Thursday Three #54

  1. Here’s an interesting article about whether style guides can help you write better. Style guides are useful for learning the basic rules of language and the peculiarities of an organization or publishing house, but they won’t make your writing better. The only way to do that is to read, and read a lot.
  2. Once upon a time, “Suga Suga” by Baby Bash was my jam. Then I heard a song (Robin Schulz’s “Sugar”) that heavily borrowed from it, and I thought… wow. You know you’re getting old when songs from your high school days are getting sampled into newer songs.
  3. Random “housekeeping” thing: I haven’t been checking my email address (maggie underscore smith at live dot com) because I rarely use it anymore and it won’t let me reset the password for some odd reason. So if you’ve emailed me there, I promise I’m not ignoring you. If you need to reach me, you’ll get a much faster response if you use quickstep 7 at gmail dot com.

They Is, They Are

This post from Anthony Lee Collins reminded me of a post that I’ve been wanting to write for a while, even though the gender/sex part of using the singular “they” did not arise until the last couple seconds of the video.

A few weeks ago at work, a couple of editors in my department put together a presentation about the new trends in gender and language and how these are affecting our editing. I was kind of reluctant to hear about the butchering of our language and terms like “ze” and “zir” used as substitutes for the pronouns “he” and “him,” but the good thing about all this is that it shows that the English language is still alive and well. The bad thing is that this can get downright confusing when you have two (or more) different people who want to be called by two (or more) different sets of pronouns.

Apparently, the Associated Press, the Washington Post, and the New York Times are all leaning toward using “their” instead of the awkward “his or her” or instead of using just “his” to cover all of humankind (because that’s *gasp* sexist!). Personally, I prefer “they” and “their” to any of the other oddball pronouns that are starting to be used (e.g., ze and zir, ze and hir, xe, ve, ne). But where it starts to get even more awkward is the singular “they.” When referring to a person who identifies as neither male nor female, it may eventually be appropriate and grammatically correct to say, “They is going to the store.” or “They loves cats.” It may be a long time coming before the singular “they” is widely used, and it’ll definitely take some getting used to, but thankfully, there are still some other ways to remove the dreaded “his” and “her” pronouns without having to use a new and potentially awkward and unrecognized term.

Guess I Must Be a Jerk

This “scientific” study says that ending text messages with a period makes you look like a jerk.

I’m kind of a noob when it comes to texting. I type 90+ words per minute, but I text at about 1 word per minute because it takes forever for me to peck at the keys on the screen. Because I spend so much effort typing out a single text message, I like to make sure it’s grammatically correct. I also like to be that annoying person who makes a point of using proper grammar and punctuation in texts just because no one else bothers to. So I guess I am a jerk. 🙂

However, I do agree that ending a very short message with a period seems cold. Like if you say “Thanks.”, it might come off as terse or sarcastic. That’s why I normally use an exclamation point with “Thanks” or similar kinds of words. Most people would probably use “thx” and not even bother with the period, which seems less rude for some reason.

If you really don’t want to be misconstrued via text, just call the person. Or better yet, talk to them face to face if you can. Then you don’t necessarily have to worry about all that pesky punctuation.