Thursday 27 January 2011
Working in Ottawa today --The Oxford quote
Good morning folks,
This morning I am on my way to spend the day working in Ottawa.
In the Globe and Mail today in Russel Smith's column.. prior to continuing I'll mention that I can't remember anything else that he has written, but his byline pic looks familiar. In his column he has revealed what sounds like a fairly informal poll and study into his reader's habit regarding the double space after a period and the use of serial commas and finally the practice of including final punctuation within quoted text.
I use the double space after a period. It is what I learned as correct. However it seems that it is outdated and that editors and proofreaders hate them. Well, tough. I will still use them, in fact, I may even end sentences early. Just so that I can use more of them. Like this. Many readers agreed.
The next item was the serial quote, often called the Oxford quote. It works like this, here is a list of several items, an apple, and orange, a pear, and an orangutan. The comma after the pear it seems is actively advised against by the Canadian Press Stylebook. Sometimes I use it, other times I don't. I find it very useful when listing sets of conjoined items, such as a pear and an apple, a donkey and a goat, and two sheep. There was no consensus among the readers.
Finally, the final punctuation within the quote. This is referring to quotations at the end of a sentence such as Jack the Ripper said, "That's a lovely pendant you are wearing, may I touch it?" The capitalized "the" is then presumably how the reader knows that I have started a new sentence. I prefer to include what ever punctuation as appropriate for the quote, but then to quote myself, "to finish my own sentence as I damn well please!". Russel did not reveal how his readers responded, but added that consistency was the key.
Have a good day, and please work on your spelling and punctuation.