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Grammar thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Alex Spindler, Aug 9, 2002.

  1. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    I thought I would solicit some opinions/facts from the knowledgeable and literate among this fine community (butter up - check). Here are just a few grammar questions that I would like to pose to you in the hopes of getting your feel for their use. I'll try to stay away from things that are obviously wrong, but I may not be successful. I certainly don't know the terminology of many of the items below, so feel free to enlighten me.

    First - trailing commas
    Whenever I'm listing several elements in a sentence, I typically use ", item, item, and item". I have seen many instances where people use "item, item and item". Which is correct or preferred?

    Second - possessive before an acronym
    The use of "a" or "an" before a word is very simple until it is an acronym. I feel compelled to place an "an" before XDSL or LD because of the vowel sound the acronym presents. So which of the following is better: "Place it over an LD asset" or "Place it over a LD asset"?

    Third - pluralization of acronyms
    Perhaps I'm just set in my ways, but it just feels wrong to pluralize ancronyms that represent nouns with an " 's ". For example, LASERs looks more correct to me than LASER's. I have seen many people who do the opposite. Which is correct or preferred?

    Also,
    Feel free to correct me on any grammar errors in this post as well. The more anal you are about this the better all of my writing will be, so let it rip!

    Thanks!
     
  2. Thi Them

    Thi Them Producer

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  3. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    So which do you prefer?
     
  4. Thi Them

    Thi Them Producer

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    I don't consider myself to possess perfect grammar, so my preferences don't matter. [​IMG] Ask Jack Briggs to see what he prefers.
    ~T
     
  5. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    First: always preferred the no comma version.

    Second: Actually you should be us a LD, though it always seems wrong to me, IIRC. I think the idea is that LD represents Laser Disc and is only a literary shorthand, whereas reading it out you'd say the whole word. Something like that.

    Third: I don't prefer either...
     
  6. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    On the first two I think its either. On the commas I usually leave off the last one because the and makes it redundant. For the acronyms I use a or an depending on the acronym and how it sounds best when spoken.

    I do believe that on the third one the apostrophe would always be wrong. However sometimes it makes sense because not putting the ' makes the s look like part of the acronym. Like "I have two SVSs" just doesn't seem right. And I don't always capitalize all acronyms so that makes it worse.
     
  7. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Brian
    With regard to the question about the use of commas in a list, I once read a story about a writer who preferred to use the comma between the final two items in a list, and his editor who insisted on removing the last comma. In order to get the editor to stop it, the writer threatened to put the following dedication in his next book:
     
  8. Todd K

    Todd K Second Unit

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    1) Either is correct, though I think according to the AP style book, you should only use a comma before the final term if it is really long.

    Example:

    Larry, Moe and Curly

    A loaf of bread, a gallon of milk, and a stick of butter.

    2) Don't know, but personal preference for me would be an "a" before consonant sounds and "an" before vowels.

    Example:

    An LD

    A DVD

    An EP

    3) Again, according to the style book, apostrophes are not necessary, but can be used after only one letter.

    Example:

    He received 3 A's on his report card.

    He bought several VCRs
     
  9. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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  10. Janna S

    Janna S Second Unit

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    I am a zealous advocate for the serial or Oxford comma (what you call the "trailing" comma).

    Since meaning may sometimes be confused without that comma - witness Brian's humorous example above - I prefer to use it always. Thus I need not evaluate when it might be necessary and when not, and readers need not see me switch it on and off and wonder (even subconsciously) why. Watching serial commas is not a subconscious thing for me as a reader - the intermittent and apparently random use of the serial comma can make me nuts!

    This is an exception to my usual preference - indeed the modern preference - for correct but minimal punctuation.
     
  11. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    This forum is great. Thanks for the feedback. I'll be back with another installment of "Everything you wanted to know about grammar*"
    * but were afraid to ask
     
  12. Ken Garrison

    Ken Garrison Supporting Actor

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    Ain't got no widescreen tv.
    HEY! Get off OF the table!! (off of is unacceptable)


    OH, and guess what!!!
     
  13. Ken Garrison

    Ken Garrison Supporting Actor

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    This is me 500th post! YEE HAW!!! *shoots guns in the air*

    Dong gone, we must cellybrate!!!
     
  14. Paul D Young

    Paul D Young Second Unit

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    When using quotes and parentheses I can never remember whether to include the puctuation within them. Any suggestions?

    Examples:
    Johnny yelled, "Get that chicken out of here!"
    or
    Johnny yelled, "Get that chicken out of here"!
    or even
    Johnny yelled, "Get that chicken out of here!" so I proceeded to pack up the chicken and send it away.

    Since the exclamation point is only part of the quote, can it be used in the middle of that sentence? See, I'm really confused.
     
  15. Christopher P

    Christopher P Supporting Actor

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    Paul, exclamation point before the end quotes.

    When writing letters and such, one space between sentences or 2? Got in to a small tiff with my boss about this one.

    Chris
     
  16. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    I've heard that the double spacing was standard in the old printing days due to inaccurate spacing (or something like that). With the current computer printing technology, it is supposedly optional. Me? I put double spaces just to help with the legibility. Forum software often strips it away, however.
     
  17. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    Perhaps someone could chime in on the proper use of the etcetera? How is "lions, tigers, etc."? Bad, horribly wrong, or correct?
     
  18. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    Where's Rex? This is his sort of thread... [​IMG]
     
  19. Thi Them

    Thi Them Producer

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  20. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Cinematographer

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