Um, where do I even begin?
NYTimes, I say this needed a serial comma:
“…contend that successful groups share three traits: a superiority complex, feelings of insecurity and impulse control.”
I think that from now on I’ll just hand this piece out at the start of my editing classes:
I must also caution you from the outset that this course is appallingly, unrelievedly dull. A student from a previous term complained in the course evaluation that “he just did the same thing over and over day after day.” Exactly. So will you. Editing is done word by word, phrase by phrase, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, and we will go over texts in class, word by word, phrase by phrase, sentence by sentence, and paragraph by paragraph. No one will hear you scream.
I’m going to turn my back for a minute so that anyone who wants to bolt can escape.
And now, having exhausted the supply of exclamation points I had laid up to last through the end of the decade, I return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
(May I add that while, of all the places on the face of this Earth that I have no desire ever to visit, Vegas ranks way up at the top, nevertheless, the fact that the American Copy Editor’s Society is conferencing there in the spring would almost tempt me to go.)
Just as the NYT style guide is slaying hyphens, Oxford Dictionaries offers a guide to when you ought to use ’em. (My favorite semi-obscure* use is the suspended hyphen, as in: “Renters may choose from a selection of two- and three-bedroom floor plans.”)
*Yes, I used a hyphen there.
So now I’m “fussy and old-fashioned”? Darn it, I like hyphens, (ironic there was a hyphen in “old-fashioned” there) and cannot condone this willy-nilly abandonment of same. And here’s one reason why: “Skipping hyphens has become a popular branding trend…”
Restrictive vs. nonrestrictive elements: what’s wrong with this picture?
Actually a kind of interesting article about Einstein’s corpus callosum (and did you know he died of a ruptured aneurysm?). But our business here is the comma. The ones around “Dean Falk” don’t belong. “Dean Falk” is restrictive/essential information here. There are (one presumes) plenty of evolutionary anthropologists (which also, btw, I wouldn’t cap, but maybe that’s The Las Vegas Guardian Express house style), and, therefore, “Dean Falk” is not parenthetical information. It is essential information to clarify which evolutionary anthropologist The Las Vegas Guardian Express is referring to.
Just a comma convention. No crimes have been committed here.