Herbie Mann Comin' Home

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Toughen-Up The Grammarian In You


Two things strike me; they are grammatical. The first involves semi-colons; the second, hyphens. Jabber today has taken the place of deliberative writing; it's not just a matter of emails or chatrooms, both of which, of course, encourage the worst in the interest of the quickest.

It's not offensive chatter that spurs me, it's an antiquarian interest; the ability to grab onto a 'form', in this case, grammatical, and just work it. Thus, I chose, some years back, the semi-colon; it hardly gets used, and I figured it was lonely.

For the same reason -- quirk -- I took to hyphenating phrasal verbs; ferreting-out verb forms whose meaning requires the use of a following preposition (or two) and not simply spacing between them. Looking-up a phone number does not mean craning one's neck; dumbing-down one's speech does not entail miming into one's throat.

Consequently, to avoid missubvocalizations, I've instituted a new personal rule, which in a Kantian sense, I feel should be held universal; we must do-away-with spaces when semantic issues necessarily appear.

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