Nothing left to believe in

December 7, 2006

I can forgive Oxford University Press Australia for having an ugly, poorly laid-out web site. Building web sites ain’t their bag. What I can’t forgive is poor grammar from the publisher who is supposed to define the English language. From their Site Map:

  • Is Oxfords site secure?
  • What is Oxfords return policy?
  • How do I get my name on Oxfords mailing list or obtain a catalogue?

It’s pretty simple stuff. Oxford is a proper noun. When it posseses things, it has an “‘s” tacked on the end. Oxford’s site. Oxford’s return policy. Oxford’s mailing list.

Bowie asks about “anymore” vs. “any more”.

“Anymore” is a word in American English, but not in British English. According to the Oxford Manual of Style, it means “nowadays”, which is a separate meaning from “any more”. It does have an entry in the Macquarie Dictionary (the definitive resource when it comes to Australian English), but I can’t tell you any more than that without paying AUD 12.95 plus GST to subscribe.

P.S. the Macquarie Dictionary is on my del.icio.us wishlist if you’re looking to buy me a gift.

This is what I believe to be true:

  • "Bracket" is a general term, which can be used to describe a parenthesis ('('), a square bracket ('['), and so on. Confusingly, "bracket" is sometimes used to describe square brackets.
  • "Parenthesis" describes one of the round brackets that are common in English text ('(').
  • "Parentheses" is the plural of parenthesis.

Again, feel free to correct me. My source is Wikipedia.

Ellipsis Mania…

April 6, 2006

After some healthy debate here at work, I believe the quality of our lives have all been improved by coming to a deeper understanding of the ellipsis (three dots which signify trailing off). For those who turned up late:

  • An ellipsis is three dots long.
  • In HTML, you can use the entity … to signify a horizontal ellipsis (as opposed to the vertical ellipssis, which we'll ignore for simplicity's sake).
  • In Microsoft Word (and WordPress for that matter), three full stops will automatically be converted to an ellipsis, much in the same way quotation marks and apostrophes are converted into left and right quotation marks and apostrophes.

Here are the important points:

  • In the middle of a sentence, an ellipsis should be surrounded by spaces. For example, "I can't believe it … you seriously did that with your mum?!" is correct.
  • At the end of a sentence, there is no spacing around the ellipsis, but to be perfectly correct, there should be a full stop after the ellipsis. So, "I just can't believe it…." is correct. However, this practice is pretty rarely used, so "I just can't believe it…" is acceptable.

Note that this is just my understanding, but I'm pretty sure it's correct. If anyone can correct me, feel free to do so.