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Master of Style

Which tense to use for recaps

This is probably very specific to our unique needs at SuperMegaMonkey (i.e. the Marvel reading order project and our D&D recaps) but when writing a recap, it should be in the present tense, so that events in flashbacks and previous issues/sessions can be in the past tense.

Captain Vegan makes his way to the Tofurky Factory (last issue he asked the factory owner to construct a Gigan-shaped tofurky) but that's when the Minions of the Meatball Menace strike.

By fnord12 | April 24, 2013, 10:23 AM | Master of Style | Comments (0)| Link



Parenthesis and verb pluralization

Following up on the post below, i do want to open up a question about how verb pluralization should be affected by phrases in parenthesis.

For example:

Captain America (and Rick Jones, as we'll learn later) follows the Mad Thinker into the bowling alley.

Or:

Captain America (and Rick Jones, as we'll learn later) follow the Mad Thinker into the bowling alley.

In other words, does the additional person mentioned in the parens affect the verb?

I'm usually not happy either way so i wind up rephrasing the sentence like:

Captain America follows the Mad Thinker into the bowling alley (and we'll learn later learn that Rick Jones follows as well).

But that just makes the sentence longer than it needs to be.


By fnord12 | April 23, 2013, 12:04 PM | Master of Style | Comments (1)| Link



The Master of Style

I don't know how far we'll go with this but this is the first in a potential series where min and i outline some of our opinions on grammar and punctuation that you won't find in Strunk & White.

This might quickly devolve into a flame war between me and min. But in any event it will help show that at least some of the grammatical errors on my comics site are deliberate.

Anyway, the first of these rules is about quotes and punctuation. I believe that what's between quotes should only represent what is actually in the quoted text. The one exception is ellipses. And you can't use any punctuation in quotes as part of your own sentence.

For example, i won't write:

She said, "Give me a dollar."

I'll write:

She said, "Give me a dollar.".

And i can also write:

She said, "Give me a dollar." but i told her i spent all my money on comic books.

The period after dollar doesn't count for my sentence, so i have to add my own, but i can also continue writing after the quoted portion even though it has its own period. I don't agree with dropping the period, or, worse, turning it into a comma inside the quote.

The second rule is about parenthesis and punctuation. I like to use parens because my mind wanders in various directions with a lot of asides (and during my formative years i read Joseph Heller's Something Happened, which has pages and pages of parenthetical asides that just end and the original sentence picks up right where it left off before the parens), so my rule for punctuation and parenthesis is that if the parenthetical aside is "less than a sentence" no additional punctuation is needed. But if there's more than a sentence in the parens, the rules are similar to quotes.

I told him not to buy that Hickman book (but he did anyway).

vs:

I told him not to buy that Hickman book (but he did anyway. He never listens to me.).

Finally there's the possibility that an entire sentence stands on its own outside of any other sentence. In that case, no punctuation outside the parens:

I told him not to buy that Hickman book. (It's not that i'm trying to sabotage Hickman's career or something. People that like Hickman should obviously buy his stuff. But i know my friend doesn't like Hickman, so i don't know why he keeps buying the books.)

Next up is using letters as words in sentences. For example:

I once read a Spidey Super Stories comic where Doctor Octopus stole the letter H, and all the Hs in the world balloons were missing. Like, people would say "shoot!" but it would be printed as "s oot!". I wish i could find that comic again, if it ever really existed.

Putting an apostrophe between the H and the s in unacceptable. E.g.:

...all the H's in the world balloons were missing.

Apostrophes are for possession or contractions, and in the above example neither is true, so it is wrong. You should always use capital letters to make it clear, e.g.:

...all the hs in the world balloons were missing.

That just becomes unreadable.

The final rule for now is Ziggy's Rule of Humble Pronoun Usage. I don't capitalize my Is unless they are at the beginning of a sentence.

Actually, there is one last rule. And it's this: proofreading is for people who don't have a huge backlog of comics to review, so all of the above rules are subject to accidental violation without warning.


By fnord12 | April 23, 2013, 11:58 AM | Comics & Master of Style | Comments (0)| Link



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