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Thread: Plural pronouns for non-binary people: would a neologism be a better option?

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    I assume you mean "non standard" rather than poor.
    Either would be a potential problem, I imagine. As would non-standard spelling.

    Grant Hutchison

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    ...

    (Giles Brandreth tried to cover all the bases with the title of his book, Have You Eaten Grandma?: Or, the life-saving importance of correct punctuation, grammar and good English, ...

    Grant Hutchison
    Life-saving? Come on! I'd imagine that very few courts would accept the argument that an error in grammar or punctuation would excuse eating one's grandparent.

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  3. #63
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    That one might be a joke, but there have been plenty of literally lethal errors from things as simple as putting commas in the wrong place or neglecting the Oxford comma.
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  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    That one might be a joke, but there have been plenty of literally lethal errors from things as simple as putting commas in the wrong place or neglecting the Oxford comma.
    Do you have an illustrative story about death and the Oxford comma? A search predictably turns up only articles saying either: 1) It needs to die, or 2) Reports of its death have been exaggerated.

    Grant Hutchison

  5. #65
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    There was a missing comma (actually, replaced with another character) in a FORTRAN program that messed up a command on an early space mission, but this article says that its effect has been exaggerated.

    https://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic.php?t=86271

    Nobody got eaten, but I suspect some engineer got roasted.

    Of course something like this could cause some spacecraft to crash with fatal results, or maybe even start a war, but modern programming practices should help to avoid such. I think.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    That one might be a joke, but there have been plenty of literally lethal errors from things as simple as putting commas in the wrong place or neglecting the Oxford comma.
    Do you mean "lethal, in a literary sense" (it gave some guy at Oxford indigestion) or "lethal, and I really mean it!"

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonM435 View Post
    ... (it gave some guy at Oxford indigestion) ...
    Not much used at Oxford, these days - the University of Oxford Style Guide advises against it, except in situations where it is required to avoid ambiguity. (Which isn't really the "Oxford comma" at all, but just careful writing.)

    If you write for the Oxford University Press you'll have the Oxford comma imposed upon you as part of the house style; if you write for the Times you'll have it removed as part of the house style.

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  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonM435 View Post
    Do you mean "lethal, in a literary sense" (it gave some guy at Oxford indigestion) or "lethal, and I really mean it!"
    It is my understanding that certain laws have been applied in a different sense than their writers intended due to where commas were and weren't used, though I'll admit first thing in the morning (which is when I check this board) is not the best time of day for me to remember specifics.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  9. #69
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    Maybe not lethal but litigation last year about a missing comma shifted some money.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nyt...maine.amp.html

    By Daniel Victor
    Feb. 9, 2018
    Ending a case that electrified punctuation pedants, grammar goons and comma connoisseurs, Oakhurst Dairy settled an overtime dispute with its drivers that hinged entirely on the lack of an Oxford comma in state law.

    The dairy company in Portland, Me., agreed to pay $5 million to the drivers, according to court documents filed on Thursday.

    The relatively small-scale dispute gained international notoriety last year when the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that the missing comma created enough uncertainty to side with the drivers, granting those who love the Oxford comma a chance to run a victory lap across the internet.

    <snip>

    The case began in 2014, when three truck drivers sued the dairy for what they said was four years’ worth of overtime pay they had been denied. Maine law requires time-and-a-half pay for each hour worked after 40 hours, but it carved out exemptions for:

    The canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of:

    (1) Agricultural produce;

    (2) Meat and fish products; and

    (3) Perishable foods.


    What followed the last comma in the first sentence was the crux of the matter: “packing for shipment or distribution of.”

    The court ruled that it was not clear whether the law exempted the distribution of the three categories that followed, or if it exempted packing for the shipment or distribution of them.

  10. #70
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    No commas, but perhaps of interest ...

    https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/ma-sacreacutee-toux/

  11. #71
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    Patient:
    I am suffering from punctuation doc.

    Dr:
    Punctuation? Don’t you mean constipation?

    Patient:
    No- my colon has come to a full stop!

    In America, this joke would have to replace the gastroenterologist with a gynaecologist?
    Last edited by plant; 2019-Oct-02 at 02:26 AM.
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  12. #72
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    Gynecologists have literally nothing to do with colons, thanks.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    Gynecologists have literally nothing to do with colons, thanks.
    Well, sometimes. I've seen a gynaecologist resect a bit of colon, more than once. Not often, and rarely with any enthusiasm. (And it still makes no sense of the joke.)

    Grant Hutchison

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    Gynecologists have literally nothing to do with colons, thanks.
    Well I hope at least that they use semi-colons.


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  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Well, sometimes. I've seen a gynaecologist resect a bit of colon, more than once. Not often, and rarely with any enthusiasm. (And it still makes no sense of the joke.)

    Grant Hutchison
    Maybe they were thinking of "fanny" (does anyone in the UK still use that; it sounds terribly old-fashioned?)

  16. #76
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    In punctuation, what is the word for a "full stop?" Hint, it's at the end of this sentence.
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  17. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    In punctuation, what is the word for a "full stop?" Hint, it's at the end of this sentence.
    Yeah, I got the reference to American "period". It's just that the joke then makes no sense in the context of constipation (or, indeed, anatomy).

    Grant Hutchison

  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by plant View Post
    Patient:
    I am suffering from punctuation doc.

    Dr:
    Punctuation? Don’t you mean constipation?

    Patient:
    No- my colon has come to a full stop!

    In America, this joke would have to replace the gastroenterologist with a gynaecologist?
    As far as I can tell, the joke is that constipation is having your excretory process “fully stop”, a pun on “full stop” to mean the punctuation mark at the end of the sentence. A colon is also, obviously, both an organ and a punctuation mark.

    Having a problem with menstruation, or one’s “period”, would be a problem for a gynecologist.
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  19. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    As far as I can tell, the joke is that constipation is having your excretory process “fully stop”, a pun on “full stop” to mean the punctuation mark at the end of the sentence. A colon is also, obviously, both an organ and a punctuation mark.

    Having a problem with menstruation, or one’s “period”, would be a problem for a gynecologist.
    Whereas having your colon come to period (in the gynaecological sense) might be one of those rare occasions when a gynaecologist ends up resecting a bit of colon, because the only sense I could make of that phrase would involve endometriosis of the colon. Which isn't constipation, but is just about as much fun, and much harder to treat. (And, honestly, I now wish I'd never remarked on the joke in the first place.)

    Grant Hutchison

  20. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Well, sometimes. I've seen a gynaecologist resect a bit of colon, more than once. Not often, and rarely with any enthusiasm. (And it still makes no sense of the joke.)
    Yes, I agree, I can’t see how the joke would work in English...

    Patient: I have punctuation.
    Doctor: you mean you’re pregnant?
    Patient: No, I stopped menstruating at all, period.

    But it really makes no sense, I agree. I can’t imagine what the poster was thinking.


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