The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Introducing Grammar Girl

with 8 comments

Grammar GirlNow here’s a fun thing – if you’re into such, anyway. My wife-the-teacher sent along this link, knowing it was something I’d enjoy. Check out Grammar Girl – today’s essay/podcast (looks like it comes either way) is on a delightfully amoral subject: the use of the semi-colon.

Ah. Something to read that doesn’t mean the world’s falling apart. Don’t you need a break sometimes? ;;;;;;;? I’m subscribed.

Uh-oh. What if GG sees my link and comes over to read this? My sentences! My commas! My lies (I mean lays)!

PS(. : ?) to my gracious readers who speak English as a second language: Be at peace. We don’t get it, either.

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Written by Monte

February 23, 2007 at 11:54 am

Posted in Blogs

8 Responses

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  1. Naj, here’s the rule for which, that, & who.

    Use “which” if the clause before it is complete, and is separated by a comma, like so: Bush is possibly the worst president we’ve ever had, which makes me both angry and sad.

    Use “that” if the clause is not complete, like so: War is the kind of thing that convinces me we are, in fact, closely related to chimps.

    Use “who” when you’re talking about a person, thus: Cheney is the kind of man who gives homo sapiens a bad name.


    March 29, 2007 at 10:58 am

  2. Hello naj and fma7: Interesting! You know, I speak Spanish, a little, and I find figuring out the pronunciation of Spanish words to be easier than that of English ones! Perhaps Spanish is not as syncretized from other languages – and perhaps French is that way, as well.


    February 24, 2007 at 3:35 pm

  3. Hi to Monte and naj,
    I have been flailing with my punctuation use and Grammer Girl will be helpful. I have been accused of running on and on and I see some relevance in that observation


    February 24, 2007 at 2:16 pm

  4. :)
    In fact, I am writing from Canada, Monte!

    But I learned English in Iran. In fact, starting grade 6, we used to have a rigorous English grammar program in our curricula. However, there was little teaching in terms of English conversation. Nowadays, most Iranian kids take private language lessons, in addition to that [which is] offered by public schools. (self-editing)

    To bridge between Persian and english is not very easy, though. I would say it is much easier for us Iranians to think in French, than it is to think in English. The process of converting the grammar of thoughts into English is the hardest part of my daily English life! The other problem is the succinctness of English versus Persian. We (persians) may ramble on and on and on to express something simple! We (persians) may also take offense if something is expressed too tersely! This, I dare say, has gotten us into trouble lately, as our handsom president has a particular liking for his own rants!

    en tout cas, thanks for the grammar check.


    February 24, 2007 at 7:48 am

  5. Thought more about this while shopping with Lori, my wife, tonight. It seems to me that some uses of which are fading out and being replaced by other words. Then, I found this bit at the Colorado Style Guide, and it seems confusing to me, too:

    That/Which: That defines and restricts; which does not. The way to tell which one you need is that, if you are using which properly, you’ll usually need to precede it with a comma. (Note that the previous sentence provides an example of an exception to the rule.)

    The story that was printed last night is inaccurate; this morning’s version is correct.

    The story, which appeared on the front page, has been proven to be inaccurate.

    “That which,” you may mutter in exasperation as your editor changes your use of which to that. Although the difference isn’t as important in speaking, in writing, careful writers still observe the distinction between these two words.



    February 23, 2007 at 9:23 pm

  6. Ah, I think how to use which is a pretty sophisticated question! Perhaps Grammar Girl will offer us a rule on it one of these days. Your English is so good that I sometimes wondered if you were writing from the West. Alas, what I know of Persian would fit in a thimble with room left over. I’m sorry to be so ignorant!


    February 23, 2007 at 5:13 pm

  7. :))


    February 23, 2007 at 4:05 pm

  8. :)

    Hi Monte, I think I get the usage of ; pretty well, but I am have no cleu how to use the articles, and how to use Which. I kept using which as I had learned in the grammar, but my proof readers kept crossing it off!

    Learning other languages in old age can be so hard! sigh!


    February 23, 2007 at 4:04 pm

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