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Rational punctuation calls for not following an abbreviation with a ... word ends with. For example, "Mister" is abbreviated only "Mr".

I don't quite get the rationale for calling this mode of punctuation "rational", or at least for considering it to be more rational than any competing mode of punctuation.

Freck, I don't understand why the word "rational" or "logical" are used instead of "conforming to a form-follows-function aesthetic" or the like, when describing Britic pronunciation.
My late and reverend headmaster, surnamed Snow, was adamant that he should be referred to as "Mr Snow" in speech.

That conforms with New-England Episcopalian usage: in the 1960s, a priest at Christ Church, Cambridge (Massachusetts), was the Reverend John Snow: he was regularly called & addressed as "Mr. Snow."
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Rational punctuation calls for not following an abbreviation with a ... word ends with. For example, "Mister" is abbreviated only "Mr".

I don't quite get the rationale for calling this mode of punctuation "rational", or at least for considering it to be more rational than any competing mode of punctuation.

But I thought it was the modern rule : "abbreviation of a single word which ends with the last letter of the full word has no full stop; abbr. of a single wd wh. ends w. an earlier ltr of the full word has a f. s."... can't find my usage guide to confirm or deny (never move house, fellers).
The rationale is that, given the reader actually spots that it's an abbreviation, he knows at once which portion of the word is omitted. A small thing, but every tiny clue contributes to easy reading.

I should mention that British practice is now generally to avoid full stops in abbreviations, whether it's rational or not, so even if Bob and I are right, our usage is all but obsolete over here.

Somebody mentioned an abbreviation for "friar": I think it's "Bro", as "friar" isn't a form of address.
Mike.
My late and reverend headmaster, surnamed Snow, was adamant that he should be referred to as "Mr Snow" in speech.

That conforms with New-England Episcopalian usage: in the 1960s, a priestat Christ Church, Cambridge (Massachusetts), was the Reverend John Snow: hewas regularly called & addressed as "Mr. Snow."

That's still formally correct for Church of England clergy, except for those who prefer "Father".
I remember reading that at one time Jesuit priests were "The Reverend Mr John Smith, SJ" rather than the usual RC "Father". (sorry - can't oblige with a proof-text,)
Alan Jones
Somebody mentioned an abbreviation for "friar": I think it's "Bro", as "friar" isn't a form of address.

How about Friar Tuck, Robin Hood's friend?
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I saw a letter today that started "Dear Honored Guest:". ... to discuss, shouldn't there be a comma between the adjectives?

I'd say that the "dear" here isn't really an adjective, but is rather marking a sort of vocative construction, much as "O" once did.

Interesting, and I think right. But much more important is the apparent assumption that adjectives should always be separated by commas. I'd always say no comma was the better default position, with a comma added only when the sense called for it.
"A big black book". "A big, black book". What does the comma in the second example actually do ? Nothing; it could even be misleading in a real sentence. Sometimes the writer may need to express a pause: "Poor, stupid Ambrose!" If he's already over-used his commas, he's going to have to say "Poor, stupid, Ambrose!" Maybe that's acceptable; but it still doesn't justify the functionless comma in the earlier example.
Mike.
Rational punctuation calls for not following an abbreviation with a ... word ends with. For example, "Mister" is abbreviated only "Mr".

I don't quite get the rationale for calling this mode of punctuation "rational", or at least for considering it to be more rational than any competing mode of punctuation.

A reason can be stated for writing "Mr" for "Mister" as opposed to "corp." for "corporation". The only explanation I know of for abbreviating "Mister" "Mr." is "there isn't any reason for it; that's just the way we do it".
Someone might want to say that the period is just a flag to indicate that somewhere not necessarily immediately preceding it some letters have been omitted. So I wonder if anyone ever wrote the abbreviation "phone." for "telephone" or "cab." for "taxicab". They would make about as much sense as writing "Mr." for "Mister".
By the way, it seems it hasn't been a very long time maybe only forty or fifty years since prescriptivists were insisting on "'phone". I wonder if there are still some who do.
"A big black book". "A big, black book". What does the comma in the second example actually do ? Nothing;

A big black book is a black book that's big. A big, black book is a book that's both big and black.
For example, the comma wouldn't be appropriate in
"I didn't say I wanted just any black book: I said I wanted a big black book". There "big, black book" would be no more appropriate than "any, black book".
But if the "big" and the "black" are thought of as being independent descriptions of the book, then the comma works.
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snip
By the way, it seems it hasn't been a very long time maybe only forty or fifty years since prescriptivists were insisting on "'phone". I wonder if there are still some who do.

And I wouldn't want to be that blitz' has lost its final apostrophe in all settings.

Cheers, Harvey
Ottawa/Toronto/Edmonton for 30 years;
Southern England for the past 22 years.
(for e-mail, change harvey.news to harvey.van)
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