Amazon/Canada finally came through; I read "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" this afternoon, and it's delightful.
Yes, she's a little odd in her own usages now and then, but her attitude and style are what make the book so pleasant to read. She's definitely one of us a punctuation nut. She's a moderate, though, willing, as I am, to give some ground, not too much, to the descriptivists. She's a stout defender of the semicolon, and does a fine job of showing how it differs from the colon.

The book is more than just a guide; her forays into historical explanation are informative, and the bibliography shows she's done some reading on the subject.
I wish something like it would appear in the US; people might read it. Selling E,S&L as is to Americans would, however, create hopeless confusion, because much of the punctuation she so aggressively defends is very British. The errors she attacks, however, are just as common over here.
If you can't handle singular 'they,' stay away from it. She only does it once, though.
Carter Jefferson
http://carterj.homestead.com /
1 2
It wouldn't bother me, personally, if Americans simply adopted the British (or European or whatever) standards of English. Seems to me as though it would simplify things somewhat. Oh well, I guess I'm somewhat unusual compared to most Americans. I actually prefer the extra U that ya'll throw in to some of your words :-)
-Joe
It wouldn't bother me, personally, if Americans simply adopted the British (or European or whatever) standards of English. Seems to ... compared to most Americans. I actually prefer the extra U that ya'll throw in to some of your words :-)

Ah, I'd be careful about embracing that .
First, it goes into only some words. So, Brits write 'colour', 'humour', 'splendour', but 'rigor', 'stupor', 'pallor'. Already a memory test.
Second, the disappears when certain suffixes are added, but not when other suffixes are added. So, 'humour' but 'humorous' and 'humorist', 'vapour' but 'vaporise' and 'evaporate', 'colour' but 'colourful'. And it's not consistent. The Brits write 'vaporise' but 'colourise', and 'humorist' but 'colourist'. Keeping track of these gyrations is a huge memory test.
Get down on your knees and thank Noah Webster for delivering us Yanks from this madness.
By the way, I noticed yesterday that Amazon.co.uk had posted a little ad on this newsgroup, or at least on my newsreader, for the Lynne Truss book, which was described as "humourous". Even the Brits can't keep track of these s.
Larry Trask
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
It wouldn't bother me, personally, if Americans simply adopted the ... that ya'll throw in to some of your words :-)

Ah, I'd be careful about embracing that . First, it goes into only some words. So, Brits write 'colour', 'humour', 'splendour', but 'rigor...

Only medically, as in rigor mortis. Normally spelt rigour but, as you say, rigorous. (Same as vigour.)
m.
It wouldn't bother me, personally, if Americans simply adopted the ... that ya'll throw in to some of your words :-)

Ah, I'd be careful about embracing that . First, it goes into only some words. So, Brits write 'colour', 'humour', 'splendour', but 'rigor',

?? Although the medical term is definitely "rigor", "rigour" is perfectly fine in other contexts.

Cheers, Harvey
Ottawa/Toronto/Edmonton for 30 years;
Southern England for the past 21 years.
(for e-mail, change harvey to whhvs)
On 04 Jan 2004, Larry Trask wrote

Ah, I'd be careful about embracing that . First, it goes into only some words. So, Brits write 'colour', 'humour', 'splendour', but 'rigor',

?? Although the medical term is definitely "rigor", "rigour" is perfectly fine in other contexts.

So is Larry right about the inconsistency of us Brits, or is he right?

Matti
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(snip)
Second, the disappears when certain suffixes are added, but not when other suffixes are added. So, 'humour' but 'humorous' ... The Brits write 'vaporise' but 'colourise', and 'humorist' but 'colourist'. Keeping track of these gyrations is a huge memory test.

I believe that Fowler recommended and used "humourist", classifying "-ist" among the 'native English' suffixes like "-able". The Gowers and Burchfield editions of MEU both give "humorist" despite maintaining the original classification (which also calls for "colorise/ize"; I think "colourise" is a hypercorrection) in their general "our and -or-" articles.

Odysseus
Only medically, as in rigor mortis.

Or rigor mentis.
R.
(LT)
Ah, I'd be careful about embracing that . First, it goes into only some words. So, Brits write 'colour', 'humour', 'splendour', but 'rigor...

Only medically, as in rigor mortis. Normally spelt rigour but, as you say, rigorous. (Same as vigour.)

My apologies for this dozy slip. This word is in fact an example of a further point, which I failed to make.
British English in fact uses both spellings, but in different senses. The everyday spelling is 'rigour', but the spelling 'rigor' is used for a range of technical senses in medicine, pathology, botany and zoology though not in mathematics.
Larry Trask
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