Posts From Author: punctuation

Steven Pinker On Style

The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century by Steven Pinker Viking, 2014; 368pp Is it better to err unwittingly or to be all crouching pedant, hidden snoot? This is perhaps a question more of lifestyle than writing style, but one I nevertheless contemplated throughout the happy week I spent surfing the pages of Steven Pinker‘s new writing guide, The Sense of Style. He offers no easy answers — sometimes it’s definitely better to put your foot down; sometimes you’ll end up with egg on your face — but, having read it, I go back out into the world with a renewed sense of purpose and a better-calibrated sonar for the faux pas. Like Pinker, I’ve been known to dip into style manuals for pleasure. I pride myself on being pretty good at spelling, punctuation, and grammar (although I’ve stopped putting that on my dating profile — it turns me off, let alone potential candidates). But with great power comes great responsibility. You can crush someone with a correction, however subtly administered. To point out an error in grammar or punctuation is, to me, no better than to tell someone they look rough today, or to ask them if they […]
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