Obscure Grammar & Style Questions (Not Easily Answered via Google)

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  1. Earl Noah Bernsby profile image85
    Earl Noah Bernsbyposted 4 years ago

    I thought it might be useful to leverage the collective knowledge of hubbers with English and Journalism degrees (or unspoken expertise)- for those obscure questions regarding grammar and style that are difficult to find answers to on Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.- in one post. (EDIT_UPDATE: Or, for those questions that you DOH!-n't even know enough to use the right search terms for, as calculus-geometry pointed out via my query below!)  For example, folks with scientific and engineering backgrounds sometimes find it difficult to navigate the ins and outs of various citation and punctuation methodologies, that exist among the accepted article/hub publishing systems (AP, MLA, APA, etc.).  Many answers to common questions are easily found via a quick Google search, but other questions are more abstract.  It is for hubbers with those kinds of questions that I propose this thread, as we must operate here without the benefit of an editor to review our drafts before publishing.

    Proposed format:

    1. Style used for hub (i.e. Associated Press)
    2. Question (i.e. "What is the correct format for hyphen usage in a sentence, for hubs written in the AP style?")
    3. Example (i.e.  "-," or "--")

    1. Earl Noah Bernsby profile image85
      Earl Noah Bernsbyposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      On that note:

      1. AP
      2. Sooo...  What IS the correct format for hyphen usage in a sentence, for hubs written in the AP style??
      3.  "-" or "--"?  Also, one space before and after usage, or just after?

    2. profile image61
      nounjbposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      I have tried the fix suggested without success during a session in Works doc system.

      Will this only work if tried in Microsoft Word format session or perhaps another more complete version of creation?

      1. profile image61
        nounjbposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        Never mind, I have found the solution to create these characters using this Works word system.

  2. profile image0
    calculus-geometryposted 4 years ago

    What you're talking about is called an "em dash" so if you use that search term rather than "hyphen" Google will return what you're looking for. Here's one resource

    http://www.apvschicago.com/2011/05/em-d … paced.html

    1. Earl Noah Bernsby profile image85
      Earl Noah Bernsbyposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      (This is exactly what I was looking for calculus-geometry.  Thanks!)

      So, to recap what I've learned: In the AP style, use a space before and after an "em dash," except when used to introduce items in a vertical list.

      For example:  " ... I fondly recall my frank disbelief as Dad spun the epic tale of the Immaculate Reception, and of how the crippling depression turned frantic jubilation — in the moments before and after — caused him to leap off of the couch and begin pounding the television set ... "

      Addendum: For interested parties who don't already know, I also learned how to "create" an em dash manually on your (PC) keyboard, with a follow-up Google search:

      1) NUM-Lock your keyboard
      2) Hold ALT
      3) Sequentially type (the NUM-Lock equivalent of) the numbers: 0, 1, 5, and 1
      4) Release ALT, and voila: "—"
      5) Don't forget to un-NUM-Lock your keyboard before you begin typing again!

  3. Writer Fox profile image48
    Writer Foxposted 4 years ago

    There is an 'en dash': –
    and an 'em dash': —

    The em dash is longer.  You can copy and paste the ones above and just save in a Word document to use or you can find them from 'Insert Symbol' in Office.

    If you want to use the HTML code on your website or blog (remove space):

    em dash: & #8212;
    en dash: & #8211;

    1. Earl Noah Bernsby profile image85
      Earl Noah Bernsbyposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      That's interesting- thanks Writer Fox!

      1. Writer Fox profile image48
        Writer Foxposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        You're welcome!

  4. LongTimeMother profile image96
    LongTimeMotherposted 4 years ago

    In my professional experience, punctuation has been greatly simplified in recent years.  Book publishing maintains the old rules but writing on the internet is far more simple.

    If you're joining two words (like short-term) the letters of each word are connected to the hyphen. 

    However if you are interrupting a sentence - to clarify a point, for instance - you leave a single space on either side.

    I see little point in worrying about em dash or en dash on HP.  I suggest the simple rules above will suffice.

    1. Writer Fox profile image48
      Writer Foxposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Actually there is a big difference between using a hyphen and using an en dash or an em dash. Using both properly reflects on the respect you will receive from people who read your Hubs. Improper use of punctuation and grammar is also something Google evaluates in determining search results.  Here are two articles which explain how to use a hyphen and en dash/em dash:

      http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/qan … q0002.html

      http://english.stackexchange.com/questi … d-a-hyphen

      1. Earl Noah Bernsby profile image85
        Earl Noah Bernsbyposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        Interesting and useful, as always, Writer Fox!  I did not know that Google rankings were partially determined by the finer points of grammar.  I wonder if the Google admins and bots prefer AP over Chicago?  We could all benefit from that inside info!  Gracias!

    2. LongTimeMother profile image96
      LongTimeMotherposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      I'm not convinced it is worth stressing about, Writer Fox. There are so many new writers on HP who will find this topic confusing and intimidating. You just have to click on the top Google listings on any random subject to see examples of imperfect punctuation.

      And as for 'respect' from people who read the hubs? lol. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has noticed extraordinary amounts of praise and positive feedback on hubs that fall far short of perfect punctuation.

      Respect from a potential publisher is different to respect from hub readers. I would urge every hubber to spend more time concentrating on basics like spelling and sentence structure and paragraphs before worrying about how and when to use an em dash.

    3. Earl Noah Bernsby profile image85
      Earl Noah Bernsbyposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      I, too, have noted hubs with *Ahem!* questionable grammar on the site.  Whether from blatant spun content that I've noticed by way of the Hub-Hopper tool, honest mistakes from folks who may not speak English as a first language, or from more technically oriented hubbers who are — perhaps — more familiar with the laws of Thermodynamics than the MLA handbook!  I, myself, fall into something of an unusual category:

      Thanks to my obstinate nature, coupled with the indignation that stems from a religiously sustained (and self-fulfilling) persecution complex that defined me throughout much of my youth, I always felt that my English teachers were out to stifle my poetic soul — and so, I refused to listen to them.  Instead, I chose to read the classics: Dickens; Steinbeck; Dostoyevsky; Stevenson, etc., and learn how to write from those great authors! (i.e. I recall arguing with Mrs. [name_withheld_to_protect_the_innocent] about why I was not permitted to start a sentence with "And," if Mark Twain was allowed to do it!)

      Unquestionably, this helped me find my voice as a writer.  However, unbeknownst to me at the time, I was also setting my future-self up for quite a bit of remedial "make-up" work in order to learn the finer points of grammar and style.  I still find myself using archaic forms from time-to-time (Note the use of "unbeknownst" above ... I also once refused to remove "whilst" from an assignment!), and am grateful when those individuals who paid attention in English class are magnanimous enough to share with me, so that I might fill in the self-inflicted gaps in my knowledge of the more "technical" rules governing our versatile language.

      It is for people who find themselves in a similar predicament that I decided to start this thread: For those hubbers who wish to polish their writing so that it radiates professionalism and competence.  I think that hubbers who share that desire only wish to strengthen their — not to mention the entire HP collective's — excellence, reputation, and overall legitimacy.

      1. Writer Fox profile image48
        Writer Foxposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        Grammar and punctuation can be learned. Creative writers – and you are one – are born with talent.

        1. Earl Noah Bernsby profile image85
          Earl Noah Bernsbyposted 4 years agoin reply to this

          wink

      2. Muttface profile image84
        Muttfaceposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        Hee hee. Tell us more about the "Whilst" argument. Who won the battle?

        1. Writer Fox profile image48
          Writer Foxposted 4 years agoin reply to this

          'Whilst' is UK English.  It doesn't work for Americans.

          1. Muttface profile image84
            Muttfaceposted 4 years agoin reply to this

            I say it at least 5 times a day. I Skype random people in America and begin my sentence with it.

            1. Writer Fox profile image48
              Writer Foxposted 4 years agoin reply to this

              Well then, they will think that is very British of you!  Americans actually like to hear a British accent.

              1. Muttface profile image84
                Muttfaceposted 4 years agoin reply to this

                I have a stunning Irish accent, but indeed we did send a few years under the yoke of British rule!

        2. Earl Noah Bernsby profile image85
          Earl Noah Bernsbyposted 4 years agoin reply to this

          Lol! Well, I suppose that depends on your definition of "victory."  I refused to change it, and my grade suffered.  However, in the less tangible moral arena, I like to think I came out ahead!

  5. Writer Fox profile image48
    Writer Foxposted 4 years ago

    It has to do with credibility in the eyes of visitors from outside of the HP community.  A webpage with bad grammar, punctuation, and spelling is not viewed with much respect by users. 

    Also, two of the things the Google Panda algorithm looks for are:

    "Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?"

    "Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?"

    The more professional the presentation is the more likely the webpage is to be successful.

  6. quiterandom profile image71
    quiterandomposted 4 years ago

    I'm currently unsure of how Google treats hyphens, em dashes and en dashes in its search algorithms. Google, for the most part, appears to ignore them, at least in the content of a site.
    At least, that's how it appears in my own search tests so far.
    I am not positing that as fact, only relaying what appears to be true in the limited testing I've done this morning.

 
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