Stinquin’ Grammar

“We generally spell it OK — the spelling okay is relatively recent, and still relatively rare — and we pronounce it not ‘ock’ but by sounding the names of the letters O and K.” [BBC, via Daring Fireball]

We could care less what the Queen thinks about our English, but it’s good to know we’re mostly off the hook.

And speaking of Gray Ladies, the NYT “standards editor” would like you to know that “tweeting” is verboten:

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Now that Arizona has legislated a pig, its governor is worried about the lipstick:

Acknowledging that Arizona has developed a serious image problem because of its tough new immigration law, Gov. Jan Brewer and tourism-industry leaders said Thursday that they will launch a new effort to stanch the flow of lost trade and convention business in the state.

The legislation and firestorm of negative publicity that followed brought calls for boycotts, moved groups to back out of local conventions and led several cities to cut business ties with Arizona companies.

The loss of business is critical in a recession-battered state vitally dependent on visitor spending.

“It’s up to us to get the truth out there. This is impacting Arizona’s face to the nation,” said Brewer, who blamed the controversy on misconceptions about the law.

This is impacting Arizona’s face to the nation. Sounds like Arizona’s superintendent of public instruction should be focusing on the governor’s grammar instead of ethnic-studies programs.

Governor out to rebrand Arizona over immigration law criticism [Arizona Republic]

Somebody went to the trouble of gathering all the, um, independently spelled teabagger signs into a convenient Flickr stream, and of all the delightful ironies on offer, we chose this one for your definitional pleasure.

Close second: “Preserve the Sactity of Marriage.”

Teabonics [Flickr]

We’ve long enjoyed our American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, third edition, primarily because it includes:

a) word histories.

b) dirty words.

For example, between oral hygiene and oral tradition comes oral sex: “Sexual activity involving oral stimulation of one’s partner’s sex organs.”

A definition now deprived from inquiring minds near Riverside, California:

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As there are often discussions about grammar in the comments, I thought I’d throw out one of my favorite rules, inviolate to me, and let you guys duke it out:

The serial comma (also known as the series commaOxford comma or Harvard comma) is the comma used immediately before a grammatical conjunction (usually and oror, sometimes nor) preceding the final item in a list of three or more items. For example, a list of three countries can be punctuated as either “Portugal, Spain, and France” (with the serial comma) or as “Portugal, Spain and France” (without the serial comma).[1][2][3]

Opinions vary among writers and editors on the usage or avoidance of the serial comma. In American English it is standard in most non-journalistic writing, which typically follows the Chicago Manual of Style. Journalists, however, usually follow the Associated Press Style Guide, which advises against it. It is less often used in British English.[4][5] In many languages (e.g. French,[6] German,[7] Italian,[8] Polish,[9] Spanish[10]) the serial comma is not the norm – it may even go against punctuation rules – but it may be recommended in some cases to avoid ambiguity or to aid prosody.

Like Strunk and White before me, it was, is, and always shall be “red, white, and blue.”