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Colon/semi-colon question

Crumbly Writer

Hit an area I'm unusre of. I was trying to provide a list of creatures, but it didn't sound right using commas. I substituted the following, but the colon seems awkward too.

Virtually everyone in the compound: small children, nursing mothers, barking dogs and squealing pigs, were involved in the day's activities.

Anyone have any better suggestions? A semi-colon perhaps (even though there's only one list instead of a string of lists)?

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Hit an area I'm unusre of. I was trying to provide a list of creatures, but it didn't sound right using commas. I substituted the following, but the colon seems awkward too.


No chickens?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@Crumbly Writer

Try the following:

Virtually everyone in the compound was involved in the day's activities: small children, nursing mothers, barking dogs and squealing pigs.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

No chickens?

Ha-ha, I'd already considered that. No, they're too hard to keep track of--given the circumstances--so they were keep in their cages.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@REP


Virtually everyone in the compound was involved in the day's activities: small children, nursing mothers, barking dogs and squealing pigs.


It's not quite as strong. How about em-dashes?


Virtually everyone in the compound--small children, nursing mothers, barking dogs and squealing pigs--were involved in the day's activities.


That way, the odd list of participants stands out from the statement before the point is made, disarming the reader with humor for what's to follow (you can tell I put too much thought into this!).

Replies:   Bondi Beach  REP  Ross at Play
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

It's done with em-dashes:

Virtually everyone in the compound—small children, nursing mothers, barking dogs and squealing pigs—were involved in the day's activities.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Anyone have any better suggestions?


I'd turn it around a bit and use a colon, to write it like this -

The activities involved virtually everyone in the compound: small children, nursing mothers, barking dogs, and squealing pigs.

sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

Virtually everyone in the compound: small children, nursing mothers, barking dogs and squealing pigs, were involved in the day's activities.

Firstly the noun "everyone" is singular so 'were' becomes 'was'.
Next, "small children, nursing mothers, barking dogs and squealing pigs" is an adjectival clause describing / expanding "everyone" so no colon or semicolon is required. (You correctly put a comma after pigs and there should be one before small in place of the colon)

just my half cent

Replies:   tppm
Bondi Beach

@Crumbly Writer

It's not quite as strong. How about em-dashes?

Virtually everyone in the compound--small children, nursing mothers, barking dogs and squealing pigs--were involved in the day's activities.


Yes.

bb

Replies:   Lugh
Lugh

@Bondi Beach

Should colons and semicolons have an anal code?

Replies:   sejintenej  Bondi Beach
sejintenej

@Lugh

Should colons and semicolons have an anal code?

Lugh; you're thinking of colonic irrigation and I couldn't be ar**d to wonder if there is a code.

Bondi Beach

@Lugh

Should colons and semicolons have an anal code?


Depends on what you're doing with them or to them, I guess.

bb

REP

@Crumbly Writer

Looks good to me. If you are happy with it, do it that way.

To me, the problem with the original was the colon indicated what came before was equal to what followed. That was okay for the list items, but the part following pigs belonged on the left side of the colon.

tppm

@sejintenej

There should also be a comma before "and".

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@tppm

There should also be a comma before "and".

Depends on whether you're American or use the British serial comma. Since the story takes place in America, I use the American system (not including a comma before "and").

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Depends on whether you're American or use the British serial comma.


I don't think the Oxford comma is a "British" way just because it's called Oxford.

I'm one who uses the Oxford comma. However, I'm not sure I would use it in your sentence. Grouping the dogs and pigs together seems right to me, but it's something I'd probably flip-flop on 'til the final version.

btw, can animals be an "everyone"? If you only had the dogs and pigs would you have referred to them as "everyone"?

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

Virtually everyone in the compound: small children, nursing mothers, barking dogs and squealing pigs, were involved in the day's activities.

FIRSTLY, whatever you do, you must replace 'were' with 'was' to be in agreement with the singular 'everybody'.

My opinions about the punctuation follow, based upon about 3 days of mind-numbing, recent study of the punctuation sections at grammar.com.

'Virtually everyone in the compound' is not an independent cause (i.e. it cannot be ended with a full stop).

If it was an independent clause, you could end it with a colon to indicate a close linkage to the next sentence. The linkage is a list elaborating on 'virtually everyone'.

In that case, what follows must be a valid sentence and the comma after 'pigs' must be deleted. [Note. You are free to choose between upper or lower case when starting sentences following on after a colon]

That would still not say what I think you want. It would imply the ONLY adults involved were nursing mothers.

You are not linking sentences here, so the colon is introducing something, a list. Once you have introduced a list with a colon, you must be able to end your sentence at the end of the list. Lists are not always ended with full stops, but it must be valid to do so.

You could try this:

Virtually everyone in the compound, even small children, nursing mothers, barking dogs and squealing pigs, was involved in the day's activities.

That would be correct (in so far as) you have an internal phrase enclosed in commas. Your sentence still makes sense if you delete both commas and everything between them.

Commas MAY BE (?) allowed, but it's certainly better to enclose the entire internal phrase in semi-colons. That will remove any ambiguity about the scope of a clause already containing the commas.

One correct option is:

Virtually everyone in the compound; even small children, nursing mothers, barking dogs and squealing pigs; was involved in the day's activities.

I cannot see a way of avoiding the use of 'even' or 'including' and saying what you want - with your three clauses in that order. There are ways if you change the order of those clauses.

You might try this instead:

Small children, nursing mothers, barking dogs and squealing pigs were involved in the day's activities, virtually everyone in the compound.

You could replace the comma before 'virtually', but it's not essential. It would be if complete sentences were being joined without a conjuction.

There is no potential ambiguity. The string of commas in the list is no longer adjacent to the comma used to join clauses together.

The clause beginning with 'virtually' is also too short to consider using a semi-colon for clarity in a long complex sentence.

HOWEVER, the reason for changing this comma is context, not correct punctuation. I would choose a dash before 'virtually' in this sentence.

Thus endeth today's lesson from the Gospel According to Ross! But be warned, even after days studying this stuff, I'm still not sure I've got it all figured out, yet?

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

Virtually everyone in the compound--small children, nursing mothers, barking dogs and squealing pigs--were involved in the day's activities.

I wrote my contribution to you original post without reading the following exchanges.
I would agree with two dashes, but I think this suggests these were the only ones in the compound.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

tppm

There should also be a comma before "and".

Depends on whether you're American or use the British serial comma. Since the story takes place in America, I use the American system (not including a comma before "and").

I learned not to use a comma (or colon or semicolon) immediately before a conjunction

Ross at Play

@sejintenej

According to grammar.com (US style)
Nothing before the conjunction within a simple phrase. Punctuation marks are only needed when joining clauses if there are three or more clauses, or two clauses which could both be complete sentences.

Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

can animals be an "everyone"?

A group including humans may be treated as entirely human, even though pigs may feel insulted by that comparison. :)

Ernest Bywater

@sejintenej

a conjunction


isn't a conjunction where two or more scam deals crossover or come together?

Ross at Play

@sejintenej

Depends on whether you're American or use the British serial comma.

REALLY??
Would Brits really consider using a comma there?
It sounds totally natural to say that with no pause before 'and'. If Brits insist there must be a comma there, I'm going to start writing in American - even if it means moving my Shirley Holmes to London, Ontario.

Does anyone know of a glossary of grammatical terms, including US and UK equivalents like 'period' and 'full stop'?

Ernest Bywater

@Ross at Play

Would Brits really consider using a comma there?


Some US writers use the Oxford comma too. There's no strict rule on it. However, if you use it it makes it easier to identify the difference between a linked pair and two unlinked items in a list. With the Oxford comma you get a comma after every list item and the word 'and' signifies the next item is the last one in the list. Thus you get things like:

He had a pistol, rifle, knife, and machete.

For linked items you have no comma, thus:

He had a knife, rifle, bow and arrow. - - in this bow and arrow are a linked pair and not two separate items in the list.

Thus you can learn to see a difference in things like action lists:

I went to the house, got the gun, and shot Fred.

as against

I went to the house, got the gun and shot Fred.

In the first you can shoot Fred in any place you like, in the second you are shooting him in the house because getting the gun and the shooting are a linked pair.

Replies:   Ross at Play
sejintenej
Updated:

@Ross at Play


Does anyone know of a glossary of grammatical terms, including US and UK equivalents like 'period' and 'full stop'?


No. I do have a comparison of UK, World and USA English - several pages of tables) but it has the warning that a full comparison would take an entire volume.

a propos comments here it says " American English has a marked preference for so-called "serial commas" before 'and' and 'or' ........

The book to which I have referred in the past does not mention the following for which I give the UK names and rely on others to give the names in strine and American

Full stop

comma

colon

semi-colon

inverted commas

question mark

exclamation mark

italics

capital (meaning upper case)

bold

points (as a measure of height of letters in 72nds)


"Depends on whether you're American or use the British serial comma".


I'm pretty sure that was tppm; as a Brit I made the statement that I would NOT use a serial comma.

Replies:   tppm  Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I wrote my contribution to you original post without reading the following exchanges.
I would agree with two dashes, but I think this suggests these were the only ones in the compound.

I see it as I originally intended, as a combined list, everyone in the compound who was involved in the day's activities (as I noted earlier, the chickens weren't included as they were taken out in cages, so they were fully included).

I still think the em-dash (not a double dash, but alas, the forum doesn't support em-dashes) works best, as it separates the independent clause as a separate component of the sentence without specifically designating a list (as the colon did).

And yes, the "were" is now a "was".

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I still think the em-dash (not a double dash


The double dash represents the em-dash when the em-dash is not supported.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

The double dash represents the em-dash when the em-dash is not supported.

Yeah, I wasn't sure that was clear.

tppm
Updated:

@sejintenej


Full stop


period


comma

colon

semi-colon

inverted commas


apostrophes or quotation marks, depending on whether they're single or double.


question mark

exclamation mark

italics

capital (meaning upper case)

bold

points (as a measure of height of letters in 72nds)


Other than the two I cited those are the same, though "exclamation mark" is usually "exclamation point".

Ross at Play

@sejintenej


No. I do have a comparison of UK, World and USA English - several pages of tables) but it has the warning that a full comparison would take an entire volume.

Can I get a copy of that? Several pages rather than the entire volume is EXACTLY what I'm looking for.
My email is rossmurray.aust@gmail.com

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


I went to the house, got the gun, and shot Fred.
as against
I went to the house, got the gun and shot Fred.


The reference you recommended grammar.com (which BTW is VERY GOOD) is US style and suggested with a comma is not allowed.

I freaked out when I interpreted a comment as saying the comma is required by the UK style.

I think you're saying is the comma is optional for the UK style. That allows different interpretations of elements being closely linked when commas are omitted.

That makes even more sense to me than the US style.

Would you advise (1) Have I understood you correctly? and (2) Was it correct to omit commas around 'grammar.com' above because it is 'restrictive'?

Ernest Bywater

@Ross at Play

I think you're saying is the comma is optional for the UK style


I've seen the US authors use it, and I've seen it suggested as a viable alternative for the US. However, it does depend a lot on the style manual you use and what the document you're writing is.

The sad thing is a lot of the advice you see about punctuation on the Internet and in books is for writing college assignments, high school essays, and formal documents which have a much stricture set of rules and follow a style manual like the Chicago Manual of Style. Now, that's very good for those usages, and very important to follow them for those usages. however, what it does mean is when you follow them strictly whatever you write comes out stilted, dry, and formal, and very unsuited to writing fiction.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


I still think the em-dash


I have always thought that, and some change in the order of your clauses was necessary.

Note I meant em-dash when I wrote 'dash', and would have written hyphen for an en-dash.

I HAVE BEEN asking about differences in terminology as well.

I now suggest:

Small children, nursing mothers, barking dogs, squealing pigs--virtually everyone in the compound was involved in the day's activities.

(Note the 'and' before 'squealing' has been deleted)

I still think it matters whether your series listing participants comes before or after 'everyone'.

If the series come before, I think that implies your list is complete unless you have an 'even', etc. to qualify it as incomplete.

If the series comes after, I think that implies your list may be incomplete, and the 'virtually everyone' is clarifying the series.

Even if you disagree with that distinction, I think what I just suggested reads the best, and unambiguously makes your intended meaning clear. You definitely want the em-dash just before 'virtually everybody'; that is when you want readers to be paying attention.

Replies:   sejintenej
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


follow (style manuals) strictly (and) whatever you write comes out stilted (and) unsuited to writing fiction.


AGREED! What we need is style choices that allow maximum flexibility, but to then be consistent in the way we apply our choices.

I am working on something to do precisely that.

I expect many of the intended audience will dismiss it as the ravings of a demented Punctuation Nazi--without understanding it well enough to see it's actually achieving the complete opposite. Whatever?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
sejintenej

@Ross at Play

I now suggest:

Small children, nursing mothers, barking dogs, squealing pigs--virtually everyone in the compound was involved in the day's activities.

that looks good to me EXCEPT that over here I have never seen two hyphens together like that; we would simply use one. I personally would put a space on each side of the hyphen since a hyphen is not part of a word. Not logical because I don't use a space for a period/full stop or a comma

Switch Blayde

@sejintenej

I have never seen two hyphens together like that;


It's due to the shortcomings of this forum not allowing an em-dash. Since you can't put in an em-dash, using a single one would show as a hyphen. So to get around that, you represent the em-dash with a "--".

Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

That makes even more sense to me than the US style.


I'm not sure there is a "U.S. style." I was taught in the U.S. that the comma is optional. Now that's the U.S. education system not any particular style guide.

I follow the Chicago Manual of Style when writing fiction because that's what the publishers use. If I were writing newspaper articles I'd be following the AP Style Guide.

Chicago says to put the Oxford comma in (unless, of course, it changes the meaning such as "ham and eggs" as a breakfast item).

AP says not to use it unless there's confusion (the famous, "I want to thank my parents, Ayan Rand and God).

I believe Strunk and White says to use it.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I expect many of the intended audience will dismiss it as the ravings of a demented Punctuation Nazi--without understanding it well enough to see it's actually achieving the complete opposite. Whatever?

Generally, the 'punctuation N-word gets applied whenever someone advocates sweeping, across the board rules regarding punctuation, or disallows exceptions to the guidelines for specific uses. As long as your guidelines allow to context, and don't harp on variations, I doubt you'll be attacked for it. Typically, people use this particular N-word whenever someone marks up an entire page full of red-marks focusing exclusively on the punctuation, ignore the overall story (just my opinion, by the way).

There are enough authors struggling to understand punctuation, and convey precise information, I think it'll be taken with due consideration.

@Sejintenej

I personally would put a space on each side of the hyphen since a hyphen is not part of a word. Not logical because I don't use a space for a period/full stop or a comma.


He's using the hyphens to emulate an em-dash, which is a publication mark (i.e. it's not available in text-only documents or ancient typewriters). In the days of text only, that's the way you'd use use hypens, however, using spaces around the hyphen makes it into an en-dash (a dash the width of the small letter "n", using whichever font the reader selects, which is only used for specifying dates (ex: "Nov. 3 - 5th").

Again, Ross wasn't indicating a dash combining words, but the publication mark signifying a separate thought signifying special attention (though, in fiction, it also can signify interrupted speech).

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

Ignore this, I'm just testing the use of the em-dash in the forums, since the SOL engine does support it in stories.

As two drew too close, Phillip swung his machete-his weapon of choice-since there weren't enough working guns to go around.

Nope. The forum software converts em-dashes into simple dashes, which is improper, given the context. Keep using the two dashes, without spaces.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

em-dash


To me, the em-dash is what you get when Emma runs across the hall from the bathroom to her bedroom in just her underwear.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

To me, the em-dash is what you get when Emma runs across the hall from the bathroom to her bedroom in just her underwear.

And in that case, too, there are no extraneous spaces between Em's dash and the connecting passages. 'D

Ross at Play
Updated:

@sejintenej


that looks good to me EXCEPT that over here I have never seen two hyphens together like that; we would simply use one. I personally would put a space on each side of the hyphen since a hyphen is not part of a word. Not logical because I don't use a space for a period/full stop or a comma


I [thought I'd] worked out how to create an em-dash in this editor [,but it changed the remaining text to italics]. The double hyphen was just my best effort to show an em-dash.

I have been pondering the use of spaces around em-dash in the last few days. The style guides dictate "Cannot!". Every logical extension from what is being substituted suggests 'should not'.

BUT THEY JUST LOOK WRONG TO ME WITHOUT SPACES.

The demented Punctuation Nazi (dPN) will probably suggest authors' choice is always spaces on both sides, with a footnote that technical writers should use none.

I reserve hyphens for joining words or similar, so I'd never consider a space on either side.

There was something else in the guide I've been studying that disturbed me. It dictates that a 'so' in the middle of a sentence MUST be followed by a comma; therefore, it MUST be preceded by a semi-colon.

THAT LOOKS TOTALLY ANAL AND BIZARRE TO ME.

The dPN will probably suggest setting a limit of two words when commas are usually not used after such phrases. So when they occasionally are used, readers will know there was purpose in doing so.

Any thoughts from actual humans with actual experience in writing fiction?

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Ross at Play


Any thoughts from actual humans with actual experience in writing fiction?


I'm not sure about the use of "so", since I've never really considered it, but the main objection to the spaces on either side of an em-dash is that it confuses the em-dash with an en-dash, which confuses readers. Again, they're both publication marks, which means they follow distinctly difficult guidelines than do simple dashes, and their use in fiction is even more complicated!

Your discomfort with the spaces surrounding em-dashes probably have more to do with your use to the text usages than to the use of the publication marks, which is understandable, given what you've been exposed to.

Note: By the way, another guideline I've been paying more attention to lately is to always add a hyphen (not a dash) to connect "well" and any subsequent words (ex: "well-behaved", "well-endowed", "well-hung", etc.). The objective is to denote that it's a modifier and not an independent word.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


but the main objection to the spaces on either side of an em-dash is that it confuses the em-dash with an en-dash


The em-dash is a lot longer than the en-dash. And how often do you use an en-dash? It's used for ranges, but what else?

I always thought on print it looked better without the spaces, but on a screen it looked better with spaces. The reason I think it's better without the spaces is it won't break it up at the end of a line (unless your spaces are &nbsp).

EDITED:

In the original version of this post I entered &nbsp with the ending semicolon. The software changed it to a space (so I edited out the semicolon).

Lazeez, if the software converts &nbsp to a space, why doesn't it convert &mdash to an em-dash? (It converts it to a hyphen)

sejintenej
Updated:

@Ross at Play


There was something else in the guide I've been studying that disturbed me. It dictates that a 'so' in the middle of a sentence MUST be followed by a comma; therefore, it MUST be preceded by a semi-colon.


That is; so, inane, moronic and worse that the author should be treated like a rabid dog and given the needle.

Hyphens for joining words - you used the word semi-colon quite rightly. I used the first hyphen there to indicate that the second phrase follows from the first

because it replaces a clause of umpteen words which would say the same

edited to replace a (stupid) comma with a (an equally stupid) semi-colon

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

Your discomfort with the spaces surrounding em-dashes

My discomfort was (technical) style insisting spaces were not allowed on either side of an em-dash, when aesthetically I yearn to always have them on both sides.
My (current) policy with hyphens (en-dashes) is very simple -- I only use them to exclusively for joining words (or similar), so I NEVER have any spaces on either side.
I think we're on the same page here. Ignore how technical writers may be required to use em-dashes, and go with something distinctive for readers, i.e. never any spaces around the short dash, and always two spaces around the long dash.
That combination means readers could never

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


The em-dash is a lot longer than the en-dash.


Please clarify this for me.

I thought en-dash and hyphen were the same thing, while em-dash was sometimes just called dash.

I have noticed a third type of dash mentioned, but I just thought WTF, I'll only use two of them.

So, are you saying there is a hyphen, and an em-dash (or just dash), and then an en-dash only used in dates?

NOTE, I have been asking if anyone has a glossary, and to be clearer, does anyone have a glossary of grammatical terms, ideally with variations in names commonly used in UK and US.

Unfortunately, sejintenej misunderstood my request, so what he sent was lists of variations in commonly used expressions, not grammatical terms.

It's frustrating for someone who was NEVER taught grammar at school to not only learn correct terms for grammar, but still end up with endless exchanges just to figure out different words were used to describe the same thing.

Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Ross at Play


I thought en-dash and hyphen were the same thing, while em-dash was sometimes just called dash.


Here you go.

bb

hyphen (compound words):

http://www.thepunctuationguide.com/hyphen.html

en-dash (indicates span or range of dates or numbers):

http://www.thepunctuationguide.com/en-dash.html

em-dash (set off a parenthetical or appositional phrase):

http://www.thepunctuationguide.com/em-dash.html

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Ross at Play


Please clarify this for me.


Yes, there are 3 of them.

The hyphen (which is on the keyboard) is for joining words (as in hard-on, make-up, ten-year-old).

The en-dash, which is the width of the letter n, is used for ranges (Jan-June). (note, in the example you have to assume the dash is longer but I couldn't put in a real en-dash.) In this example, it's Jan through June.

And then there's the em-dash which is the width of the letter m. It has many uses. It's used to represent interrupted speech in dialogue. It's used in fiction where parentheses would be used in other forms of writing (I guess the original example). It's used to emphasize something.

Replies:   sejintenej
Ernest Bywater

@Ross at Play

I thought en-dash and hyphen were the same thing, while em-dash was sometimes just called dash.


I'm going to take a bold step out into the wild here. For many years I used hyphens, en-dashes and em-dashes in technical documents and formal reports. However, when I started writing fiction as stories to be read for entertainment I soon learned to hate reading an en-dash and an em-dash in a fiction story. Part of that was the way some present in e-books and web pages is a little confusing to be sure which is which. Another part was there is no simple way to put them into the story while writing it, because the way the word processors and other software don't have universal recognition of how to place and present them.

The result is I use a hyphen when creating modified words such as well-being. I also use a hyphen with a space on either side as a dash where it's traditional to use either an en-dash or an em-dash. However, I don't use a dash on each side of the phrase the way CW did earlier. When i use it I have the dash then the phrase, and a comma after the phrase. Thus if the dash and phrase are removed it looks how it would have been written without it, thus the dash and additional phrase are obviously a little something extra related to what's before the dash. This is useful to provide clarity in some lists and similar situations.

Replies:   Ross at Play
sejintenej

@Switch Blayde

The en-dash, which is the width of the letter n, is used for ranges (Jan-June). (note, in the example you have to assume the dash is longer but I couldn't put in a real en-dash.) In this example, it's Jan through June.

I hadn't heard of either but I see both en dash and em dash are in the extended ASCII character set though I can't see how to use them

Switch Blayde

@sejintenej

I hadn't heard of either but I see both en dash and em dash are in the extended ASCII character set though I can't see how to use them


My conversion table in Word automatically converts a double hyphen to an em-dash. The problem is, when I convert the .doc to a .txt, I lose the em-dash so when I post it to SOL it's no longer an em-dash. That's why I use "--" to represent the em-dash on SOL (and here).

For my ebook novel, I replaced the em-dash created by Word to the HTML &mdash (ending with a semicolon).

I've never used the en-dash.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Lazeez, if the software converts to a space, why doesn't it convert &mdash to an em-dash? (It converts it to a hyphen)

I'm guessing he (Lazeez) has a different processing engine for the forum/feedback than he has for stories. Whenever I include smart quotes in a title (or an ellipsis) it comes back as a numeric code in email responses, despite the SOL engine translating them into standard quotes, so I don't know what the hell it's doing with it.

And how often do you use an en-dash? It's used for ranges, but what else?

Almost never, while I'll sometimes list times (ex: "I'll meet you between three and five") I rarely list date ranges in fiction, and even when I do, I'll spell it out instead. But again, the distinction between an en and an em-dash don't really apply unless in publishing, otherwise you use a simple dash in both cases (with or without spaces, depending on context).

Ross at Play

@Ernest Bywater

I don't use a dash on each side of the phrase the way CW did earlier

Em-dash always shows emphasis, but there are different things it can be used to replace.
I would start writing CW's sentence with commas separating clauses. After reviewing the complexity of the sentence, one or two commas would need to be upgraded to semi-colons. For content reasons, I would then replace the comma or semi-colon before 'virtually everyone' with an em-dash. Those are the words I want readers to be paying attention to.
But if I had a sentence including in the middle the parenthetical pause 'he ran off when he saw someone attempting to steal his car', I would not enclose that digression in parentheses, I would enclose it in em-dashes.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Ross at Play


Please clarify this for me.

I thought en-dash and hyphen were the same thing, while em-dash was sometimes just called dash.


Technically, hyphens are identical with a simple dash, while the en-dash and em-dash are only used when publishing documents. The en-dash is defined as being the width of a small letter "n" and the "m" dash is the length of the small letter "m" is which ever font you use, though the majority of fonts don't support either publishing or accent marks. Publishing marks are more precise, so they're more common in printed documents than in electronic documents.

The other uses of publication marks are to denote interrupted speech (only used in fiction and is specifically for dialogue), where the em-dash signifies an incomplete sentence because someone was interrupted. The ellipsis, also separated by spaces on either end--except when there's other punctuation (like a comma) connected to--but just to confuse things--more recent style guides insist you don't use a trailing period (end-stop) following an ellipsis (which is a rule derived from non-fiction uses). Got all that? I know it's confusing.

Thus you have the following:

"That's what I was say--"

"Would you quit yammering? We're sick of listening to you spout off about obscure no one cares about!"


and

"The rain in Spain--which falls mainly in the plains--is a welcome relief from the oppressive heat."


In this case, the em-dash is largely optional and can generally be replaces with commas (or parenthesis in non-fiction usages). It's mostly used when you want to focus attention on a side-issue which isn't directly related to the topic of the sentence.

There's also

"I have something somewhat ... uncomfortable ... to ask."


which is distinct from the ellipses use in non-fiction to denote something removed from the text:

He asked: "I have something ... to ask."


Ellipses (the plural of the singular ellipsis) also denote a "hanging sentence":

"But then, my point is largely ..."


Where, if read aloud, the character's voice would be heard trailing off as they allow the reader to assume what they intended to make (you often hear this after everyone in a conversation wanders away, or a speaker realizes that no one is paying him the slightest attention).

Note: Because I tend to specialize in complex dialogues with multiple characters, I tend to use em-dashes and ellipses a lot, often during arguments where one character will cut another off, or someone will storm out of the room. The punctuation marks are a handy way to denote the action without having to spell out how everyone responds. However, since it's uncommon in normal text, you run the risk that many readers won't understand what they mean, and will naturally assume that an em-dash needs spaces around it, or that an ellipsis means the text is missing a key phrase. :(

Replies:   Ross at Play  REP
Ross at Play

@sejintenej

I can't see how to use them (en-dash & em-dash)

I use OpenOffice and I have turned almost all AutoCorrect options off.
I make less mistakes than it does!
If you select ...
Format > AutoCorrect > AutoCorrectOptions
Then ...
Options (third tag along the top)
I have Use Replacement Table turned off
and Replace Dashes turned on
(There are two options T and M for typing and modify)

Typing letter minus minus letter will give you an em-dash (about 4 space widths) and no spaces
Typing letter space minus minus space letter will give you an en-dash (about 2 space widths) and two spaces.

In both cases the replacement happens when you end the second word by typing a non-letter.

I assume other word processors will be very similar, but as EB noted, you can them into your drafts easily enough, but what may happen when other software processes them is a different question.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

they ... will naturally assume ... an ellipsis means the text is missing a key phrase

There is some potential for ambiguity with ellipses, but the potential for dumb readers seems greater. :)
re: other comments, understood & thanks

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I use OpenOffice and I have turned almost all AutoCorrect options off.

I make less mistakes than it does!

Probably an easy use, in your case, at least, is 'cut & paste'. Simply create a table in a text file (or an OpenOffice document) that contains all your substitutions, and each time a file is ready, you do global substitutions, change dashes for em-dashes, dots for ellipses, and anything else you need.

I use this technique to replace my section breaks ("___________________" with my html graphic commands for my published books (my website and SOL keeps the underscores).

But once again, there's generally not a need for publication marks unless you're publishing. I use them a lot--even on SOL--but most authors can simply ignore them with little penalty. (I originally got into using them when I started including foreign languages (French, Vietnamese and Arabic) in one of my stories, so incorporating the other publication marks was natural for me.

Crumbly Writer

Lazeez, I have a related question. My newest story refers to the temperature, using the degree symbol (& deg ;). I don't suppose that the SOL processor is coded to convert that, is it? I'm guessing I'll have to manually convert it, but I'm likely to forget it by the time I get around to publishing on SOL.

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


Lazeez, if the software converts to a space, why doesn't it convert &mdash to an em-dash? (It converts it to a hyphen)


The html conversion bit does it. It converts an &mdash and – (UTF-8's version) to an em dash.

Maybe there is a bug in the script that somewhere after that changes em-dashes to hyphens. I'll have to look into it.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Lazeez, I have a related question. My newest story refers to the temperature, using the degree symbol (& deg ;). I don't suppose that the SOL processor is coded to convert that, is it? I'm guessing I'll have to manually convert it, but I'm likely to forget it by the time I get around to publishing on SOL.


The script decodes all the html entities properly. So a ° should come out as °.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

I'll have to look into it.


Thanks.

This is what &mdash(;) shows up as:
-

And this is what the &ndash(;) shows up as:
-

Crumbly Writer

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

The script decodes all the html entities properly. So a ° should come out as °.

That's good to know. I can relax about that one issue, at least.

As for the em-dash converting to a simple dash, it seems to be restricted to the forum and emails, rather than the story conversion, if that helps locate the bug.

Switch, I can tell you after years of using the em-dash in stories, it comes across correctly during submissions (as my many emails containing html codes demonstrate!). 'D

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

As for the em-dash converting to a simple dash, it seems to be restricted to the forum and emails, rather than the story conversion, if that helps locate the bug.


Actually it did. I looked into the text clean up options and one setting that seemed necessary, had the unfortunate side-effect of replacing em-dashes (—) with hyphens.

I think I got it fixed.

sejintenej

Just doing some research for someone and found how different American use of colons is to that in Britain. I don't know which format Australia uses.
11 : 9 : 01 equals 9 : 11: 01 in the US

9:30 in the US is 9.30 in the UK

In letters in the US (allegedly) a business letter is started Dear ****: and an informal letter starts Dear ****,
In the UK we only use a comma in all cases

Contrary to what my primary school teacher preached a colon is followed by a capital letter in certain situations.

Why does grammar have to be so complicated?

Dominions Son

@sejintenej

Contrary to what my primary school teacher preached a colon is followed by a capital letter in certain situations.


A colon is followed by a rectum.

Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

In letters in the US (allegedly) a business letter is started Dear ****: and an informal letter starts Dear ****,

I was taught (in U.S. schools, and used business, either "Dear ***;" or "Dear xxx," depending on how formal you wanted the setting to be.

Contrary to what my primary school teacher preached a colon is followed by a capital letter in certain situations.

Not in fiction. As far as I know, that's only in letter and lists (where each item/line following begins with a capital and a full sentence.

Why does grammar have to be so complicated?

because everyone wants a single set of rules which will handle ANY circumstances, which rarely works as planned.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I was taught (in U.S. schools, and used business, either "Dear ***;" or "Dear xxx," depending on how formal you wanted the setting to be.


I was also educated in the U.S. and never saw a semicolon used in the salutation. It's a colon for business and comma for informal.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I was also educated in the U.S. and never saw a semicolon used in the salutation. It's a colon for business and comma for informal.

Maybe my memory is faulty, I don't recall ever using a colon when addressing a formal letter in business. I do recall using them in Powerpoint presentations which would listen a variety of sentences, each of which would be capitalized.

Then again, most of my days in business we used email, rather than dead-tree snail mail.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


I don't recall ever using a colon when addressing a formal letter in business.


Here's the first Google result on the subject: http://www.businesswritingblog.com/business_writing/2014/10/what-is-a-salutation-its-not-a-close-.html

In a letter, salutations nearly always begin with "Dear":

Dear Rosalie,

(We use a comma after the greeting in a personal letter in the U.S. and Canada. In other countries the punctuation is often omitted.)

Dear Dr. Gomez:

(We use a colon after the greeting in a business letter in the U.S. and Canada. Other countries often leave it out.)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

(We use a colon after the greeting in a business letter in the U.S. and Canada. Other countries often leave it out.)

As I suspected, it's more likely my memory at fault than an actual fact.

Ernest Bywater

@sejintenej

I don't know which format Australia uses.


In Australia dates are day/month/year when written as numbers. Thus you get 11/9/01 or 11/9/2001 for 11 Sept 2001, or September 11, 2001.

........

Time is 19:30 or 7:30 p.m., but some will write 7.30 p.m.

........

Addressing a letter is the same in formal, business, and informal and you use a comma.

Dear Mr Smith,

Dear Ralph,

G'day Ralph,

Hey Ralphie,

Ralph,

........

The most common use of a colon in business is in a list:

- They start with a dash or a number.

- They are complex with multiple words in each item.

- Often they will end with a full stop, but sometimes they have a semi-colon and only the final one has a full stop.

........

Within a sentence the most common use of a colon is just before an expansive phrase, or an interrogative phrase, or a flat statement you wish to emphasis. It's also sometimes used with a quotations.Examples:

Peter had an Armalite AR7: the cute .22 semi automatic that broke down and stored in the fiberglass butt.

The only question remains is: What will happen to John.

Fred turned to Peter, and said, "I said I don't care about it: got it!"

Mike said, "Surely you remember that famous speech by Martin Luther King where he said: 'I have a dream.' It's world renowned."

REP

@sejintenej

9 : 11: 01


It appears that you are using a date format. I have never seen the day, month, and year separated by a colon here in the US. Not to say it isn't done but I've never seen it.

Replies:   Capt Zapp
Capt Zapp

@REP

9 : 11: 01

It appears that you are using a date format. I have never seen the day, month, and year separated by a colon here in the US. Not to say it isn't done but I've never seen it.


If I saw this by itself, I would assume it was a time, not a date.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Capt Zapp

9 : 11: 01

If I saw this by itself, I would assume it was a time, not a date.

hh:mm:ss. There's absolutely no way to differentiate such a date from a time. I'm unsure how that wouldn't cause widespread confusion?

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej

@Crumbly Writer

@Capt Zapp

9 : 11: 01

If I saw this by itself, I would assume it was a time, not a date.

hh:mm:ss. There's absolutely no way to differentiate such a date from a time. I'm unsure how that wouldn't cause widespread confusion?

Confusion; I agree entirely. Apparently it is a date format though I have never otherwise seen and would never use it for dates.
For time (hours, minutes, seconds) I would want some extra indicator which time format is indicated (not years, months, days or some other combination)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play
Updated:

@sejintenej


I don't know which format Australia uses


Contrary to common misconceptions, the language written and spoken by Australians is English.

As a dialect, it has more in common with BBC style English than some local dialects within England.

We are creative with our slang and lazy with our speech, but the language is essentially the same.

Some of us do not speak well. I went through school without ever being taught the difference between I and me.

EDIT TO ADD:
I just noticed you asked about FORMATS in Australia. Ernest identified those above.
Sorry for my rant. People from other countries who think Australians don't speak English is one of my bugaboos.

Replies:   Lugh
Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

For time (hours, minutes, seconds) I would want some extra indicator which time format is indicated (not years, months, days or some other combination)

Unless, of course, you use military time (ex: "23:30:57"). That's clearly not a date, but "13:12:07" might be.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

Maybe on a planet with an exceptionally long year and months with many more days than ours. And long days with more than 24 hours.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

Maybe on a planet with an exceptionally long year and months with many more days than ours. And long days with more than 24 hours.


Define a day before you can get into that discussion. The traditional one is sunrise through sunset to the next sunrise. For Isachsen and other places within the Arctic Circle it's a little longer from sunrise to sunrise to what you see in New York etc.

Replies:   REP
REP

@Ernest Bywater

Define a day before you can get into that discussion. The traditional one is sunrise through sunset to the next sunrise.


I would use a slightly different definition - the time necessary for a planet to make a full revolution about its axis relative to its sun. Using that definition, a day in Isachsen is the same length as a day at Earth's equator.

REP

@Crumbly Writer

The en-dash is defined as being the width of a small letter "n" and the "m" dash is the length of the small letter "m" is which ever font you use


I agree with what you said. However in practice, the relative widths of the respective dash characters may be overlooked.

Font styles are divided into two categories - fixed width and variable width fonts.

In a variable width font style, each character is allocated only the space necessary to display the character; thus, there is no 'white space' surrounding the character as there is in a fixed width font. As a result, the characters are compressed and the number of characters per lineal inch will vary. Without the surrounding 'white space', the width of the dash, en-dash, and em-dash are not as noticeable.

In a fixed width font style, every character is allocated the same amount of lineal space on the line of text, although the allocated character width does vary with point size. A narrow character such as an 'i' only uses a small portion of the allocated space, so it appears to have a lot of 'white space' around it. An 'n' uses more of the allocated width and an 'm' uses almost all of the allocated space, so there is less white space around 'n's and 'm's. As a result of the surrounding 'white space' varying, the difference between the widths of a dash, en-dash, and em-dash are more noticeable.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@REP

Font styles are divided into two categories - fixed width and variable width fonts.

And in many fonts, publishing characters aren't even available. As a general rule, I wouldn't rely on them for a fixed-width font, as those fonts are primarily intended for 'text only' (i.e. no special characters). You might be able to make them out, but their effect isn't what you'd get in a published book (i.e. the font is specifically kerned to reproduce the characters properly).

The white space you're thinking of is considered 'dead' white space, in that it's determined by the inability of a character to fit a specific set width. Those fonts are typically used for coding, rather than for pleasure reading.

Lugh

@Ross at Play

Contrary to common misconceptions, the language written and spoken by Australians is English.

As a dialect, it has more in common with BBC style English than some local dialects within England.


Speaking as a network engineering lecturer, and given the SOL context, it is very important, with Australian students and clients, to pronounce "router", the networking device, as "rowter".

"Rooter" may be appropriate over a drink with a lovely Australian lass.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

@Lugh

"Rooter" may be appropriate over a drink with a lovely Australian lass.


Until she responds with something along the lines of "Get rooted yourself, mate," and throws her drink in your face.

bb

Replies:   REP
REP

@Bondi Beach

I decided not to touch that opening with a ten foot pole, but now that the subject is broached, in the US we sometimes say 'root for the home team'. I got a chuckle over that saying while I lived in Australia.

While I lived in New Zealand, some of my New Zealand friends used the phrase 'Mutton dressed up as lamb' to describe older women who dressed like young girls.

Is that phrase used in Australia also?

Ernest Bywater

@REP

Is that phrase used in Australia also?


yes, and there's the reverse, as well, for the very young dressing like they're much older - but the term jail bait is more common for that.

Replies:   REP
samis

@Crumbly Writer

When I saw the discussion name, my mind must have been some place else because it flashed on the idea that the discussion was about a gay male that had a bowel resection. Stupid me.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@samis

Stupid me.


One morning I was only a quarter awake when I saw the title, and thought it was a question about semi-conductors, and wondered why they were asking about people directing large articulated trucks where to park.

Ross at Play

@REP

While I lived in New Zealand, some of my New Zealand friends used the phrase 'Mutton dressed up as lamb' to describe older women who dressed like young girls.

Is that phrase used in Australia also?

Definitely used in Australia too.

We love our sheep in both countries, often literally :)

Replies:   Bondi Beach
sejintenej

@REP

While I lived in New Zealand, some of my New Zealand friends used the phrase 'Mutton dressed up as lamb' to describe older women who dressed like young girls.

Is that phrase used in Australia also?

Also used in the UK.
One source suggests that the exact phrase is of Irish origin about 1811 with an earlier suggestion in 1810

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Bondi Beach

@Ross at Play

Definitely used in Australia too.

We love our sheep in both countries, often literally :)


Also said of the University of California, Davis [world-class agricultural programs], where "Men are men and there are more sheep than women," although I think the ratio (men to women, not women to sheep) is better these days.

bb

Replies:   sejintenej  REP
sejintenej

@Bondi Beach

Also said of the University of California, Davis [world-class agricultural programs], where "Men are men and there are more sheep than women," although I think the ratio (men to women, not women to sheep) is better these days.
bb


and of New Zealand "where men are men and sheep are afraid"

Replies:   Not_a_ID
awnlee jawking

@sejintenej

'Dressed' doesn't originate from clothing. It comes from how butchers present meat. From SOL stories, that meaning persists in the field of hunting, for example field dressing a deer.

AJ

Dominions Son

@awnlee jawking

'Dressed' doesn't originate from clothing. It comes from how butchers present meat. From SOL stories, that meaning persists in the field of hunting, for example field dressing a deer.


But then much of the earliest clothing was made from animal hides.

Not_a_ID

@sejintenej

and of New Zealand "where men are men and sheep are afraid"


Montana and Wyoming get that kind of flak as well.

Not_a_ID
Updated:

Allegedly, you go back far enough into fashion history and you'll discover that both the skirt and the dress originated as "Men's Wear" and that the earliest versions of pants were for women, not men.

Edit: That isn't to say they were rocking LBD's or any other such thing. Just that primitive clothing put the mobility advantage in favor of what we'd call a dress today, which made it ideal wear for hunters and warriors(Scotsmen and their Kilts anyone?). While pants would impair mobility but do a better job of protection while potentially using less material, making them better suited for the gatherers.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Not_a_ID

(Scotsmen and their Kilts anyone?)


why start that recently, go look at the design of a toga - even though it was for formal wear situations.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID

@Ernest Bywater

The kilt was brought up because the Scots did fight in them. Togas were formal wear, as you mentioned.

Replies:   tppm
richardshagrin

The advantage of the kilt for unenthusiastic soldiers was debated for the WW2 Italian army, so they could shit and run at the same time.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

The advantage of the kilt for unenthusiastic soldiers was debated for the WW2 Italian army, so they could shit and run at the same time.


give it up, mate, that was a crappy joke.

tppm
Updated:

@Not_a_ID

Until the Goths brought trousers to Rome, roman regular legionnaires fought in dress like garments. And while Togas were formal wear, regular people, citizens and otherwise wore garments that resembled short caftans.

Replies:   samuelmichaels
REP

@Ernest Bywater

jail bait


Also a common term here in the US.

REP

@Bondi Beach

University of California


I understand that in some parts of the US, it is illegal to wear hip boots in the fields. Does that apply at UC Davis.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

I understand that in some parts of the US, it is illegal to wear hip boots in the fields. Does that apply at UC Davis.

I don't know of anywhere in the U.S. where hip boots are illegal. They may be stupid, or inappropriate, but I can't imagine why they'd be illegal.

That said, many states have stupid laws passed hundreds of years ago which are still on the books and have never been repealed, so anything is possible.

Replies:   REP  Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

'Dressed' doesn't originate from clothing

It is used for clothing in Australia & NZ - when sheep are dressed (up for their 'dates').

Bondi Beach

@REP

I understand that in some parts of the US, it is illegal to wear hip boots in the fields. Does that apply at UC Davis.


What's a hip boot? Something to wear fishing?

As for UC Davis, I'm pretty sure you can wear anything you want.

bb

Dominions Son

@Bondi Beach

As for UC Davis, I'm pretty sure you can wear anything you want.


I'm pretty sure you would be risking your life if you showed up at UC Davis wearing a Trump for president t-shirt.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

@Dominions Son

I'm pretty sure you would be risking your life if you showed up at UC Davis wearing a Trump for president t-shirt.


It'd be OK if you had a trigger warning on it ...

bb

tppm
Updated:

@Bondi Beach


What's a hip boot? Something to wear fishing?


A hip boot is a waterproof boot that covers the entire leg up to the hip and crotch, and is indeed often worn for wading fishing and are usually cut to fit over trousers. (Then there are thigh boots which are often worn for a different kind of trolling.)

samuelmichaels

@tppm

Until the Goths brought trousers to Rome, roman regular legionnaires fought in dress like garments. And while Togas were formal wear, regular people, citizens and otherwise wore garments that resembled short caftans.

Ironic to be discussing this in a forum.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Bondi Beach


What's a hip boot? Something to wear fishing?

"Hip boots" are fishing attire where the waterproof boot comes up to your hip, as opposed to 'chest waiders', which come up to your chest and are a bitch to swim in if you step in a hole and fill them up!

Note: the original joke, such as it was, was that anyone showing up in fishing attire (aka. "country attire") wouldn't dare to show up at UC Davis, a bastion for liberal intelligentsia. The supposed joke is akin to suggesting that no one would show up at a Republican rally with a book. It was a mindless stereotypical attack based entirely on sweeping assumptions. It's hardly worthy of a literary discussion, even among a bunch of online pornographers.

REP

@Crumbly Writer

I don't know of anywhere in the U.S. where hip boots are illegal. They may be stupid, or inappropriate, but I can't imagine why they'd be illegal.


The few areas where the law was on the books were agricultural. When the fields were really muddy, the farmers would wear hip boots to protect their clothes.

Some of the Puritanical locals strenuously objected to the activities of a few of the local farmers who were into bestiality. Placing a sheep's rear leg in each of the hip boots made it difficult for the sheep to get away, and the farmer would have his fun.

At least that is the way I heard it.

Replies:   samuelmichaels
samuelmichaels

@REP

I suspect that's baaaad history.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


I don't know of anywhere in the U.S. where hip boots are illegal. They may be stupid, or inappropriate, but I can't imagine why they'd be illegal.


This is from the 'Waders (footwear)' wiki entry:

"Many states in the US are beginning to ban certain types of waders, specifically those with porous, felt soles. These kinds of soles easily host various types of invasive species that could be carried from one water source to another. The invasive organisms and plants pose a threat to fish stocks and important fish habitats."

A possible second reason has been mentioned for wanting to make them illegal, and it may also be true. I fully understand how anyone who has spent time in rain-drenched New Zealand, but not in sun-dried Australia, could have gained that impression. :)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

"Many states in the US are beginning to ban certain types of waders, specifically those with porous, felt soles. These kinds of soles easily host various types of invasive species that could be carried from one water source to another. The invasive organisms and plants pose a threat to fish stocks and important fish habitats."

It should be noted that the "felt souls" are inside the waders, where hopefully they'll never make contact with water unless the fisherman faces drowning (trust me, it doesn't happen often). Even so, it would be much easier requiring different sole liners to absorb perspiration than it would be banning all waders.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

I was quoting, not stating.
Perhaps we could start a new thread on whether all laws and regulations on government statute books have some logical or reasonable basis.
Your post seems ideal for that.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

Perhaps we could start a new thread on whether all laws and regulations on government statute books have some logical or reasonable basis.
Your post seems ideal for that.

No thanks. There are already a gazillion political rants, which never amount to diddly-squat. As they say, opinions are like assholes, every idiot has one.

That's not an criticism, Ross, just an observation about avoiding politics in general (though we keep being drawn into the public sewer as discussions in general keep circling the drain).

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

though we keep being drawn into the public sewer as discussions in general keep circling the drain


Maybe we need our own version of Goodwin's Law for Politics.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


That's not an criticism, Ross


That was an example of hyperbole that many Australians are fond of using.

It did not think it necessary to put :) after that.

I expected everyone to get I MUST be joking because my suggestion was ABSOLUTELY, and WITHOUT ANY DOUBT, the MOST RIDICULOUS and UNWANTED suggestion possible for a new thread topic.

I suggest this for the future. I know you're very literal, and I am too, but for you there is the issue many Americans would not tell that joke in that way.

The Anglo (incl. Aussie) style is to NOT SAY the punchline of a joke, but Americans usually spell it out.

I've seen Americans misquote Churchill as saying the Lady Astor, "In the morning I'll be sober, and you'll still be ugly." Every Brit and Aussie with a capacity for wit would end after 'sober', to MAKE the bitch figure out what you really meant for herself.

I suggest whenever a Brit or Aussie says something that totally befuddles you, try adding a colloquial 'Not!' after it. If that now makes sense to you, that is CERTAINLY what they meant, and assumed others would get without fail.

Ross at Play

@Dominions Son

circling the drain

I've never heard that expression before, and had to look it up. Aussies would the crudity 'down the toilet' instead.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play

@Dominions Son

Goodwin's Law for Politics

Your TOO LATE for this thread.
I described Ross at Play as a 'demented Punctuation Nazi' here a week ago.
But what would be the WORST INSULT we could throw at one another here?
'Troll' seems a likely candidate, but to be REALLY insulting it would have to be a simple expression meaning someone who believes others should obey rules.

Dominions Son

@Ross at Play

Your TOO LATE for this thread.


I wasn't invoking Goodwin's law, but rather suggesting something similar for politics on SOL threads.

Politics seems to inevitably come up on the longer threads and then people are just shouting past each other.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
richardshagrin

Politics can raise issues that don't really fit the Forum, but at least Religion hasn't been a problem here.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I've never heard that expression before, and had to look it up. Aussies would the crudity 'down the toilet' instead.

Read your own note about sublty and not "spelling it out". Circling the drain suggests the obvious, but doesn't state the obvious, leaving it for others to figure out on their own. But I agree with you, I prefer the less obvious approach. It's much less abrasive.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

Your TOO LATE for this thread.
I described Ross at Play as a 'demented Punctuation Nazi' here a week ago.

Sorry, but as Ross himself pointed out, he's still struggling--like all of us--with guidelines concerning grammar and punctuation. If he overreacts, that's a natural part of the process (as opposed to trolls, who'll continue incessantly, often stooping to sabotage after their logical arguments have failed).

I don't mind guiding someone as they navigate difficult passages, even if they take obvious wrong turns. But refusing to allow them to participate, and learn, is a misguided teaching method.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Politics seems to inevitably come up on the longer threads and then people are just shouting past each other.

I think you're referring to the "Nazi correlation" (ex: "You punctuate your stories like a Nazi!!!"). When someone is beyond reasonable discussion--often because they feel they're not being heard, they'll often revert to hyperbole (those often, use analogy is fitting in many political discussions, when the same techniques are applied in the one group as they were used in others). Still, there are better ways of expressing ideas. For authors, about the worst thing you can say is that they're "Nazi baiters". If you find yourself using that N-word, it's time YOU abandoned the topic, rather than everyone does.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

I think you're referring to the "Nazi correlation"


Nope I'm referring to current political issues, especially US politics.

richardshagrin

I am not aware that either of the major candidates, T or C, (but not truth or consequences) are or have beliefs similar to German National Socialists of the 1930s and 1940s. I haven't seen any rejection of capitalism, interest in organizing the economy on central guidance similar to fascism, anti-Jewish sentiment, interest in building up the armed forces or going to war. Guantanamo aside, there aren't any concentration camps. Of course FDR had concentration camps for Japanese Americans in WW2, so even camps are not a reliable sign of Nazi thought. I am under the impression the Communists had them before the Nazis, and there were something like them organized by Britain in the Boer War in South Africa circa 1900. And maybe the USA in the Philippines. Now death camps is a Nazi trademark, but neither T or C has espoused them as far as I know.

It might be a good idea not to call someone you disagree with a Nazi, just because you disagree with them.

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play
I've never heard that expression before, and had to look it up. Aussies would the crudity 'down the toilet' instead.

Then from CW-
Read your own note about sublty and not "spelling it out". Circling the drain suggests the obvious, but doesn't state the obvious, leaving it for others to figure out on their own

I'm reminded of a very popular book (and later movie) in Australia called 'They're a Weird Mob'.
It was about the experiences of an Italian immigrant trying to come to terms with Australians, and their weird sense of humour.
To quote a classic, "We are a 'Weird Mob'".

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Sorry, but as Ross himself pointed out, he's still struggling--like all of us--with guidelines concerning grammar and punctuation.


DO I NEED TO PUT :) AFTER EVERYTHING I POST.

There was a post mentioning Gibson's Law - the tendency of online forums reaching a point where comparisons to Nazis are made.
I had (jokingly) described MYSELF as a 'demented Punctuation Nazi' in an earlier post.

I responded with a post including "I described Ross at Play as a 'demented Punctuation Nazi". That was ANOTHER JOKE. At first glance it looks appalling, but only because I used my pen name instead of 'me'. That is a very Australian style of humour - allowing others to figure out the real meaning of something that sounds bizarre.

PLEASE, when I change my pen name to 'Ross being very Serious' you can make those those types of interpretations, but I post them under 'Ross at Play'. I'm playing with your minds, for YOUR amusement. That's what Aussies do. We can't help ourselves. WE ARE A WEIRD MOB!

If ANYTHING I write really confuses you, TEST IF THE OPPOSITE makes sense. It usually will, and then that is what I meant.

TRUST ME WITH THIS TOO, if I ever intend to be offensive, you will have absolutely no doubts that was my intention!

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Ross at Play


DO I NEED TO PUT :) AFTER EVERYTHING I POST.


For example, last night I drafted a long reply to a VERY INFORMATIVE post by Dicrostonyx (7/18/2016, 10:53:58 AM) on the 'Another show vs tell article' thread.

TRUST ME, it is REQUIRED READING for all new writers, and older writers may learn from it as well!

He had mentioned contractions can be confused with possessives, and it gets harder still with plural and/or words ending with an s-sound.

I could not stop myself adding 'I should refrain from writing any true accounts of things I did during my university days with a friend who was also named Ross - on the grounds that may put my editors' mental health at risk!'

Today's thought was if I did, I would define a proper noun The Rosses, to allow for a possessive form. But I cannot stop myself adding to that 'but neither of us was in the least bit proper.'

Typical Aussie self-deprecating humour was to add this last night, "Our other friends had no problems with us; I was always 'Grotty Ross'." What American would ever say that?

Later on there were comments about passive voice being correct when things are done to characters without their consent.

I could not stop myself writing '(The question of consent) might get pretty tricky for writers of BDSM stories, but at least they won't end up in goal like Boy George if get those answers wrong.'

My advice to all those who thinks my comments are offensive is, 'Get over yourselves, get accustomed to other styles of humour, and start having some fun!" :)

Note, I did add the :) this time.

Dominions Son

@Ross at Play

There was a post mentioning Gibson's Law


That's Goodwin's Law.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Dominions Son

That's Goodwin's Law.

You're correct. Ha! Ha!

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