Dot madness!

I’M MAD as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!*

As if today’s moral and cultural rot weren’t bad enough, we now have rampant periods.

dotsI was a newspaper editor for 30 years, and I support writing rules, especially these days when computer shorthand is butchering English. Proper communication matters.

One thing particularly drives me nuts:

I call it DOT MADNESS!

Every day, in blogs and email, I see…………..periods included…………….to separate sentences………….for decoration it seems…………..and it’s got to…………..stop!

A vomit of dots………………………….!

There is something called an ellipsis. It consists of three periods, never more than three, and it has specific uses. Separating sentences is not one of them. A sentence ends with a period. (There are some exceptions.) The next sentence starts with a capital letter.

This post is a public service. I don’t want to see anyone regurgitating dots ever again!

There will be consequences. It could get ugly.

* * * *

* Famous line from the 1976 movie Network.

68 thoughts on “Dot madness!”

  1. A relative has written for a major newspaper for over 30 years. She uses – . Often 3 or more per paragraph. Drove me nuts till I stopped reading her – too progressive.

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    1. Ms. Shoes: Next time you see a host of exclamation points after a sentence, note the sex of the offender. It will be a woman 99 percent of the time. Must be because women are, you know, so EMOTIONAL!!!!

      Yes, the the dash thing. Keyboards only have the hyphen. Make a dash by using two hyphens. I don’t know of any other way to do it. Two hyphens come together and make an intact dash in print. A dash has a space on either side. A hyphen does not. A hyphen and a dash are quite different, but many people confuse them.

      While we’re at it, it’s 16-year-old boy, not 16 year old boy. Compound adjectives.

      There are differences of opinion on these things. I maintain that my opinion is always the correct one. Others feel otherwise.

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      1. Wouldn’t that be 16 year-old boy? You certainly wouldn’t write sixteen-year-old boy. In this case the hyphen indicates that year-old works as a single adjective.

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        1. Kim: a 16 year-old boy? Yipes, no. The three words make up a compound adjective. All three. Yes, you would write sixteen-year-old boy if you wanted to spell out 16. However, from years of following the Associated Press stylebook, I habitually write numbers from one to nine in letters, and from 10 on up in numerals. But that does not change the other issue of the compound adjective.

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          1. Interesting. I gave away my Holt Handbook to a friend in Mexico as I seldom used it, so I can’t really look it up. And I’ve never had the pleasure of perusing the Associated Press Stylebook. But I’d spell out sixteen if it were the first word in the sentence. But I’m still not entirely convinced by the double-hyphen.

            Have you read the book “Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero-Tolerance Approach to Punctuation?” You’d probably get a good laugh out of it.

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            1. Surely, starting a sentence with a number requires you to use letters. So, sixteen-year-old boy. I’m a bit puzzled at your wish to say 16 year-old boy. Nobody much would do that. I hardly recall ever seeing it that way. Usually, people write it either 16-year-old boy (correctly) or 16 year old boy (incorrectly).

              Nope, never heard of that book, but I probably would get a laugh out of it.

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    2. Yes!… I can’t take seriously any message that overuses exclamation points!!…. From one of my nieces, for example!!! What the hell has happened to the English language?????!!
      I know; it’s the fault of the internet……..and, don’t get me started on texting!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Saludos,
      Don Cuevas

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  2. So, where do you stand on the question of 1 or 2 spaces after a sentence ends and the new sentence begins?

    I was taught to leave two spaces; but apparently now since the old method of typesetting is a thing of the past 1 space between sentences is correct.

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    1. Brenda: The only part of that issue that concerns me is consistency. Either do it totally one way or totally the other. As you say, one space makes more sense these days. I do one space. Anyway, it’s too much bother to type two spaces. I occasionally do two spaces between a sentence that ends with an italic word and a following sentence that does not because the italic word leans in too closely to the next word. Looks like molestation.

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        1. The problem with two spaces these days is that it can screw up left justification. I grew up typing two spaces, but have noticed on my blog that it sometimes wraps the second space creating a minute indentation that is unwelcome.

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  3. Gee, how do you really feel about that, Felipe????????
    I was thought that an abundance of a good thing makes it even better!
    Actually it brings me back to my old Ham radio days…
    73’s

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    1. Tancho: Being male, you are allowed multiple question marks, even though I think one does the trick. If you ever do multiple exclamation points, however, your gender will be in question, which will just make you a modern American man nowadays.

      I don’t know what 73’s refers to, señor. I’ve never done ham except with eggs and grits.

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      1. Felipe, please explain: “Being male, you are allowed multiple question marks, … .”

        Will there be a future lesson on than and then?

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        1. Andean: That was a reference to a comment way up top about exclamation points. I mentioned that multiple exclamation points after a sentence are almost invariably written by women. Start paying attention, and you will see that I am right. Men rarely do multiple exclamation points.

          Than and then are simply two words that are almost identical but mean totally different things. Not interchangeable.

          Another huge and common error that I sometimes fall into is its and it’s.

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  4. Felipe, if you are not positive whether it is its OR it’s, you should be able to determine which one it is by replacing the word it’s with it is. If it does not make sense that way, then it must be its… right? 😉

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    1. Cat: Oh, I know full well the difference. What I meant was that it’s easy to type the wrong one. I guess that it’s due to being so short. And then it’s easy to not notice the error later. It’s a nasty little bugger.

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      1. I hang out a lot on the LonelyPlanet.com Thorn Tree travel forum, and the word I see misspelled more than any other is “itinreary”; no, I mean, “itinery”, wait! it should be “itinerary”. Really.

        Saludos,
        Don Cuevas

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    1. “Then” is an indication of time, or an indication of a sequence in time. Felipe wrote about periods, then you became curious about other grammar. Or, I’ll see you then.

      Than is to separate things in a comparison. I like vanilla ice cream better than Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food.

      So then is a much more hard-working word than is than.

      So, there you have it!

      Saludos.

      Kim G
      Boston, MA
      Where many days sequestered by snow force us to learn old-fashioned grammar.

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  5. Frequently I feel the need to end a sentence with an indication of a sort of bemused trailing off. Now I know to put a space between the last letter and the ellipsis. Live and learn …

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  6. How about a discourse on using ‘whenever’ rather than ‘when’, and the difference in the meaning? Just something to add to the peeve list … I have a lot of grammar peeves.

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  7. . . . – – – . . . Maybe you understand this instead of the ham’s 73’s??? I think a bunch of question marks just say you REALLY do not know or understand — to be used sparingly like some great cuss words 😉

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    1. Señor Calypso: Isn’t that Morse Code? … — …

      I agree that multiple question marks can be used to indicate a heightened state of questioning. Shouldn’t be overdone, however. And the same goes for multiple exclamation points. However, do pay attention in the future, and you will note that multiple exclamation points almost always are written by women. I have not noticed that being so much the case with question marks, but who knows?

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  8. I think we can easily blame conservatives for this. Anyone who types properly types periods with the right hand.

    I rest my case.

    You’ll have to glitter-bomb Anne Coulter.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we suspect few people could clearly state the proper use of an ellipsis anyway.

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