Tagged: grammar

2015 grammar update

Officially, on January 1 of every year, I review my grammar and punctuation and other orthographic preferences and decide whether I’m comfortable with the sad choices I’ve made thus far in my life.

As in past years, I made the easy call to stick with “Internet” statt “internet,” and “e-mail” statt “email.” I know this may make me fusty and old fashioned, but that’s OK. I’m in my mid-thirties and I’m entitled.

However, I finally decided to really take a hard look at the number of spaces after a period. This has riven my friends and colleagues in past surveys, but I’ve always stuck with the two spaces. Why? Partly because I truly do think it looks better. And maybe—despite what you’ll read—I still do think that.

Starting in January I began test-marketing the one-space system. It was scary and I felt very uncomfortable. What will others say about me? What does this say about myself? It began in certain letters, then in chats, then e-mails.

Nobody noticed or cared.

Today I announce that the tests were successful and I have fully transitioned to being a one-space person. I know this will provoke anguish in some. I made the decision in part based on the sort of people who actually will be anguished. I now part company with a couple of attorneys whose writing styles I find stuffy and old-fashioned. If I set myself against them, I probably am doing something right. And I join a vast (tragically probably Apple-centric) set of modern designers and writers who just use the one space.

I am sure there will be backsliding. I will probably get drunk and start typing two just for old times’ sake. I think I’ll make it through, though. Your support and encouragement are critical.

Next year, we will review explicitly specifying nautical miles vs. statute miles in all distance calculations. I bet you don’t know which one is the one you typically use (e.g., in mph?). In 2016, you’ll find out.


Those jerks at HBO have turned down my latest idea for a TV show, which would compete with a certain Sunday night megahit.  My show would be called Disparate Housewives.  Each woman character would be totally unique.

We don’t have liftoff

Mary and David Savoie had returned to their favorite viewing spot along the Indian River, bringing cousins from Pennsylvania to watch the shuttle launching in the distance.  Joshua Lacy had settled beside them with a cooler, and nearby, Tony Vivian had fired up his radio and grill.

All had staked out a grassy lot beside Route 1 to watch the first space shuttle liftoff in more than two years, but after hearing that the launching had been scrubbed, all left dejected.

“It was going to be so perfect,” said Ms. Savoie, casting one last glance at the Discovery, barely a glimmer across the water, before driving home to Sanford, near Orlando.  “Oh, well, make that past tense now.”

New York Times, 14 July 2005

No, damn it, make that subjunctive!  Regular old past tense is used for things that actually happened in the past!  Grammar idiocy is killing this nation.