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Re: [groff] 02/11: doc/groff.texi: Fix style nits.

From: Steve Izma
Subject: Re: [groff] 02/11: doc/groff.texi: Fix style nits.
Date: Mon, 16 Aug 2021 17:16:17 -0400

On Mon, Aug 16, 2021 at 03:33:55PM +1000, Damian McGuckin wrote:
> Subject: Re: [groff] 02/11: doc/groff.texi: Fix style nits.
> The AP, APA and CMS Style Guides, all of American origin, have
> a mandatory comma. While these Guides live behind paywalls, the
> Q+A web site of the Chicago Manual of Style says to "Put a
> comma before and after; avoid using both in the same sentence;
> and try not to use either in formal prose. And (a bonus tip) if
> you start a list with e.g., theres no need to put etc. at the
> end."

I think this makes the most sense since "e.g.", "for example",
"i.e.", and "that is" are parenthetical phrases, unless you're
used to slurring through them. The Canadian Government style
guide fudges a ruling on this by saying the comma following such
constructions is optional, noting that "use of a comma is
American style; omission of the comma is British style". So much
for Canadian cultural independence. Maybe the best way to
synthesize this contradiction is to use parentheses instead and
relieve the poor comma of too many responsibilities. It is after
all the most overworked punctuation in English prose and would
benefit from unionization and a shorter work week.

For improving clarity (always a good thing), I would avoid the
abbreviations, as you suggest:

>       such as  (not e.g. or for example)
> and
>       that is  (not i.e.)
> and
>       and so on (not etc.)

although "that is" is still parenthetical, if you ask me.

Steve Izma
Home: 35 Locust St., Kitchener, Ontario, Canada  N2H 1W6
E-mail:  phone: 519-745-1313
cell (text only; not frequently checked): 519-998-2684

The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best – and
therefore never scrutinize or question.
    -- Stephen Jay Gould, *Full House: The Spread of Excellence
    from Plato to Darwin*, 1996

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