27 thoughts on “How’s my backhand?

  1. An elderly lady once told my sister, “you talks right smart for a cripple”. I’m sure she thought it was a compliment, and in any case she gave Sandi an anecdote to use for years.

  2. In fact, everybody knows, when we see
    a star, that mean we see the light of the explosion of the star…

    the term should mean that star is éphemère
    this can not be an insult

  3. psychopack learn your science before you decide to post something with wrong information. The light we see from stars is the light they emit from the high heat and fusion reactions in their cores.

  4. yup that’s true… If the light we saw was of an exploding star, then that would also mean that the light we saw from the sun was from it exploding… which would mean we have fractions of a second to live… nope… still here.

    I might steal that phrase ‘Learn Your Science’ and put it on a t-shirt to wear in public.


  5. You are right, and it has been corrected. Thank you.

    I see you describe yourself as a professional writer… that’s quite cool, but I think I can return the favour –

    From your website:

    I’m more than happy to send you a list of likely questions ahead of time if you prefer. I’m not an investigative reporter looking for a Pulitzer-winning “gotcha!” That doesn’t mean that our conversation might not suggest follow-up questions; interviews often take on a life of their own and my initial questions are only meant to be a guide.

    You’ve missed a full stop out by accident… from between “gotcha!” and That.


  6. First of all, taken out of context, the text taken from the website is terrible. No offense but it is choppy and must be read a couple of times to be fully understood.

    Secondly, I find it funny when in these posts people get on each other about grammar and stray off the original subject (just like i am doing). Especially when their correction is entirely wrong. Do we not realize the the exclamation point is a full stop in itself. Look: “You said the exclamation point doesn’t have a full stop! How then, can i start a new sentence? Does that mean i forgot a full stop after my question mark? Is this then a run-on sentence?”

    Sorry, but i am confused.

  7. You are right, normally an exclamation mark is a full stop, however, in this example it is enclosed as part of a quote, meaning that there should be a full stop after the quotation marks.

    Everything is on-topic here, we go on tangents all the time, that’s what makes it fun.

  8. Tangents are fun, that i can accept and appreciate.

    On the grammar side, for a bit you had me doubting myself because your logic makes sense.

    Grammar is different depending on where you are in the world and i haven’t been able to find a site that talks about our discussion in particular. The websites i have found talk about the question mark and exclamation point in the same sense.

    The following website gives you a rule concerning both questions and exclamations about 3/4 page down:


    I have to say that in no text have i found (or remember seeing) a full stop outside quotation marks. I would be interested in you providing me with an example link which utilizes your proposition.

    Look at it, it doesn’t make sense:

    “. . . not looking for a Pulitzer-winning “gotcha!”. That doesn’t mean that. . .”

    A simple way to check for yourself is to type the sentence into MS Word and run a spell-check.


  9. Firstly, I’m not relying on Word for grammar advice, ever.

    Secondly, unless the Pulitzer Prize-winning is saying ‘Gotcha!’ there needs to be a full stop there… or at the absolute very least the start of a new paragraph.

    I think the problem here is confusing direct speech with this. The author is not quoting anything, nor reporting direct speech.

    If anything, the word should not be in quotation marks at all… perhaps italicised…

    Either way, since this is neither a quotation or direct speech there must be a full stop at the end of that line. It’s not a common case, since the premise is incorrect in the first place, so I imagine examples will be hard to find, unless anyone else has made this particular error.

    I suppose this goes back to your first comment about it being badly written.

  10. What I mean is, that this is riddled with errors…

    Thinking about it, if this was tring to pass the premise of direct speech it would need a comma before it, and you can’t justify that as a quote… if the word is to be enclosed in quotation marks for emphasis, the exclamation mark should be external, therefore acting as a stop.

    i don’t know why I’m trying to patch up this sentence when it clearly needs to be re-written.

  11. To put in my two cents here:

    Language Log, the blog of the University of Pennsylvania’s Linguistics Department, while not having dealt with this topic specifically that I’ve ever seen, does teach by example.

    “The earliest example of this trope that I can think of is in Michel de Montaigne’s 1580 essay “Of Cannibals”. This is one of the founding documents of the “noble savage” tradition. . .”

    “Of Cannibals” is in quotations not because it’s spoken, but because it is the title of an essay. Thus, the full-stop is outside the quotation marks. I can’t think of any more trustworthy example than an Ivy League linguist for this sort of thing. Admittedly, there’s no punctuation within the quotations here, but I feel like the example still holds.

  12. Wow, I think i will finally agree with Adam on this one, the fact that the text is “badly written.”

    I guess one cannot correct a sentence that just basically needs to be rewritten. Adam is entirely right in asking why is the “Gotcha!” even in quotes at all.

    It has been a good lesson for me on my grammar and i will watch my quotes more in the future.

    Roo, thanks for your two cents as you have provided me with an example of punctuation used outside quotes.

    Cheers all, very interesting.

  13. It is very interesting, if somewhat trivial. Correct punctuation is never going to save lives, indeed, it often does not make text unreadable, however, it’s always interesting to question.

    The truth is that the language is evolving and as such plastic… I’m a big advocate of experimenting in forms such as concrete poetry and typography. Playing with words is playing with communication, and these days that’s almost all we have.

    I worked as an editor and a typesetter for a few years, and as you can see I’m just as likely to make a mistake as the next person, and I certainly don’t pretend to know everything… if indeed anything. Thanks for helping me hammer tis one out.

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