Wednesday, May 25, 2016
The Punctuator...Good Title for a Summer Blockbuster?
Apologies, all, for not posting of late. Wendy and I have been roaming among the fields and halls of our ancestors researching our genealogy. All online, of course, no field work as yet.
Anyway, I'm pulling myself away from my ancient ancestors to heed the call of my writing. And in keeping with traveling to the past, this post is about a present that a good friend of mine gave me a while back.
The device, called a wheel chart, or going further back in history, a volvelle, is a nifty little item for looking up which grammar rule to use for a particular situation. On one side of The Punctuator are punctuation rules for commas, semicolons, colons, and periods. The other side goes more into specifics for italics, hyphens, and abbreviations, for example. It's a highly useful tool, but while using it I had to keep in mind that the English language is not static--rules change.
Let's look at the case of abbreviations. The Punctuator says to "...Use a period after an abbreviation. This period is followed by any mark other than a period needed in the sentence. (Does the customer know the meaning of F.O.B.)
One thing that's changed with time is how we handle abbreviations. Sure, we still use periods in some cases, but not all. When I looked up F.O.B. online, one of the definitions is "Free On Board", without the periods. I'm certain that at one time abbreviations like IBM, CBS, and AWOL all had periods, but with time we lost them. Good or bad, that's how it works now.
I love tinkering with The Punctuator. Most of the advice is spot on, but I have to always remind myself that some rules may no longer be in play. It does, however, demonstrate how our language evolved, which is fascinating.
Always good to know from where and whence we came. Just like wandering around with all our ancient ancestors.
Keep writing, friends.