Language and English

From: Ethan Dicks <>
Date: Fri Jan 4 15:03:36 2002

--- "r. 'bear' stricklin" <> wrote:
> On Fri, 4 Jan 2002, Stan Barr wrote:
> > It's one of the syntax elements of standard written English...
> These are all _typesetting_ rules, and not so much grammar rules.

It's all part of syntax and style, not grammar as you say. How many
people on this list ever turned in a paper where the teacher/professor
insisted on strict adherence to "Strunk and White"?
> Many early typewriters, in an attempt to reduce mechanical complexity to
> the utmost, even lack differentiated type for the numerals '1' and '0'
> as either can be suitably approximated in typewritten documents by the
> lowercase letter 'l' and the uppercase letter 'O', respectively.

On Topic: my mother's IBM Selectric type balls do not all contain a
different facet for "1" (one) and "l" (ell). She had a 2"x4" plastic
clip-on key guide for some type balls. ISTR that if you pressed the
"1" key, you got some sort of bracket with the Courier ball installed.

> Even the American English "rule" of placing all punctuation inside
> quotation marks is a _typographical convention_ that stems from the early
> days of movable type, when the period and comma were the most fragile
> pieces of type and were prone to breaking off in the press.

> Example:
> At the SCM prompt, type, "SHOW BOOT."
> At the SCM prompt, type, "SHOW BOOT".
> Which one is correct?

This exact convention is discussed in "The New Hacker's Dictionary". It
mentions that American English convention is to put punctuation inside
the quotation marks (but does not give any explanation), and that
Hacker usage prefers things in quotes to be the literal thing you type
at the computer. I tend toward the modern usage, but I _do_ know the


P.S. - in answer to an earlier question asked of the group in general, yes,
I have taken Latin. It was a required course (as I think it still should
be, everywhere, as it once was). I did not attend a public high-school,

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Received on Fri Jan 04 2002 - 15:03:36 GMT

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