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Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

My Struggle Against Quotation Punctuation Rules

It has come to my attention that I look "stupid" because of the revolutionary way I work with quotation marks. Seriously, if doctors worked on disease the way I've worked on punctuation, there would be no need for hospitals. You see, I've found a way to fix something that was broken in English ever since some old lady decided arbitrarily one day that periods and commas go inside quotation marks. That old lady's name is Old-School Grammar, and I will today nail the last nail in her coffin.

There are 2 main uses for quotation marks in English. The first and oldest one is the direct quote. Here are some examples of this ancient form of communication:
  • The smart man said, "I hate grammar."
  • "Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch," clarified the stupid man.

As you can see, the punctuation marks clearly belong inside the quotation marks, because the marks apply to the person who is speaking. He or she is completing his or her thought. Admittedly, I have been confused by this in the past. Now that I've thought it through, this all makes sense. This is standard, and everyone loves it.

The second use of quotation marks in English today is really two different sides of the same use. We use quotation marks to denote the title of something, i.e.:
  • I just read "My Struggle Against Quotation Punctuation Rules".
  • All of them support "neighborhood watches", where people watch neighborhoods.
Or, we use it to ironically put the title or status of things in doubt, i.e.:
  • These old insane ladies with their beehive hairdos and potbelly stoves are the "arbiters of language".
  • VH-1 decided the "Top 50 Songs" using their "pool of experts", namely, 5 rock critics who are living in the 70's and a janitor named Stan.
Now, don't be scared. Let me explain this to you. The punctuation in cases where you are titling something still belongs to the sentence proper, not what's inside the quotation marks. Therefore, you need to end the sentence, not the quotation. The sentence and the quotation are two different things, and they both need to be punctuated. The only reason we don't punctuate the end of a direct quote is that it's redundant. Check it out:
  • The smart man said, "I hate grammar even more now.".
There you're finishing both the quote and the sentence, but since you've already stopped the quote with a period, another period after the quote is redundant and stupid, and looks like a little guy with a mohawk. It's proper in terms of logic, but improper in terms of form. We won't stand for it.

Now, I know this goes against everything you English weenies have been taught, but the only reason you think that is you've been brainwashed into thinking something looks "right" or "wrong". Did that sentence look wrong to you? Really? I don't even know if this is a fight I'm willing to go to the mat for anyway. I'll probably get tired of hearing crap from people who think I'm just a moron who doesn't know some arbitrary rules that enable English weenies to think they're better than everyone else. But my logic makes sense, right? Come on, people.

1 Comments:

  • At 6:19 AM, Blogger the professional said…

    I was recently informed that hot dogs -- "weinies," if you will -- are sometimes referred to as red hots. i had never heard this before. with this in mind, and should the author ever wish to allude specifically to this grammar snob in the future, i would prefer to be monikered The Great Grammar Red Hot.

    ridiculous, maybe.
    pompous - never.

     

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