Grammar Nerds Unite!

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Kifle
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Grammar Nerds Unite!

Postby Kifle » Wed Sep 03, 2008 8:40 pm

I have a little problem. In pursuing my masters (yeah, screw the cost of law school), and I have to take a pre-requisite rhetorical grammar course. Today we were doing some boring correction assignment, and I chose to use an em dash to separate an appositive statement; however, the prof said that not only is no punctuation needed, but it would be incorrect to use punctuation at all. The statement is, "Management is still taught in most business schools as a bundle of techniques -- such as budgeting and personal relations." I've included the dash where I see the appositive. I've scoured the net (10 minutes of googling), and all I could find was that the dash, or at least a comma, is necessary to separate any absolute or appositive statement in which the information is unnecessary. Now, I do understand that a dash is not the only punctuation that could be used; however, to say that the absence of punctuation is manditory, to me, is a grammatical faux pas.

Now, I understand I could be wrong; however, I don't think there is a high probability here -- especially when this class is centered around the rhetorical uses of grammar. If anything, and she disagrees here as well, the dash should be allowable and grammatically correct in at least a stylistic point of view.
Fotex group-says 'Behold! penis!'

Kifle puts on his robe and wizard hat.

Thalidyrr tells you 'Yeah, you know, getting it like a jackhammer wears you out.'

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shalath
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Re: Grammar Nerds Unite!

Postby shalath » Thu Sep 04, 2008 9:52 am

Kifle wrote:I have a little problem. In pursuing my masters (yeah, screw the cost of law school), and I have to take a pre-requisite rhetorical grammar course. Today we were doing some boring correction assignment, and I chose to use an em dash to separate an appositive statement; however, the prof said that not only is no punctuation needed, but it would be incorrect to use punctuation at all. The statement is, "Management is still taught in most business schools as a bundle of techniques -- such as budgeting and personal relations." I've included the dash where I see the appositive. I've scoured the net (10 minutes of googling), and all I could find was that the dash, or at least a comma, is necessary to separate any absolute or appositive statement in which the information is unnecessary. Now, I do understand that a dash is not the only punctuation that could be used; however, to say that the absence of punctuation is manditory, to me, is a grammatical faux pas.

Now, I understand I could be wrong; however, I don't think there is a high probability here -- especially when this class is centered around the rhetorical uses of grammar. If anything, and she disagrees here as well, the dash should be allowable and grammatically correct in at least a stylistic point of view.

As an Englishman, I would likely use a comma. However, according to the Chicago Manual, your professor is correct for written American English.
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ssar
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Re: Grammar Nerds Unite!

Postby ssar » Thu Sep 04, 2008 10:07 am

1) "Management is still taught in most business schools as a bundle of techniques -- such as budgeting and personal relations."

2) "Management is still taught in most business schools as a bundle of techniques - such as budgeting and personal relations."

3) "Management is still taught in most business schools as a bundle of techniques, such as budgeting and personal relations."

4) "Management is still taught in most business schools as a bundle of techniques such as budgeting and personal relations."

5) "Management is still taught in most business schools as a bundle of techniques; such as budgeting and personal relations."

I'd never use 1), prolly use 2), 3) or 4) at a glance for that sentence.
Tho no idea which is technically "correct" in American Grammar.

I'd consider: "Management is still taught in most business schools as a bundle of techniques, for example Budgeting and Personal Relations." which highlights one of the bundles which you are referring to (I think?), especially if such is written in Title Caps in any school documentation.
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Re: Grammar Nerds Unite!

Postby Ragorn » Thu Sep 04, 2008 1:13 pm

Your sentence is a bit tricky and I keep going back and forth on it. I'm not sure this is an appositive at all... it seems to fit the description, but only loosely. I might call it a simple non-restrictive parenthetical, which would need punctuation. I'd probably go with a comma where you inserted the emdash, but that's more a reflexive habit to reinforce my speech pattern than a hard set rule of grammar.

In any case, I wouldn't use an emdash there. An emdash usually indicates a complete stoppage or transition in the thought structure of the sentence. I use emdashes like very strong semicolons.
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Kifle
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Re: Grammar Nerds Unite!

Postby Kifle » Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:53 pm

Same here rag, however, sometimes I like to emphasize the explanation in speech so I use the emdash -- as if overemphasizing the true lack of necessity the explanation should have. I'm an asshole. As far as it being an appositive, I think you're right; it's very hard to tell in that sentance. I'd as my grammar prof what it would be called, but I'm not sure I quite trust her anymore. I'm very curious as to what "such as" statements fall under. I looked through every preposition list I could think of -- not there. It's not an absolute statement, and I'm begining to doubt whether it's an appositive either. Technically, I don't even think it is a phrase (as I think they need noun and verb -- unless the preposition "as" is considered the verb). Very tricky, that sentance is.

Ssar, 1 and 2 are the same thing technically. In MS word, the dashes absorb each other and become one dash that is slightly longer than a regular dash. It has something to do with a typewriter, but I can't remember.
Fotex group-says 'Behold! penis!'

Kifle puts on his robe and wizard hat.

Thalidyrr tells you 'Yeah, you know, getting it like a jackhammer wears you out.'

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Kifle
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Re: Grammar Nerds Unite!

Postby Kifle » Fri Sep 05, 2008 3:56 am

Asked my Chaucer prof, who has his phd in linguistics the same question -- he didn't know either. He agreed that, stylistically, the dash should be encouraged if not just allowed; however, it was not a necessary punctuation mark. He's wasn't sure what the clause/phrase is called either. He said he'd do some research and hit me up in class tomorrow, so... Regardless, I still would like to know the rule for this syntax. I have this shitty grammar course in the morning and I'm pretty sure my last e-mail pissed her off, so I want to give her a half decent argument for why I didn't just listen to her. I'm very afraid for my grade in this class now.
Fotex group-says 'Behold! penis!'

Kifle puts on his robe and wizard hat.

Thalidyrr tells you 'Yeah, you know, getting it like a jackhammer wears you out.'

Teflor "You can beat a tank with a shovel!!1!1!!one!!1!uno!!"
Kifle
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Re: Grammar Nerds Unite!

Postby Kifle » Sat Sep 06, 2008 12:18 am

Apparently my other prof talked to her and she let me know I was right in class today. I won the battle, but I'm afraid I'm going to lose the war. Incoming F bomb :(
Fotex group-says 'Behold! penis!'

Kifle puts on his robe and wizard hat.

Thalidyrr tells you 'Yeah, you know, getting it like a jackhammer wears you out.'

Teflor "You can beat a tank with a shovel!!1!1!!one!!1!uno!!"
Gurns
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Re: Grammar Nerds Unite!

Postby Gurns » Sun Sep 07, 2008 6:16 pm

It's not an appositive. At least, not with that sentence construction. "Such as" indicates it's a non-exhaustive list of examples. You could use "for example" or "e.g." in its place without changing the meaning.

While an appositive can look like a non-exhaustive list of examples, it's not, really. Where "such as" gives you a subset of the referent, an appositive sets up an equivalence.

"John McCain, POW and really old dude, is a great candidate for president."

You could write a similar sentence as a list of examples, but you have to modify it.

"John McCain's characteristics, such as being a POW and a really old dude, make him a great candidate for president."

In the "management" sentence, I think the "such as..." is a correlative clause, but I'm no grammarian. (People with Ph.D.'s in English aren't necessarily grammarians, either, by the way.) But I get this notion from the OED, which, in demonstrations of the use of "such", has this to say:

OED wrote:B. Signification.
Such is a demonstrative word used to indicate the quality or quantity of a thing by reference to that of another or with respect to the effect that it produces or is capable of producing. Thus, syntactically, such may have backward or forward reference; in the uses of branch I it has the former, in those of branch II mainly the latter.
II. Where the meaning is determined by reference to a correlative or dependent clause.
9. In uses marked by special word-order.
d. Hence such as is used to introduce examples of a class: = for example, e.g.


If I were insisting on a construction for your sentence, I'd go with your grammar prof and no punctuation: "Management is still taught in most business schools as a bundle of techniques such as budgeting and personal relations." Why no punctuation? First, because any punctuation emphasizes the clause. And I read this sentence as using those as quick examples, to give the reader a concrete notion of the techniques that are being discussed. But there are lots of techniques, so the two mentioned don't need any particular emphasis. Second, because modern writing style tends to exclude any punctuation marks that aren't required. I disagree with that in general, but that's the modern style.

However, the Chicago Manual of Style implies that the punctuation is wide open, depending on how much you want the reader to pause there. It doesn't mention "such as" per se, not that I could find, but it does mention "that is" and "e.g.", which play the same role. So according to that manual, use of an emdash, a semicolon, a comma, or no punctuation mark are all allowable constructions.

Of course, the Chicago Manual is only one style guide. I don't know what the MLA Manual has to say about this, and I presume that would be the one that would be the most important, in this context.

And "emdash" and "endash" come from the days of typesetting by hand. The "em" dash is approximately the width of the letter "m". The "en" dash is approximately the width of the letter "n".
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Re: Grammar Nerds Unite!

Postby daggaz » Fri Sep 19, 2008 4:07 pm

No... your first professor is correct (mostly) and the second one is wrong.

You would never use a double dash, or even a single dash, in this case. At the very most, you could toss in a comma and that is poetic license at this point. Really, there is nothing out of the ordinary to seperate the last part of the sentence from the rest; it flows along with and adds to the meaning of the entire sentence.

Also, whoever threw in the fifth example with the semi-colon was hopefully doing it just to have more examples. Use of the semi-colon in this case is blatantly wrong, as you are not connecting two seperate sentences, or following with a list.
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Re: Grammar Nerds Unite!

Postby Kifle » Sat Sep 20, 2008 7:20 am

Sorry, Daggaz, but I'm positive about this. The Dash (which I don't even know why you're distinguishing the double/single) and the comma, in most cases, do exactly the same thing when it comes to non-restrictive elements in a sentance; so using a comma would be the same, grammatically; however, they would change, and only change, the rhetorical meaning -- namely emphasis on the pause and the following element. Much of the punctuation you'll find in sentances is optional -- this being one of them. I prefer to add emphasis -- even to short non-restrictives. As I said earlier, the first professor changed her mind, or misunderstood the original question. Regardless, this isn't even a debate anymore.
Fotex group-says 'Behold! penis!'

Kifle puts on his robe and wizard hat.

Thalidyrr tells you 'Yeah, you know, getting it like a jackhammer wears you out.'

Teflor "You can beat a tank with a shovel!!1!1!!one!!1!uno!!"
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Re: Grammar Nerds Unite!

Postby Sarell » Sun Sep 21, 2008 10:07 pm

I've put it out to my year 9 citizen ed. class and can give you the following tips.

You could use a few more smiley faces and hearts over the Is and maybe a penis instead of the --.

It's better to start a sentence with "Fuckin'" whenever possible as it lets the reader know you care about the subject (this also alleviates any need for referencing since you obviously know what you're talking about).

Also, on the long words it is okay to drop off the last 3 or 4 letters. In fact it's not even necessary to finish a sentence if you don't really care about it.
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