Friday, May 21, 2010

Things I Hate

Friday, May 21, 2010
Hate is a strong word. But I feel it's appropriate here.
I am a professional proofreader. My specialty is actually media relations, but that almost always goes hand-in-hand with being the chief grammar nazi in an organization. So I spend all day debating whether it's "a unique" or "an unique" and "an honest" or "a honest" and if that should be Members or Members' and why.
Fortunately for us all, I dig it.
Unfortunately for youse guys, I need somewhere to let off my grammar steam, and that place is often my blog. If you read here long enough, like Breanne, you'll notice that I love commas and hypens and elipses and run-on sentences. That's because I have to actively reduce my use of these things in my writing (and the writing of dozens of other people much, much smarter than I) 37.5 hours a week.
But at the core of my being, there are a few things I hate.
1. The wrong you're and your.
2. Messing up their, there and they're.
3. People who don't get the difference between its and it's. SING THE STRONGBAD SONG IN YOUR HEAD. I do.
3. "Gifted". THAT IS NOT A WORD. Someone gave you that shirt as a gift. It was a gift. I am going to give this as a gift. The gift itself is not the verb!
4. When people use 'is' when they should use 'are' and vice-versa. This usually only happens when someone is speaking. You don't see it written down improperly very often. There are many things that bother me, but this is one of the big ones.
5. Fancy words. I love a robust vocabulary, but you aren't convincing me that you're any smarter when you use them improperly. Yeah, technically you could use that word, but in most cases you'd be better off with a simpler one to get your point across without confusion.  Also, descriptions of things that border on pornographic? A bit icky. (ie: the brushtrokes pulsate across the canvas, throbbing with light and dripping with energy)
6. Gifted. Did I say that already? It makes me want to kill myself when I read it or hear it. I'm not exaggerating. Don't make me do it.


Senor Ping said...

I hate it when people do not put 2 spaces after a period.

Franklin said...

You're truly a gifted blogger...

Meg said...

Aww, Frank. That's sweet of you to use gifted properly and stroke my ego. I'm glad we're friends.

Dad - trust me. You don't need to double space after a period anymore. I'll find a reputable source that says so, or any of my dear design/comms/marketing peeps can feel free to step in and back me up.

patchworksheep said...

wait, what? since when do you not need to double space after a period?

...or properly capitalize things...

that's really more of a style thing. ;)

Breanne said...

Ooo... I got a blog mention! :)

No double spaces needed after a period. That's very old school and makes me insane. The computer is smart enough to make an additional space after the period for you. That is a typewriter carry over. I can get Kevin to share more if you're interested.

Everything on this list I also hate, but I'm finding I'm a bit more lenient depending on where I found the error. A blog for example, forgivable. Twitter, definitely, although I still might call you on it. A wedding invitation error is unforgivable.

Senor Ping said...

People used to get quite excited when you "Miss a Period". Have things changed?


Kevin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin said...

I'll try to give the shorter, less ranty version...

Initially, typesetting consisted of mono-spaced typefaces. Meaning, to the machine (literally hydraulic machines), every letter would take up exactly the same amount of width on the page. A lowercase "l" had the same overall dimensions as an "M".

Now, fonts are kerned. Kerning means that different pairs of letters have different amount of space between them. The letter "W" and then the letter "e" will be placed closer together than an "W" and an "h".

Two spaces after a period became a convention because it improved readability with mono-spaced typefaces that were very prevalent in the past (think typewriters). The two spaces would signal to your brain that the sentence was over, and it would give you a quick break.

Now, with proper kerning done on periods nearly 100% of the time on computers (except for the mono-spaced typewriter style fonts), the double space isn't necessary. The space placed after periods isn't the same size as two blanks, but it is the appropriate distance to still give your brain the visual cue that the sentence is over.

This is similar to the lack of a need to indent each new paragraph, but that's much more convention and style than the "two period" issue.

Kevin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meg said...

Thank you, Kevin!


Also, Dad, I'm really not sure about this discussing missed periods with you on my blog thing.