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pedantry

Jerry Friedman 06 Aug 98 - 12:43 PM
Joe Offer 06 Aug 98 - 03:14 PM
Bill D 06 Aug 98 - 03:40 PM
Jon W. 06 Aug 98 - 03:43 PM
Jon W. 06 Aug 98 - 03:45 PM
Joe Offer 06 Aug 98 - 03:57 PM
Art Thieme 06 Aug 98 - 04:12 PM
Bert 06 Aug 98 - 04:37 PM
Sheye 06 Aug 98 - 04:43 PM
Joe Offer 06 Aug 98 - 05:33 PM
Bill D 06 Aug 98 - 06:59 PM
Alan of Australia 06 Aug 98 - 10:18 PM
Bob Bolton 06 Aug 98 - 11:29 PM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 07 Aug 98 - 04:28 AM
Jerry Friedman 07 Aug 98 - 04:21 PM
Mountain Dog 07 Aug 98 - 04:27 PM
ashamed to identify myself 07 Aug 98 - 04:33 PM
Cuilionn 08 Aug 98 - 03:27 AM
Barbara 08 Aug 98 - 12:58 PM
dick greenhaus 08 Aug 98 - 10:16 PM
Bill D 08 Aug 98 - 10:41 PM
Mountain Dog 09 Aug 98 - 08:56 AM
Bill D 09 Aug 98 - 09:49 AM
Pete M 09 Aug 98 - 06:31 PM
Philip Hudson 09 Aug 98 - 06:42 PM
Philip Hudson 09 Aug 98 - 07:08 PM
Bob Bolton 09 Aug 98 - 10:35 PM
AndreasW 10 Aug 98 - 02:47 AM
Jürgen Morath 10 Aug 98 - 04:55 AM
Dani 10 Aug 98 - 09:47 AM
Ireland O'Reilly 12 Aug 98 - 05:47 PM
BSeed 12 Aug 98 - 07:19 PM
Bob Bolton 12 Aug 98 - 07:54 PM
dick greenhaus 12 Aug 98 - 09:46 PM
BSeed 12 Aug 98 - 11:49 PM
Bob Bolton 13 Aug 98 - 12:27 AM
Bob Bolton 13 Aug 98 - 12:28 AM
BSeed 13 Aug 98 - 07:47 PM
Kris 13 Aug 98 - 09:15 PM
Ireland O'Reilly 14 Aug 98 - 02:31 PM
Philip Hudson 14 Aug 98 - 03:34 PM
Ireland O'Reilly 14 Aug 98 - 03:55 PM
Jon W. 14 Aug 98 - 04:17 PM
BSeed 14 Aug 98 - 04:59 PM
Jon W. 14 Aug 98 - 05:42 PM
Ireland O'Reilly 14 Aug 98 - 06:38 PM
Ireland O'Reilly 14 Aug 98 - 06:44 PM
BSeed 14 Aug 98 - 11:13 PM
Joe Offer 15 Aug 98 - 05:36 AM
Joe Offer 15 Aug 98 - 09:30 PM
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Subject: pedantry
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 06 Aug 98 - 12:43 PM

Most of the time I restrain myself as the spelling and grammar errors go by, and I don't even correct the misspelling of "lullaby" with an e (oops, I guess I slipped up there), but if you're making "bios" an official part of the page that people see every time they drop in to the forum, please, please, please leave out the apostrophe. One bio, six new artist bios.

Thank you for this and everything, Max!


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Aug 98 - 03:14 PM

Ah, a man after my own heart!
Apostrophes are used in contractions (it's) and to show possession (but not in "its," the possessive form of the neuter singular pronoun). They are used to show plural forms only in very rare situations - and you can usually leave apostrophes out even in those situations.
When in doubt, leave it out.
Joe Offer, Self-Proclaimed President
Commission to Stamp Out Extraneous Apostrophes
(that's what I get for being the son of an English teacher)


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Bill D
Date: 06 Aug 98 - 03:40 PM

And, when we get that fixed, we'll begin, working on extraneous commas, which, in some folks sentences, seem to breed, as the thought progresses. (We had a thread on Americanisms awhile back. I have a couple of instruction books from England in which commas are seemingly sprinkled at random. Ii is almost as if the author taped his lessons and someone transcribed them, putting a comma at every pause.)


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Jon W.
Date: 06 Aug 98 - 03:43 PM

Commas ain't nothin' but apostophes with the blues.


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Jon W.
Date: 06 Aug 98 - 03:45 PM

But speaking of bio's doesn't an apostrophe indicate that letters were left out...in this case "graphie"


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Aug 98 - 03:57 PM

Ya got a point there, Jon. I thought of the contraction angle, too. I've seen many apostrophes that are more offensive than the one in Max's "bio's." Besides, if he put "bios," somebody would think he was talking computerspeak. In situations like that, I chicken out and do it the safe way - I would have put "biographies."
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Art Thieme
Date: 06 Aug 98 - 04:12 PM

Point well taken!

But I've a question'r two! I suspect there're folks out there who spell as poorly as I do. How, when posting to a thread, I might ask, does one, when he or she wishes to do so, check on our spelling??

I'll wait with bated breath for your answer! (I just ate sushi.)

Art


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Bert
Date: 06 Aug 98 - 04:37 PM

Art,

That Sushi tastes pretty good if you roll it in cornmeal and fry it.


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Sheye
Date: 06 Aug 98 - 04:43 PM

Joe: Is that anything like being the son of a preacher man?

The only one who could ever reach me,
Was the son of a preacher man,
The only boy who could ever teach me,
Was the son of a preacher man,
Yes he was, he was, oh yes he was.

Sh


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Aug 98 - 05:33 PM

Don't know about the sons of preacher men, Sheye. With 16 years of Catholic education, including 8 in the seminary, I was brought up to understand that preachers who had sons were soon to be ex-preachers.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Bill D
Date: 06 Aug 98 - 06:59 PM

Art...and others who need a spelling checker..(IF you use PC..not MAC)...at this site you can get one for FREE! it works quite nicely...doesn't do fancy tricks, but will do all yer common checking... (ooops..it says 'yer' needs to be looked at !) well, I just said 'ignore' on that one..)


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 06 Aug 98 - 10:18 PM

G'day Bill D,
Great program, it even has a UK version for those of us who like to get our colours right! Hey, it even lets me say "G'day". You have to wonder though about a spell checker that has a button labelled "unistall"! Surely American spelling can't be that different.

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 06 Aug 98 - 11:29 PM

G'day Max,

I think I will have my two bob's worth on this one.

People have been known to call me a pedant, but I reckon you can get away with the apostrophe - as long as you maintain that you are pedantically treating 'bio' as an elision, not a neologistic word.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 07 Aug 98 - 04:28 AM

Art, there was a time when Max offered us a spell checker and most people didn't want it. I would certainly use one for posting. At the moment, when I am lazy I let you all suffer with my bad spelling and when I am not lazy I write the message in a text editor and run my own checker (guess how many time that happens.)

Murray


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 07 Aug 98 - 04:21 PM

Joe, thanks fer yer support!

If you're really attached to the ', you can get away with it as Jon and Bob said--but then if you care about consistency (not just of pudding), you should write the singular with an ' also: one bio'.


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Mountain Dog
Date: 07 Aug 98 - 04:27 PM

Dear Alan,

Don't you 'spose a "unistall" is where one would house one's unicorn...?


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: ashamed to identify myself
Date: 07 Aug 98 - 04:33 PM

Maybe it's where they keep the toilet in a unisex bathroom.....


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Cuilionn
Date: 08 Aug 98 - 03:27 AM

I cannae imagine whae that wee spell-checker wuid dae wi' this sairt o' wrichtin'... It'd be muckle guid fun tae gie it a gae, I'm thinkin'. Send th' wunner tapsalteerie an' for'ard it tae th' hie-heid-yins. Och, an' wuid ye believe I'm th' grand-dochter an' grait-grand-dochter o' English teachers mysel'? Ye ne'er can tell whae's tae blame, oor whae's got it comma-in' tae them for claimin' sic unco' guid grammarie.

Wi' a wink an' a nod an' a curtsy,

--Cuilionn


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Barbara
Date: 08 Aug 98 - 12:58 PM

Hey Cuilionn, how can I learn to talk like that? Is there a dictionary or a course or something, or is it just spend enough time in Scotland?
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 08 Aug 98 - 10:16 PM

Jerry et al-- The function of punctuation is to avoid confusion and aid in clarification. Bios is, sadly enough, a term that has a specific meaning in the computer world. As a professional editor, I'd choose to go with the apostrophe, for the sake of unambiguity. Or, as Joe suggests, spell out "biographies".


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Bill D
Date: 08 Aug 98 - 10:41 PM

I know that time and space gain new importance when things are happening in cyber-space...but I find myself refusing to abbreviate a lot...and I try to type in such a way as to sound like it is ME!! I don't eat mayo, and I don't read bios, and I don't change 'you' to 'U', to save a second or two...just my little idiosyncracies


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Mountain Dog
Date: 09 Aug 98 - 08:56 AM

Gud 4 U, Bill D! I 2 eschew H-8-ful abbrvs such as those B-luv'd by Artists 4-merl-E known as Prnz n cyber-feebs w/no sense uv lit-style.

Thnx 4 yr D-fnz of L-O-quenz!

Mtn Dg


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Aug 98 - 09:49 AM

ah, Mtn.K9, U fill me with hope...on to polysyllabic profundity, and promulgation of esoteric cogitations without rodomontade and thrasonical bombast! Eschew obfuscaton, as well as H-8-ful abbrvs...


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Pete M
Date: 09 Aug 98 - 06:31 PM

Ah well. I could never resist a bit of pedantry, "BIOS" is of course an acronym and as such, should be written as capitals.

Bill D, I agree entirely. I would contend that the art and purpose of conversation whether face to face or electronic, is to add enjoyment to the transfer of information.

The use of the mangled abbreviations Mtn K9 so masterfully demonstrated not only negates this purpose but reminds me of a favourite question of mine for Computer science graduates seeking employment. "What in your opinion will be the most important language in the computer industry in ten years time?" Almost invariably they will answer "C++" or "Java" or similar. I would only employ those who answer "English"!

Hey Ho, off for my post-parandial perambulation.

Pete M


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Philip Hudson
Date: 09 Aug 98 - 06:42 PM

Bob Bolton: Maybe I am more pedantic than thou. I think of bio as a neologism. But it is not one that I would readily use. The pesky apostrophe is a real bother since it indicates both a contraction and possession. I was taught that when there is a conflict, the contraction reigns. But the apostrophe in bio's serves neither purpose if it is to be taken as a plural indicator. The apostrophe is never a plural indicator. I cannot imagine bio' being a contraction for biography, but I suppose it could. It keeps one from making a possesive bio', or a plural bio'. Maybe we could invent another symbol for either contraction or possession indication. But perhaps not. As an earlier writer to this thread has said, we are not talking about something of earth shaking importance here - unless, of course, someone misunderstands a vital communication and blows up the world as a consequence. But then he/she would probably have misunderstood if it were written the "correct" way. This is a little long and may not even be two bob's worth. By the way, is it "two bob's worth" or "two bobs' worth"? I am not only pedantic, I am verbose. - Philip Hudson


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Philip Hudson
Date: 09 Aug 98 - 07:08 PM

Pete M: I now know that BIOS is an acronym. I wondered what the discussion was all about. Miss a small point and miss the whole point, I suppose. As an acronym it cetainly doesn't get an apostrophe unless one can have a BIOS that possesses something. By the way, I don't want to know what a BIOS is. I was an assembly language and Fortran programmer for years but that was years ago. When they came out with Ada I rebelled. I have never written a line of C++ and I am none the worse for it. Your question for Computer science graduates about language and your desire for the answer "English" is perfect. Language is the most noble artifact that God has allowed man to create, and the English language is the greatest language of all. We need to talk to computers in English. What we need to do especially is to get rid of all that silly punctuation, symbols and misspelled words. At least Fortran was "like" what it was, a "formula" language. I am glad I can concentrate on English now. You contributors who put in some of those "hard words" really please me. I get to look them up and learn something in my old age. _Philip Hudson


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 09 Aug 98 - 10:35 PM

G'day Philip,

It is definitely "two bob's worth". No Australian would have had "two bobs" in the pocket - it would have been "two bob" ... back when two bob (twenty cents) was worth talking about. The sum could easily have been as a single two shilling coin, a florin (a term recognised, but rarely used by Australians).

Incidentally, the earliest English florins were marked "one tenth of a pound": England's first coin in a planned swith to logical decimal currency that was abandoned when the Poms went to war (again) with the French. The florin was now derided as "the traitor's coin" because the French had decimal currency and so the English should not.

Bob, for shilling, is a slang term that goes back to the convict era in Australia (1788 - ~1850s) and probably far back into its English roots. It was often used for a generic small sum, as in "(silly as a) two-bob watch".

regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: AndreasW
Date: 10 Aug 98 - 02:47 AM

I hope that in ten years time the computers do understand English AND OTHER LANGUAGES AS WELL (sorry for shouting), but I have to make the point that there are a few countries where English is not the spoken language!
They might even hold the majority of earth population:
China: ~1 billion of ~5 billion earth population, India another ~1 billion, the rest of Asia, all of South America, all Europe except UK and Ireland, biggest part of Africa

Andreas, defender of the non-english-speaking nations


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Jürgen Morath
Date: 10 Aug 98 - 04:55 AM

While reading this thread I was very astonished that pedantry is obviously well-known not only in Germany.

Nevertheless you are right ;-)


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Dani
Date: 10 Aug 98 - 09:47 AM

As long as we're indulging in editorial pedantry, I'll have to insist that when we refer to the ' we call it the "'" to avoid confusing it with the '''. Is that clear, class?

"...you say tomayto and I'll say tomahto..."


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Ireland O'Reilly
Date: 12 Aug 98 - 05:47 PM

Bill D: glad to C U R back at it... speaking out against abbreviations, that is! :) *grins*

Bob Bolton: Interesting bit about the bob!

All right, then... here's my two cents about the "bio's" issue: BIOS (with all capitals) is the acronym, the "compu-speak" word. "bios" (with little letters) however, one would assume is a shortened version of "biographies". I cringed when I saw the apostrophe. (I am a beast about punctuation... one of the reasons why kids would have hated me, had I become a grammar teacher, and also one of the reasons I'm doing post-grad work in journalism instead of education!)

In any case, one must also keep in mind the context in which our now famous "bio's" appears. Obviously, artists don't have "BIOS"... unless they are AI. It has to be "bios". "bio's" would denote "belonging to bio" or "of bio".

So, "bios" gets my vote. Of course, if it were really up to me, I, like Joe, would be likely to use "biographies" as I'm not really much for abbreviations myself.

Cheers,

Ireland


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: BSeed
Date: 12 Aug 98 - 07:19 PM

What I'd like to know is how many bios can dance on the head of a pin. --seed


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 12 Aug 98 - 07:54 PM

G'day Ireland O'Reilly,

Yes, but if "...one would assume(bios) is a shortened version of "biographies...", the shortening must be signalled by an apostrophe. The problem (and sometimes glory) of English is that words and punctuation can have more than one meaning and the reader is expected to understatnd by context.

In this context "bio's" is a legitimate plural of "bio'" for (abbreviated) biography ... no matter how much one cringes at the promiscuous strewing of text with unnecessary apostrophes.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 12 Aug 98 - 09:46 PM

James Thurber came up with the neat word, "carcinomenclature". Referring, I guess, to metasticized neologisms.


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: BSeed
Date: 12 Aug 98 - 11:49 PM

Sorry, Bob, but it doesn't work that way. Nobody writes bio'--just bio. My earlier question should have been how many bios can dance on the head of an apostrophe. --seed


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 13 Aug 98 - 12:27 AM

G'dat BSeed,

I don't really argue that any DOES write bio' ... only that one could argue that it was acceptable - especially if cornered by a bunch of bloodthirsty pedants!

Regard(les)s

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 13 Aug 98 - 12:28 AM

I'll try that with a bit more proofreading!

G'day BSeed,

I don't really argue that anyone DOES write bio' ... only that one could argue that it was acceptable - especially if cornered by a bunch of bloodthirsty pedants!

Regard(les)s

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: BSeed
Date: 13 Aug 98 - 07:47 PM

I dunno, Bob: "the shortening must be signalled by an apostrophe" sounds very prescriptive to me. I don't see any room for bio in it, as you state it. If the shortening must be signalled by an apostrophe in the plural, then surely the same must be applied to the singular, no?


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Kris
Date: 13 Aug 98 - 09:15 PM

All this and I still don't know what pedantry is, I guess I'd better consult Mr. Webster. The pedantry is where we keep the groceries in my house. Kris


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Ireland O'Reilly
Date: 14 Aug 98 - 02:31 PM

Hi, Kris.

To be pedantic means that one displays one's knowledge more than is necessary; therefore, pedantry is excessive display or application of one's knowledge.


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Philip Hudson
Date: 14 Aug 98 - 03:34 PM

It has been my experience that a noun coined by truncation looses its apostrophe pretty soon after it is coined. I should think the reason is to avoid conflict with the possessive. On the other hand, words like goin' (shortened going) tend to keep their apostrophes. In Texas, nobody puts the g on the end of a verb so it may as well be left off in writing. I know, the world is not comprised of Texas. There is also Australia!!! Philip Hudson


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Ireland O'Reilly
Date: 14 Aug 98 - 03:55 PM

and Nova Scotia... :)

g-dropping is a world-wide phenomenon among English-speakers. Linguistically (verbally, that is) this form is accepted, athough often viewed as nonstandard. In writing, howevef, g-dropping is generally frowned upon, unless used to show colloquialism in written dialogue. By some writers and writing instructors, though, even this latter use is seen as unacceptable.

Language is constantly evolving though, and so someday, g-dropping may no longer be considered "g-dropping", but may actually become a standard spelling convention.

Abbreviations do tend to "lose" their apostrophes after a very short period of time (if they ever had them at all). In modern English, we no longer write 'flu for "influenza" or 'phone for "telephone". To my knowledge, there have never been apostrophes associated with "info", "recap", "auto", "fridge", or "rehab" and these are all, as you know, abbreviations. I agree that the absence of the apostrophe diminishes the confusion. as I said before, "bio's" would denote "belonging to bio", just as "fridge's" would denote "belonging to the fridge" or "of the fridge".

In any case, it is a period (.) that should signal abbreviations, not an apostrophe. Note: Ont. (Ontario); Can. (Canada); ex. (example); etc. (et cetera)...

Well, now that this pedantic has had her say, it's time to go.

Cheer's :) (i couldnt resist!) :>

Ireland'


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Jon W.
Date: 14 Aug 98 - 04:17 PM

I was afraid someone would bring up abbreviations and negate my logic on the use of apostrophes in contractions.

Max, how about getting rid of the apostrophe next time you're in the code and have done with it?


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: BSeed
Date: 14 Aug 98 - 04:59 PM

Hey, any of you fellow pedants know how I can get rid of Boldface once I no longer need it? A few messages ago I typed greater than B less than at the start, a single word i wanted to emphasize. After the word I did greater than P [for plain text] less than, didn't work. Nor did < B > cancel it in another posting. (I put the spaces around the B in the line above, hoping it wouldn't read as a command and put this in bold. If it's in boldface, well--too bad.


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Jon W.
Date: 14 Aug 98 - 05:42 PM

Don't you do < /b >? Joe??? Anyone?


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Ireland O'Reilly
Date: 14 Aug 98 - 06:38 PM

Yes, to get rid of < B > type < /B > to end the bold tag.

< P > like this is a new paragraph tag, not plain text. you don't need a tag for plain text.


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Ireland O'Reilly
Date: 14 Aug 98 - 06:44 PM

Well, I guess I messed THAT up! Typed in the actual code... Well, I hope this makes sense to you, Bseed.

to start a bold tag, type "<" with a "B" in the middle and a ">" after it.

to end the bold tag, type "<" with a /B in the middle and a ">" at the end of it.

There are no spaces in that code.

a < P > (with no spaces, of course) is a new paragraph tag, not plain text.


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: BSeed
Date: 14 Aug 98 - 11:13 PM

Thanks, Ireland. I'llget itsome day.!!!!--Sorry, folks, just practicin' my format thingies. --seed


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Aug 98 - 05:36 AM

Well, Seed, I almost fixed it before, but then I thought that might be pedantic or anally retentive or something, so I left you to the wolves. I noticed that they politely ignored your typo - perhaps hoping that you might do the same for them some day.
So, did I fix it the way you wanted it? You had a paragraph mark in there instead of a close-bold.
In a thread like this one, it really is embarrassing when you make a mistake, isn't it? (and I had to look up "embarrassing" to avoid harassment - which I also had to look up, especially since this is particularly tasty Scotch I'm sipping tonight).
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: pedantry
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Aug 98 - 09:30 PM

Dear Perfesser Pedant,
All my life, or at least since I first heard the acronym, I have been writing the plural of MIDI as MIDI's. Have I done wrong?
I beg forgiveness, if contrition is warranted.
-Joe Offer-


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