By the Dots
We all have strange relationships with punctuation — do you overuse exclamation marks? Do you avoid semicolons like the plague? What type of punctuation could you never live without? Tell us all about your punctuation quirks!
I’m so entranced with Susan B Raven’s interrobang ( ‽ ) that I’m sure anything I say will pale into insignificance beside it ‽ But not wishing to neglect my blogly duty, I’ll burble on for a bit and hope for the best.
According to Spell and Grammar Check, my worst sin is not putting question marks where they think I should – for example, It’s a cold day today, isn’t it.
But that’s because Grammar Check has never learned Latin.
It’s surprisingly useful, Latin – even though I was never what you might call a Latin Scholar, and large chunks of what I did know have now gone way of trigonometry, algebra, physics, chemistry, and similar force-fed lessons of my youth. Latin phrases still pop up from time to time – carpe diem, caveat emptor, ex gratia, in flagrante delicto, non compos mentis etc (which is also from the Latin) and a lot of English words have Latin roots, making it easier to guess what they might mean. (You can then smile and nod instead of gawping at the pompous idiot who’s trying to impress you with big words no one else uses.)
But what has Grammar Check so hot and bothered is my English interpretation of the Latin nonne and num construction: questions expecting the answer ‘yes’ are phrased differently from questions expecting the answer ‘no’, or questions where either might apply.
So the way I see it is this. It’s freezing bloody cold outside, the puddles are frozen and the wind would cut you in half. If I say, It’s a cold day today, isn’t it, I’m not expecting you to disagree, am I.
So tee hee, Grammar Check…