Not Just Another Grouchy Grammarian

Musings about language, books, grammar, and writing in general

Archive for the month “April, 2013”

Sometimes, I Don’t Understand People.

Your grammarian was asked this evening to plug a site collecting funds for victims of the West Texas thing.

I looked at the website, and — if this guy is honest — it’s nowhere near ready to be plugged. It has a couple of articles, but no information on who the fund it, what its mission is, who the principals are, etc.

Given all the scammers who arise after these sort of catastrophic things, you’d think he’d know better.  Especially after complaining to me that he suspects another site to be that of a scammer because it only has one page.

I offered him feedback instead, and offered to look at the site again when it was complete, and he got kind of huffy about it.

The thing is, while I’m sure he’s sincere I cannot in good conscience plug something asking people for money unless I know exactly who is collecting that money, where and how it will be disbursed, who is behind the collection, and all the other stuff you want to know before giving to charity. It would be irresponsible of me to to do so.

If I ask my readers to click on something, it is something I can totally endorse. And, if I try to ascertain that your site is something on the up and up, I don’t expect huffiness as a response.

The guy tried to backtrack and say that the site was not complete, but he wants linkbacks to start coming in now. He may want that, and he may find others who will do that, but I won’t. He claims to be working with the mayor of the town affected. Why not have the mayor write a testimonial for him, then? All I see on the site are some uncredited articles about the incident.

To me, that’s a warning that this guy is not going to be doing what he says he is. Especially since his response to being asked to provide more information to his visitors is to get huffy.

Anyway, you guys can rest assured that I will never steer you towards something that I do not believe to be totally on the up and up.

Semicolons are Sexy

A friend on LiveJournal pointed me to this wonderful little blog post by Oliver Miller.  Since I’ve always been rather fond of semicolons, I figured that I should pass this one on to you guys.  After all, we grammarians are among the last people standing who don’t want to retire the semicolon.

I do really lament the fact that people no longer seem to understand how to use semicolons. Then again, I lament that people no longer understand how to use commas, and ellipses.  That’s just h0w I am.  I actually like the grammar I grew up with.

When I grew up, we had to diagram sentences. For those of you who are young, that means taking a sentence and sorting it into parts. It was like sorting the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle into the proper order, and I considered it fun and a challenge.

Diagramming a Sentence Courtesy of Wikihow.

Diagramming a Sentence
Courtesy of Wikihow.

These days, they don’t teach that anymore, and I am not thrilled about it.  Yes, it could be tedious; yes, it took time to master.  However, it also left me with a much better understanding of the language. It helped me understand the complex sentences that the writers we studied used.  It gave me an entry point for my love of language and the written word.  I don’t know what it is that has replaced it in today’s educational faddism, but I mourn its passing.  It made language much richer for me, because it taught me something about the part each word in a sentence played.

Sigh. I know it’s old-fashioned, and that you all are more used to me looking t the way language evolves and noting that it does happen. I know that language evolves.  I just wish we, as a society, still cared as much about how our language works as we do about who a celebrity was dating.

Okay, a semicolon might not be as sexy as (insert your favorite celebrity here), but they still make complex sentences more comprehensible.

Your Grammarian has been Sick Enough to Stay in Bed Reading…

First of all, let me note that many of my friends are writers.

I am not generally big on reading the work of friends, because I am always afraid I will be disappointed.

That said, I have spent much of the last few days reading some the books Seanan McGuire has written.  At the second seder, D, our intrepid hostess, loaned me the first book of Seanan’s “InCryptid” series, Discount Armageddon, and gave me a copy of the second, Midnight Blue-Light Special, to keep (she had accidentally ordered it twice).  They were fabulous.  I adore her heroine, Verity Price.  I adore her heroine’s friends and colleagues.  I love her hobby is free-running, and that she really wants to be a ballroom dancer.  I adore the writing — it’s sassy and snarky, and totally fits with her characters.

Having finished those, I returned to her “October Daye” Series. I had read the first book, Rosemary and Rue, shortly after if came out, but life then got “interesting”.  I finally got a chance to put the second book, A Local Habitation, on hold as an ebook at my library, and take the third, An Artificial Night, out as a paperback. I tore through them the night before last, only putting them down briefly when I couldn’t focus and fell asleep (the wonders of antibiotics) for short periods.  Those done, I borrowed the next one, Late Eclipses, as an ebook, and put the following one, One Salt Sea, on hold.

If you like urban fantasy, you will adore these books.  Hell, even if you don’t like urban fantasy, you should give them a try.  They are well-written, chuckle to yourself (and occasionally laugh out loud) funny, and just really good reads.

IF you do try them, please let me know how you like them.

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