pedantry

anonymous asked:

What is the difference between "due to" and "owing to"?

‘Due to’ means ‘caused by’. So if you could put ‘caused by’ into the sentence instead and it sounds okay, you can use ‘due to’.

‘Owing to’ means ‘because of’, which is not interchangeable with ‘caused by’. 

An illustration of the pain this has caused me:

(you can’t say ROAD CLOSED CAUSED BY SNOW, can you? no! it sounds weird!)

(ROAD CLOSED BECAUSE OF SNOW. bearable.)

(ROAD CLOSURE CAUSED BY SNOW. lets you keep ‘due to’ which I admit is a way better phrase than the alternative.)

Literally five people in the world care about this. My mother (a contract law specialist, and therefore a Precise Terms expert) taught it to me when I was very young. The only thing this knowledge has ever brought me is anger. And now I give it to you. 

You’re welcome!

anonymous asked:

I feel like you're kind of the Neil Degrasse Tyson of Tumblr. Everytime I see one of your posts it's like this overly detailed analysis of some dumb joke or something.

Pedantry as a form of entertainment has a long and distinguished history.

A Sandwich By Any Other Name...

Kylo, whilst suffering from Melodramatic Flu, asks Hux in his most pathetic-dying-of-consumption-not-long-for-this-world voice for a “peanut butter and jelly sandwich”, which Hux dutifully makes for him, despite also having the flu and not being Kylo’s maid thank you very fucking much. To the letter. A real peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Lime jelly in fact. Very British Hux knows full well Kylo means jam but after the disgusting uncarbonated-lemonade debacle there are somethings with which up Hux will not put. The jello/jelly/jam issue being one.

Of course, Kylo Ren is a human garbage disposal so he eats it anyway, even though the bread is falling apart and he ends up wearing most of it.

A week later Hux opens a Pringles tube to find it half full of tuna. He shouldn’t have said he was craving fish and chips

4

Of all of these, I especially love Doreen’s defensive “No I do NOT need to get a life!”

Doreen you’re screaming at the radio and upbraiding your butcher

A key piece from 3x17 that I think we have all overlooked. Somewhat brought up in blog post. I’m VERY EXCITED about this development:

Nursey is a good copy editor!

Being a good writer or interested in literature does not automatically make you a good copy editor. Even having an eye for typos does not automatically make you a good copy editor. Being a good copy editor involves adherence to strict and sometimes arbitrary rules, a grasp of the fine line between accuracy and pedantry, and a devotion to efficiencies and standards of communication. And it reveals SO MUCH about Nursey’s character.

I’ve often wondered what Nursey really cares about, what gets his goat and what gets him excited. This is the first insight I’ve really had into that. Nursey cares not just about the art of language but also its mechanics. He cares about precision and accuracy. He’s the sort of guy who notices if you hyphenated “free-standing” on page 2 but left it “freestanding”on page 7. Nursey’s an observant guy. He notices things, and he remembers.

The blog post gave us even more. Nursey will help you make decisions abut which stylebook to use in which context. He’s aware of the different registers and modes of written language. He has feelings about tone. Politeness. Social mores. Nursey is a guy who’s deliberate, and thoughtful, and can choose in which way he wants to present himself.

If he writes poetry, he recognizes when and how to use the conventions of it – if he’s writing free verse, he knows exactly what he’s freeing it from. Nursey’s the kind of guy who uses an anapest on purpose, and knows its name. He doesn’t let the words flow - he crafts them, carefully, with an eye toward matching form and function. If he has tendencies toward excess, he tries to tame them, as best he can. He’s aware that he, as a writer, needs an editor.

He cares about things being effective. Efficiency is a value to him. Saying or doing things with the minimum amount of fuss, being able to deliver on a promise made (in a thesis or with a handshake) - these are things that matter. Having the practical tools to get the job done matters to him.

Now think about Dex. And what kind of a person Dex is by nature.

How can Nursey not be attracted to that?

relistening to the HP audiobooks has raised another Burning Question:

SO the students write a lot of research papers, but iirc JKR never mentions citations. is there a standard wizarding citation style? do they use in-text, footnotes, or endnotes? I’d imagine in-text is most practical given you’re writing on a scroll, but endnotes could work too, I guess. 

(this is an important worldbuilding question that is, in my opinion, absolutely essential to developing any fantasy or scifi universe.)

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Linguistic knowledge versus pedantry, a graph

A. Danger point. Increased linguistic knowledge has led to a surge in linguistic pedantry, resulting in an imblance. 

B. Crisis point. Full on pedant. False confidence in good linguistic knowledge has led to pedantic half-truths outweighing facts. 

C. The road to recovery. Taking time to understand how language actually owrks has led to a more tolerant outlook. 

D. A sensible place to be. The more you know about language, the more you see the nonsense of linguistic pedantry. Be aware that at point D you may be called upon to challenge people at point B. This can be difficult, as people at point B often have the weight of public opinion behind them. Be patient, and encourage them to move towards point C.

(by Rob Drummond on twitter

I think one of the the most asinine things I’ve ever seen is a box of table salt labelled “organic”.

Now, I fully understand that words can have different definitions in different contexts, so this isn’t going to be a smug “duh, all food is organic” joke. Quite the opposite, in fact.

In this context, “organic” can mean one of two things:

  • an agricultural product raised in accordance with a particular set of standards; or
  • anything that has carbon in it.

Table salt is clearly not an agricultural product, so the former definition is inapplicable. But as a food product, surely it satisfies the second one…

… except, almost uniquely among substances that are classified as food products, table salt doesn’t contain any carbon, either.

It’s iodised sodium chloride.

Even nomenclatural pedantry can’t make “organic table salt” a true statement. Like, they picked the one food product that can’t weasel its way into being “organic” via sheer technicality, and slapped an “organic” label on it anyway.

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The history-pedants’ guide to The Last Kingdom - episode one

fences don’t work like that

jensalarsenaas  asked:

Hi John. Two years ago or something I wrote and thanked you for this blog and you answered and said "thank you for reading" and "PS: strong work on your blog" and that meant a lot to me, especially coming from you. It's funny to look back at now, and remembering the pride I felt, and how weak my work actually was at the time hah. Thank you :) Anyways! I graduate in two weeks. Do you have any thoughts on how much someone like me -new blood freelancer- should specify or generalize one's portfolio?

Wow, thank you! This made my day. I know I’ve been writing on the blog a bit less lately, but it’s good to know that it’s helpful. Congratulations on graduation!

Everyone has a different take on the ‘specific vs. general’ spectrum, and for good reason honestly; it’s because everyone does different things, even art directors. Some people rely on volume, or intend to license out past work. Some people shift gears quickly, so they only want to show where they want to go, etc. Everyone’s practice is different, and therefore the way they tailor their portfolios is also different.

I think instead of thinking about your portfolio on a general vs. specific spectrum, think about it this way:

What are you best at?
What you’re really good at is your “edge” that will set you apart. The absolute best way to do this is through personal content, but you can also have an edge through technique or ideation. While you may be able to do certain things, like say, typesetting books, it might not be what you’re best at, and therefore maybe not the best thing to show. Some people say “you’re only as good as your weakest piece” and there is some merit to that. You want to demonstrate that you’re consistently good at what you do.

However, it just so happens that some people are really good at a lot of things, and yeah, well, work it if you got it. Just be clear about where the delineations are; maybe create a different category on your site, or even a whole new brand/persona for a different industry.

What are your goals for your portfolio? 
It helps to be targeted with your goals at first. Do the research on who uses the work that you’re creating, look at the work that they’re commissioning, and tailor what you show them accordingly. So, for example, it wouldn’t necessarily make a lot sense to show a lot of SFF work in an editorial portfolio. 

The caveat here is that you actually don’t know all of the places where your work will fit it. Sometimes clients will take chances on new things, or sometimes a project will come out of nowhere as a result of a connection between a couple of things that you’ve done. So this isn’t a hard rule, but more a general guiding principle. 

What do you want to do?
“You get the work that you show.” Your interests will drive your career. Your enthusiasm and passion for certain things will naturally push you towards those avenues. If you meander down the “wrong” path for awhile, it might be great, pay the bills, or give you experience, but it’ll still feel off, and a few years later you might find yourself back at the “beginning” again. I say “wrong” because I actually don’t think there are wrong choices in art careers, just different directions. 

Anyway, that’s my take on it. The short version is that as a recent grad, you might want to be specific for now, just because you’re just starting out and have less to work with. But if you’re a rockstar, then just throw that out the window and drive your Ferrari into the sunset.

Best of luck, and I’ll see you in the trenches!

anonymous asked:

Dear John, I was just reading through your discussion about being of Asian descent and found it very informative and sad and wonderful all at once. I'm a white person that grew up in very rural towns so all of this is eye opening for me. I've been following Marshall Arisman for some time, trying to soak up all the delicious knowledge he dishes out and specifically I'm still trying to figure out how you use your own knowledge/past to inform your work. This is what I am wrestling with: (part 1)

Flannery O’Connor said something along the lines of “Anyone who’s survived their childhood has enough stories to write for a lifetime.” You made it. Celebrate!

I wouldn’t sell yourself short on the boringness of your town. 95% of our lives are pretty boring. Someone has to wash Cinderella’s gown at some point. War is mostly waiting around. I personally think good stories find the right amount of punctuation to give rhythm to the boring stuff, or gives it shape. 

Marshall is one of the best storytellers that I am privileged to know. His stories often don’t have “points” to them per sae, and mostly involve him finding himself in kind of weird situations. One day, he got a business card from a mafia don. One day, he was robbed on the side of the street, but ended up splitting a six pack with his robbers. One day, he accidentally turned down the advances of a billionaire’s wife. 

He’s fond of saying, “does that make sense?” a lot, as everyone who’s had him as a teacher or mentor can attest. He says it during critique, or when he’s giving you advice, but he also says it while he’s telling stories. In that context, I think he’s saying “are you tracking? Because telling the story IS the story.” 

Which means to say, that every experience informs your work, not just the fairy tales and the folklore, but scraping your knees on dogwoods, or the color of blood when you spit out a tooth. The boringness is the stuff that makes you who you are just as much as the loud parts. Another professor at the Illustration as Visual Essay program, Carl Titolo, likes to say “It’s not about what you see, it’s how you see it.”

Who you are also informs where the line is when you’re using other culture’s stories. I’m not, and never will be, an arbiter of when it’s OK to do X or when one can wear Y. I don’t think racism ends when you make rules, but when people take it upon themselves to uh, not be racist.

Some general guidelines though: 
- Do your homework. Don’t misrepresent someone else’s story. Give homage and acknowledge their origins.
- Be mindful of whose story you’re taking. Know your history. The most vulnerable amongst us are also the one’s whose voices need to be heard loudest.
- Don’t perpetuate cliches or stereotypes. We’re pretty sick of that crap. It’s also lazy storytelling.
- Highlighting another culture isn’t diversity. If you like those stories, support creators who are a part of that tradition. Spend some dough. 

That being said, culture is fluid. Cultural exchanges occur at the quantum level, and with ever increasing speed. At its best, you should try and treat it as a collaboration, with all of the mutual respect that entails. I find the idea that you feel like other cultures’ stories are “familiar” to you, and that they reflect back a more meaningful version of your childhood kind of fascinating. There’s a lot of meat there, and I wish you the best.

Petting my Peeves: Present Pedantry

As always, my #1 pet peeve is utilize. Because people think it’s a fancy, smart version of use when in fact it means “make a useless thing surprisingly useful”. My favourite use of the word utilize is when someone has failed to understand that they are suggesting something was heretofore useless in their quest to sound smart. “We’re really utilizing the skills of staff!” is a personal favourite.

Anyways: that word that’s everywhere but is not a word. There is only a single way in this context, it’s just anyway, no plural required. It would be very interesting to know how that s got applied in the first place, and why it’s so popular.

Nevermind is the 1991 album by Nirvana. Dear Tumblr: why reference the 1991 album by Nirvana in your interface? A you all big 90s grunge fans? Oh, never mind.

On accident. Can someone explain this one to me? You do something on purpose or by accident, but nothing is ever done on an accident. Though it would be interesting to use the concept of a lack of intentionality as a work surface.

Oh. Not “oh” as a bit of dialogue, or in “oh my god” where it belongs. I mean “oh” when it invades description. Ex: “The wine was oh so good,” “his lips were oh so soft.” How good was that wine, Linda? How soft were his lips? Oh so? Well that clears it right up!

I am a crotchety old woman. Send help.

anonymous asked:

"Sea" can refer to a particular kind of body of water, but it can also just mean the ocean (not an ocean, "the ocean"). For example, cf. "the seaside". Why, you live not too far from the Tasman Sea, which is part of the Pacific Ocean. Therefore, if your bonnie lived in New Zealand, it would be totally accurate to say that your bonnie lay over the ocean AND that your bonnie lay over the sea.

That’s the kind of pedantry I appreciate.

anonymous asked:

You say that we should express our personal voice rather than focusing on style. How do you feel about experimentation with people's technique/style? I don't want to limit myself to my own comfortable way of working, but at the same time, I wouldn't want to mimic theirs, but I would want to reach the levels of people who are succeeding in the field.

Top- James Montgomery Flagg. Bottom- Charles Dana Gibson

I have no problem with imitating other people’s styles initially. How many of us started drawing in earnest because we wanted to replicate a comic book, or an animated show? I remember some of my very first drawings were trying to redraw the Battle of Endor or Samus Aran’s spaceship. When I first got out of school, I ripped off James Jean on a daily basis.

I’d posit that this manner of investigation is not wholly separate from distinguishing yourself through your voice though. Copying other people’s styles is a great way to get inside their head and figure out not only how they solve problems design-wise, but also how they execute it technically. It’s why art schools around the world assign master copies as homework. It gets you out of your own skin for a bit, and is a good way to get more “tools in your toolbox” technically.

What it will never do though, is give you “success.” I think this quote from Austin Briggs is especially relevant here. Even if you were able to expertly recreate every stroke, every line, every nuance of someone else’s style, you will always be, by definition, a second-rate copy of them. You cannot BE them, and therefore you can never replicate their motivations, ideas, and inspirations. And even worse than that: you are ignoring your own.

James Montgomery Flagg was one of several artists who made a living undercutting Charles Dana Gibson’s distinctive pen and ink style in the early 1900s. He did it for years; as Gibson’s popularity soared, so did his prices, and Flagg filled a lower-tier niche.

Does that in any way affect Gibson’s legacy as one of the most influential American illustrators of the early 20th century? Absolutely not. Would it have affected Flagg’s legacy if that’s all he did with his career? You bet. Lucky for us, and for Flagg, he was talented and driven enough to eventually do his own thing, which resulted in one of the most iconic images in American history.

Learn what you can from others and be happy when they do well. But at the end of the day, you are your own person. Success is an illusion, and it almost never means what you think it means.