Spelling and grammar on the wiki - US vs UK

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Postby catfromouterspace » Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:32 am

Hello, and thank you for letting me edit stuff. I fixed some minor things, but there are a couple of pages that need to be pretty much totally rewritten and I don't want to do that. One thing: punctuation goes inside the quotation marks! And another thing: there are lots and lots of errors that spellcheck will not catch. This is where you need a geek like me who likes to proofread stuff because it bugs me. Oh, I should also mention that I'm an English major and I don't know much about technical stuff like html. I don't know how to do that, so I'll just go around it and leave that alone. I don't know what half of these buttons are above this post box. Sigh. I'll figure it out, I suppose. I am not sure yet if I want to write anything but I am happy to edit stuff because I like fixing things, like I said. (Why do people think it's necessary to use an apostrophe to form a possessive? I don't understand. But then most people don't understand why I care.) Anyway, I'm glad to be here. Just recently did a marathon of NGE, watched the whole series and all the movies, so now that I am registered here I am an official Evageek. :asuka_thumbsup: http://forum.evageeks.org/images/smiles/asuka_thumbsup.gif

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Postby Mr. Tines » Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:17 am

View Original Postcatfromouterspace wrote:One thing: punctuation goes inside the quotation marks!

You'll find the use of programmers' quotation is quite pervasive, I'm afraid.
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Postby pwhodges » Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:13 am

View Original Postcatfromouterspace wrote:One thing: punctuation goes inside the quotation marks!
This is US practice; British practice is different:

The old printer's rule about punctuation inside the quotes was basically "for appearance." If outside, the punctuation looks a "bit detached". But the rule's not that simple.

The Oxford Guide to Style (aka Hart's Rules for Compositors) states that the punctuation in British practice goes inside or outside the quotes according to sense, but if the same mark is logically required both inside and outside (typically, when the quote ends with a full stop), then it is not repeated outside. It goes on to say that in US practice, the mark is always inside the quotes, and this can give rise to editing problems when combining US and British sourced material.

Examples of British practice quoted from the above cited book:

They were called 'the Boys from Dover', I am told.
She was heard to mutter, 'Did you do it?' (omit full stop at end of main sentence)
Can you verify that he said, 'There is only one key'? (omit full stop at end of quote)
Did he really shout 'Stop thief!'? (both marks serve a purpose)
He concluded that 'We must give up the task.' (omit outer full stop rather than duplicate it)
Cogito, ergo sum means 'I think, therefore I am'. (the quote is a specimen not a sentence, so has no stop itself)
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Postby UrsusArctos » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:12 am

British practice makes far more sense in these instances than the US practice. So far, I've been using a mixture of British punctuation and US spelling. Best of both.

But this does raise the question about whether or not we should let the Wiki stick purely to American English if we have a substantial number of readers and contributors from the Commonwealth who use British grammar and spelling conventions. What appears to be a grammatical or spelling error to one is correct for the other.
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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:03 pm

Perhaps it would be productive to specify which manner of punctuation is considered "correct" on the wiki. For example, if we listed Commonwealth as correct, it would just mean that we of the US (le moi) would have to learn the new conventions.

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Postby UrsusArctos » Sat Feb 01, 2014 7:15 am

This actually poses a good question. When there were just a handful of us, we didn't pay particular attention, because everyone majorly involved was US-based or could use US spelling and grammar conventions (or we just didn't bother particularly about it). Now that the editor base has increased so much, I'm not sure what to do. How many of our editors are from the United Kingdom or the Commonwealth?

Using a mixture of US spelling and UK punctuation the way I've been going about it isn't exactly feasible, and I'd much rather have an open discussion about which system to use than impose one over the other by fiat.
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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:01 pm

Since so many people that have edited the wiki in the past may not even be around anymore, polling or trying to count might be worthless. Taking a poll based on current members might work, but the problem is that I think everybody (including myself) is biased towards their own system, likely because both are just as good and we'd like to have something that we're comfortable with. I mean, if I have to cast my own vote, I would go with the American conventions.

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Postby The Eva Monkey » Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:57 pm

View Original PostNuclear Lunchbox wrote:Taking a poll based on current members might work

I don't think that will even be necessary. Given that the United States has nearly three times more people than The United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand COMBINED, there's no doubt in my mind that people will prefer standard American English rules. Also, we have the hottest ladies.
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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:01 am

Good point. If that's the case, then it might be good to put a notice on the default page of the Wiki to let people know which standard is accepted.

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Postby The Eva Monkey » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:12 am

View Original PostNuclear Lunchbox wrote:Good point. If that's the case, then it might be good to put a notice on the default page of the Wiki to let people know which standard is accepted.

If it was something that's brought frequently, sure, but the Wiki has been around for something like 7 years if you factor in the pre-EvaGeeks, Commentary Project phase of things, and no one has ever brought this up before, so I don't see the need.
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Postby pwhodges » Sun Feb 02, 2014 4:21 am

Apart from avoiding ambiguity in cases where there have been actual shifts in meaning, does anyone even worry about minor things like alternate spellings or punctuation rules? It's only comparatively recently that they have been codified as rigidly as that are now. If the content of a page interested me, I doubt I could tell you at the end what spelling convention it followed.
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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Sun Feb 02, 2014 11:21 am

It bugs some people more than others to see punctuation that doesn't match up with what is generally accepted as the correct standard in whatever part of the world they live in. (I am one of them.) I don't make a big stink about it here since the forums are multi-national and have yet to declare any one language.


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