Here are a few odds and ends—some a tad acerbic, some not so much. And I swear I’m not trying to sound like the late Andy Rooney, or even a parody thereof (YouTube link1)—but there may be some hint of that herein, for which I apologize ahead of time.
Since I began this with a linked YouTube video, that brings me to the first topic.
The ubiquitous YouTube intro
Is it part of the YouTube user agreement that the default greeting on every vlog it hosts is “Hey, guys, what’s up”? Asking for a friend.
Nope, the word is yeah
I’m unclear as to when people got the notion that ya or yea is how you spell yeah. I could see yeh, maybe. But yea? Someone misusing that apparently never ran into someone quoting a “Yea, verily,” from the gospels. And the misuse of ya eludes me altogether, unless somebody somewhere thinks it’s the way a variety of languages spell their word for yes and decided it would be cool to—ahhhh, no, don’t think that works either.
Hating the platform doesn’t require ALL-CAPS
I make no bones about it: I am a dyed-in-the-wool Apple fan, and from ’way back in the eighties at that. (I would say, “Apple sheep,” but I think this guy may have that term locked up.) Of course, many don’t share my high regard for that company and its products, and they absolutely have a right to feel that way.
However, I don’t get the web commenters who, usually with antipathy, refer to the Macintosh as the MAC (or just MAC in referring to the platform). All caps? No. Not ever. It’s Mac. It was never an acronym for something.
MAC, however, is an acronym for either a MAC address or the telephone industry term, moves, adds, and changes (in which case, that would be MACs). So my Mac has a MAC address and, if it were in a place of business rather than my home office, probably would be sitting near a phone that is subject to a MAC order. Fair enough?
This one is simple. The abbreviation for advertisement is ad—not add.
Lose the kraken
When one loses something, he is misplacing it. When he looses something, he is setting it free. Those two words are not interchangeable.
Yes, we do need the Oxford comma
I include in my Twitter profile and in a footnote on the About Me page some kind words about my whole-hearted advocacy for the Oxford comma, sometimes also called the “serial comma.” As I imply on selfsame Twitter profile, the Associated Press disagrees, letting it be a matter of judgment as to whether it’s necessary to avoid confusion. (That doesn’t mean I can’t command AP style when that’s required, because I can and do; it means only that I think the AP is wrong about this.) That school of thought says it would rather rewrite sentences and, perhaps, screw around with their intended rhythm than use the Oxford comma.
However, I think it’s easier not to have to make that call every frickin’ time the subject comes up. Why leave a grammar-related decision to a general public increasingly unconcerned with grammar when, instead, you can simply pat ’em on their heads, say, “Here, do it this way every time,” and be done with it?
No, we don’t need double spaces after periods unless . . .
I really thought this would’ve gone away back in the late nineties as the growing adoption of Windows in the workplace took most people out of monospaced-character displays and into the (sometimes) wonderful world of proportionally spaced on-screen characters. After all, the whole reason my generation and those before it were taught to put two periods between sentences was because we were typing on, wait for it, typewriters. Those typewriters almost invariably were using monospaced characters, back in that era where we couldn’t imagine that it would be only a few more years before we could type and print stuff in that ultra-cool Times Roman and Helvetica. Mmmm boy.
But once your output was proportional type, one space was quite enough, as it has been in conventional typography for decades. Even legal documents have been overwhelmingly in proportional type for a long time, now.
If you’re using monospaced typefaces for whatever reason, then, yes, double-space between sentences to your heart’s content if you want. But if you’re using proportional type—which the vast majority of you are—there really is no reason to type double spaces between sentences. That’s especially true if you’re preparing copy for the web, since browsers usually ignore more than one space after a period unless you purposely work around that.
And I’d better end it at this point—before I start saying, “Didja ever wonder . . .?” (Sorry, Mr. Rooney.)