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Eats, Shoots & Leaves

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[18 Jun 2006|11:51am]


I trusted you Google. This is how you repay me?!
Face, meet palm.
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Please sign my petition! [08 Mar 2006|11:40pm]

Just follow the link below to read it for full details. It covers the issue of American Spelling being taught in Canadian Kumon....which shouldn't be happening.

Teach Canadian English in Canadian Kumon

Note: in the comments area...please try to keep comments mature and educated to help maintain the integrity of the petition
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ESL blog [28 Jun 2005|12:06am]

Hello all.

I have been reading Eats, Shoots and Leaves for a couple days now; I have been inspired! I have created a spot for people to contribute examples of the wretched grammar that we're bombarded with every day.

Aim your browser at: http://lynnetruss.blogspot.com

So far I have one example of what I'm looking for. I'm hoping for pictures of the grevious errors you see every day.

I know, this could constitue spam on this community. I apologise and will not be offended if it is deleted.

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Readability [20 Jun 2005|10:51pm]

(cross-posted from my journal)

This bit is specifically for the writers and teachers on my friends list, but feel free to use this bit of recently-gained knowledge in whatever way you find most appropriate.

Open up a document in Microsoft Word (I hear this will work with other programs, but I only know how to guide you through Word).
Once it is open, go to Tools on the toolbar.
Select Spelling and Grammar...
When it indicates the first error it thinks you should fix, select Options... at the bottom of the box (NOTE: If you have no errors at all, make one intentionally so the program will find and try to fix it)
Put a checkmark in the box next to Show readability statistics
Click OK
Finish the spelling and grammar check, and at the end you will get a rather thorough diagnostic of your writing, including words/characters/paragraphs/sentences counts, sentences per paragraph, words per sentence, characters per word, percentage of passive sentences, Flesch Reading Ease, and (this is the best part of all) the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level at which you are writing.

You know, like sometimes you pick up a young adult novel that says it is for people ages 12 - 15 or grades 3 - 5 or whatever? Yeah, like that...

For example, what I have just written is at the 10.5 grade reading level.

Isn't that the coolest?!?

Go forth; have fun.
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When sticklers unite, things get done... properly. [09 May 2005|08:37pm]


First it was news about hyphens, then question marks. Now we're proud to present the next in Harry Potter punctuation news: the comma, which has been inserted into the GoF teaser poster on GobletofFire.com. The tag line now reads, "Difficult times lie ahead, Harry," as you all said it should. See it HERE.

Leave it to a book-based franchise to bring us so many grammatical exclamation points.
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Just trying to get a discussion going... [20 Apr 2005|02:44pm]

[ mood | thoughtful ]

It is my observation that this is not a terribly active community. Not entirely surprising, given that we are all of 16 members here. In any event, I thought I would do my best to jump-start the discussion and flow of ideas by putting some of my own musings out there and seeing if anyone bites. The first thread that comes to mind is probably off-topic, so slap my wrists if you see fit.

Since I am a relatively new LJ-user and forum-member, I find the concept of having an open discussion with a large number of people via the internet quite fascinating. People with widely varying geographical locations, mindsets, interests, and opinions can gather in these on-line forums and communicate with one another. Fans of obscure or highly specific topics, who might previously have never found another soul to confide in, suddenly have an entire community of on-line members to whom they can relate.

Before the internet, such open, inclusive, and rapid communication was unprecedented. We are living in a time when the concept of communication is evolving (or devolving, depending on how you look at it) before our eyes. All signs would indicate that the internet is here to stay, and perhaps to take over the world. What does this mean for the vehicle of our communications: the English language? One need only to peruse a non-stickler-infested forums to see the havoc being wrought on our mother tongue.

Is this cause to panic? Will the fabric of the English language, so carefully and meticulously woven by centuries of use and protected by grammarians and educational institutions, unravel like a cheap sweater? I think not. But it will most certainly change, perhaps even substantially. It remains to be seen whether the “netspeak” vernacular will evolve apart and separately from more conventional and cultured communications, or whether it will come to influence the entire English language.

What I find to be both seductive and unsettling about on-line communications is that it is ultimately impermanent. There is something wonderful about an impromptu, rapid-fire exchange, but something equally disconcerting when it is replaced moments later by a new thread or post. Internet communications suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder. In that way, it feels as though the more people who populate message boards and forums, the more energy and creativity we are hemorrhaging into an abyss. Where does it all go? What is the worth of on-line communication in terms of the evolution of our language and our society? Have we opened a wound that we won’t be able to heal? Or is the internet merely the new location for pointless conversations that previously took place on front porches with friends and neighbors? But that gets in to the idea that we are both connecting and isolating ourselves with our technology. I’ll save that for another post, or perhaps my livejournal.

Whew! What a rambling, disjointed post. As I said, this is probably off-topic for this forum, but I’ll serve it up as food for thought anyway. I don't mean to dominate the board here; I'm just trying to start a discussion.

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There are others! [15 Apr 2005|10:48pm]

[ mood | geeky ]

Hello all,

I recently bought and devoured Lynne Truss's “Eats, Shoots and Leaves.” I feel as though a whole facet of myself, shamefully hidden away until now, has finally been validated and is free to flounce out of the proverbial closet... or goose-step as the case may be. I am a grammar/spelling/punctuation nazi. But for the sake of political correctness, I think I'll go with Lynne Truss's word for it from here on out. I am a stickler, and proud of it!

I have only recently discovered the world of on-line forums and message boards, and it has been eye-opening to say the least. In most cases, I have to turn off my grammar radar and silence my inner stickler in order to look past the glaring errors in some of the postings and actually read the content. It’s rather taxing, however. I log off with my fingers twitching with the effort it took not to send spelling and grammar corrections to everyone who botched up who’s and whose; your and you’re; there, their, and they’re; then and than; affect and effect; ad nauseum. The facial tick usually goes away after an hour or so, but the mental scarring may never fully heal, to say nothing of the psychological trauma of witnessing so many acts of violence against the written word. It’s a warzone out there and we need some medics in the worst way. I have a good mind to post the prescriptive portions of Miss Truss’s book on every on-line forum in existence in hopes of at least staunching the blood flow. But I digress.

I was particularly struck by her mention of finding a decades old note penciled in the margins of a book that she was using for research. Decades old. That’s older than the internet itself. A little scrawled note still persists while I can’t find an interesting essay that was posted in an on-line forum just last week, because it has evaporated into the intangible realm of 1’s and 0’s known as the internet, never to be seen again. I don’t know whether to find that amusing or depressing. It makes me yearn wistfully for the days of card catalogues, bookplates, and long handwritten letters. I wondered if anyone else was similarly moved by Miss Truss’s passing mention of that marginal note.

Thanks for reading my ramblings. I don’t know what the discussion boundaries are for this forum, so if I’ve overstepped them (or simply bored anyone), my apologies.

P.S. I am conscious of the fact that I am now among fellow sticklers. If there are any mistakes in the above missive, please don’t skewer me too viciously. And if I ever post again, it won't be this long. I promise.

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Namaste and Topic #2 [07 Apr 2005|02:48pm]

I realize I've been away for quite a long time. I apologize for not being the moderator I should be.

I would now like to propose Topic #2, which may jump-start this community discussion [again].

An ellipsis, according to Dictionary.com, is generally defined as an omission. I've noticed a great amount of ellipses running around on LiveJournal that seem instead to indicate a [pregnant] pause rather than an omission. [E.g., I'm not making this up, I swear ... ROFLing ...]*

Topic #2: Discuss the phenomenon of LiveJournal in relation to manipulating punctuation marks, specifically the ellipsis. Give examples where you can, but please leave direct quotes anonymous.

* This is an actual quote from a comment found in a random LJ community. I swear I didn't make that up.
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Otium, a literary/art magazine [20 Mar 2005|12:27pm]

I apologize if this is an abuse of this community, but I've been lurking for a while and had something that I wanted to share with you guys.

I am on the editorial staff of a brand new online literary/art magazine, Otium. We launched our inaugural issue on March 9, with seven works of fiction, two stage pieces, one interview, two artists (sketch and photography), and one HTML project. I hope that you'll check us out!

Also, Otium is currently accepting submissions for its upcoming second issue, to launch April 9. Otium accepts prose of all forms for publication: short stories and memoirs, plays and screenplays, fiction and nonfiction. Since we are an online publication, Otium accepts submissions of all lengths, with no word or page limits. Otium also accepts digital art submissions, from photographs and sketches to graphic art. We are especially fond of projects that combine both elements of text and images. (If you would like to submit your previously unpublished work, please do so at otium at listhost.uchicago.edu)

Tell us your story. We'll give you infinite space.

Thanks for listening.
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[24 Dec 2004|08:12pm]

Hello! I found something today and thought you all might enjoy it. It is a web site called "The Best of British: the American's guide to speaking British." While not entirely approptiate, it is interesting and helpful. Please be aware, however, that it will mention several cuss words. Hope you enjoy it! In a comment, post one of your favourite words. :) One of mine was:
Amber -
Not only do our traffic lights go in a different sequence to yours but we don't have yellow!
Well actually we do but we always call it amber. The sequence is red,
red and amber (together), green. Then green, amber, red. Yours go from
red straight to green.

Thought that was interesting!

Hope you all have a wonderful, merry Christmas. May the Lord bless each of you tomorrow. :)
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New [22 Dec 2004|12:00pm]

Hello! I got Eats, Shoots and Leaves as an early Christmas present and absolutely love it. :) I haven't finished it yet, but have already discovered my inner stickler. I look forward to discussing punctuation and grammar with others of the same mind. ;)

Let me introduce myself a bit. My name is Melanie and I am a senior in highschool. I work part time as an editor for a writing teacher. I am also an American, and look forward to discussing the differences between British and American styles. I must admit, I am a British-wanna-be. ;) I look forward to getting to know all of you!
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Newbie. [31 Oct 2004|05:37pm]

Hello everyone. I'm new.

Ok, I admit, I am a stickler!
My punctuation is not perfect, but I hate seeing things which are obviously wrong. For example, "I went to the shop's" (the shop is what?)

Ok perhaps that's a bad example. Never mind. Anyway, hello everyone!

Loz x
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[20 Oct 2004|09:12pm]

I'm glad to see that this community is starting to grow and activate!

Is anyone interested in a moderator position for this community? I have a terrible habit of disappearing from Internet access at long and random intervals, and I'd like to have someone ready to take over until I re-appear. If you're interested, either leave a comment to this post or e-mail me at sassyfratz@hotmail.com.
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Ahh! [20 Oct 2004|01:00am]

[ mood | tired ]

Alas, a place to rant and have people agree with you. Hehehe...anyway, I just wanted to make a comment on a user I know in a forum I go to. This user parades around the forum proclaiming himself the grammar/spelling nazi. Normally, I would be pleased to see a fellow stickler. However, this user repeatedly uses words such as "thats" or spells out "your" when it should be "you're". He also once wrote, "lieing". I was twitching on a regular basis when I read his writing, and I am extremely annoyed with his supposed title.

What also bothers me is that here in Canada we are made to spell using British vocabulary, but when it comes to writing essays and using punctuation, we are forced into the MLA style, which is thoroughly American. Argh the frustration!

Also, I have a job as an assistant at a reading and math learning center, and I mark the reading activities of children. When I gazed upon the work, what did I find?! AMERICAN SPELLING. IN CANADA. I was appalled. In fact, I'm thinking of writing a letter to the head office of Kumon (the learning center) with my complaint. It is ridiculous. Teach children the foundation of spelling American-style and then in school they wonder why they're always wrong! Horrible. Anyway, I must sleep. 'Tis late. Good night! =)

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Hello! [19 Oct 2004|04:20pm]


I hadn't realized I was only watching, not belonging to this community... I just wanted to say hello and Hurrah! I am glad such Brilliant Grammar Minds (tm) were able to find each other on the big wide world that is LJ.

That being said--I was driving a few weeks ago when I saw a Billboard speaking of "Jasons Woods". I began to hyperventilate.

Sticklers Unite! :o)

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Yay! [19 Oct 2004|01:21am]

[ mood | sleepy ]

Alas! My mind's haven is found at last! Eats, Shoots and Leaves is actually a coursebook for one of my English courses in University, but I intend on keeping it until I die. In fact, my professor has only used the whole, "Every lady in the land, hath blah blah blah" poem from it, and it's already nearing the third month of our course. But of course, seeing the subtitle: "The Zero-Tolerance Approach to Grammar" upon the cover, I devoured the book ahead of time from cover to cover in my stickler-obsessive way. I laughed at the horrid examples of bad grammar, and could verily relate those examples to documents printed from my previous high school, and even now in University (this is truly sad). I am delighted in finding this community, and yet a bit disappointed that I could not be the first to create it! Hahaha...oh well, it is pleasing to see fellow sticklers out there amongst this world of ignorant "English users". I wish to discuss more on my issues with grammar and related matters, but right now I am in grave need of sleep and must finish my thesis paragraph. Bye-bye! And THANK YOU for starting this community. Lynne Truss deserves such a community...and it saddens me to see only a bare 7 members! *sighs* Ah well... STICKLERS UNITE! (Forgive me if there are any spelling/grammar errors within this post, but as I said, I am tired.)

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Excess [05 Sep 2004|10:28pm]

There's a lovely new store opening near my work tomorrow. As I was commuting in today, I happened to notice the countdown banner read something like this:


I cringed and thought that perhaps the store wouldn't be quite so lovely as originally thought (this remains to be see, because, after all, it might not have been the management's/company's fault). Perhaps I should take a photo and submit it to the Truss website.
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Topic the First [22 Aug 2004|11:47pm]

Well, it seems I'm still the only member of this community, so it's befitting that I start off the discussion of the first topic as listed in the info (and, as it happens, I suppose I'll actually be going slightly off-topic).

The major difference between American English and British English that is immediately visible to most people is not something I consider grammar as much as... spelling. The two are related, of course, but I consider them separate components of language.

Anyway, I found a great website that enumerates the basic differences between American and British spelling rules. The most well-known change between languages seems to be the "(American) -or vs. (British) -our," or perhaps the "(A) -er vs. (B) -re," but there are many other variations that are more subtle or just unknown. I know I personally was taken by surprise when I found the word "meow" spelled (or spelt?) in the British version of one of the Harry Potter books as "miaow." And I read the LiveJournals of several Canadians; I had to have a double-take when one girl mentioned "foetuses" and "draughts" instead of "fetuses " and "drafts."

Of course, all those spelling variations still make sense; for example, "miaow" just elaborates, à la Eliza Doolittle, the vowel sounds of "meow."

But I still can't get over "gaol" (that's "jail" for my fellow Americans).
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[15 Aug 2004|02:10pm]

A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.

"Why?" asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

"I'm a panda," he says, at the door. "Look it up."

The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.

"Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves."
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