half the time I can't even read her text messages, becuase of all the abbreviations in them.

Anonymous said...

AC seems to have done away with the traditional capitals and some punctuation in his live blogs. Maybe it saves time.
Also in the nth Degree segments his eyes always appear to be a darker shade of blue. Having seen him in person at a book signing his eyes, though blue, were not that blue. Any chance he wears colored contacts?

Unknown said...

The clip seems to be missing now. Does anyone have an alternate link? I would love to see it.