You Got Style
· Pointed Takes on Style Delineated ·
October 2, 2002
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· (Un)pointed Takes on Style (Mis)delineated ·
The lesson was historical, beginning so:
It was like the Fall of Man when some "woman" naturally got the point about spacing, I said.
That's when we got flows like this:
You can image the bloody battle that followed — sharp swords of punctuation drawn — with half my class going at the other half's jugular, so to speak.
The noise was awful, and the blood worse (I hate to see young people sacrificing themselves so).
But judging from some Dear-John letters I then shared, you'd hardly know who won at last. You can see why for yourselves:
As you can see, punctuation is problematic.Permalink
Syntax, prosody, and semantics — punctuation affects each of these. A single choice in punctuation can change the meaning, structure, tone, and rhythm of a sentence. A mark of punctuation can convey a special kind of meaning that cannot be achieved any other way. Punctuation is no small matter. In fact, billions of dollars may be at stake as is the case in this classic punctuation puzzler.
Directions: This multibillionaire failed to punctuate his will. Pretend that you are one of the interested parties (Mort, Sam, George, Louise, or the Judge), and punctuate the will so that you will get everything.
Wonderful. I've passing acquaintance with Aristotle (the Philosopher, not the shipper), sent a kid to Rockefeller's pricey U. of C., and worked in the early '60's at Hughes's stingy Aircraft Company. I'm of course enchanted by your puzzler, but since I'm not named in the will, I'm going to let Mort, Sam, George, Louise, or the Judge collect. But someone, share the dough, please. By my calculation just a "fraction" of anyone's possible take would be, well . . . I'm spending too freely in my imagination already.
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