Style Guides Stole My Brain

I was certain
of semi versus colon
phrase versus clause
en versus em
stop versus pause

but now
Defence does it this way, Academia, that
and for each I must wear a uniquely styled hat
Tech sector, plain English; Marketing, spin
little wonder my head’s in the shape it’s in
and I spend my days completely confounded
debating if words should be merged or compounded
and whether it’s ‘a ton’ or ‘1 ton’ or ‘one tonne’

(get that one wrong and your career’s good as done)
if I can dash with impunity or must double-dot
and when I must…
..and when I must not
and the comma, the commaβ€”oh, don’t get me started!
it once knew its place; now it’s upped and departed
my participally dangling brain in revolt

Oxford, Strunk and Chicago,
it’s your @:^#;$\,&*! fault


Thanks to The Laughing Housewife for her CoWA this week which cheered me up immensely after a rather gruelling morning at the dentist πŸ˜€

32 thoughts on “Style Guides Stole My Brain

  1. I don’t just ‘like’, I ‘LOVE’ this post, Bb! Everything has changed and now we all do our own thing. However, sometimes the whole meaning of a sentence can be changed just by a little comma. Legalese: don’t get me started…

  2. This is brilliant, Bluebee! The trouble is, language grows and evolves all the time. Chaucer is like another language. When we all write textspeak in a hundred years, your poem will be incomprehensible πŸ™‚

    Glad to cheer you up on a grey day – I love serendipity πŸ™‚

    • ha, ha, thanks, Tilly. I love the the way language evolves over time – a living thing that never fails to fascinate. (And I love Chaucer if read aloud by someone else ;-)) I reckon your prediction will come true, given the way technology is exponentially generating communications.

  3. HAHAHA BB Thanks for the smile. Here we have the apostrophe disease.
    Nobody seems to know where to put it.
    We have “Apple’s Β£1.80 per kilo” .
    And so many mis-spellings. Once we had a local farmer who advertised

    • ha, ha πŸ˜€ Those pullets good for neither egg-laying nor eating, then? That’s a classic, John. The fact that nobody seems to know where to put the apostrophe is an indictment on the education system more than anything else. While I’m all for the natural evolution of language (being a student of descriptive, rather than prescriptive, linguistics), I think that prescriptive grammar and punctuation have their place and should be taught in schools. Here, from what I understand, they did away with teaching these disciplines in the 1970s and have only recently reimplemented them.

  4. So gloriously true, bb, I put commas where they shouldn’t be, and vice versa whilst thinking back on times gone by, when you would be slated for doing so, now it’s every man/woman and child for themselves.. πŸ˜‰ … Does anything go?… I do think so… πŸ˜€ xPenx.

    • That’s the beauty of creative writing, Pen πŸ˜€ Freedom of expression brings freedom from workaday style-guide repression

      e e cummings is a sight for sore eyes πŸ™‚

    • ha, ha – thanks for your punny punctuated addition, Nancy πŸ˜€

      (seems we’re crossing over this morning/afternoon – I was just over visiting you :))

  5. Bwahahahaha – splendiferous poem – great rhythm and rhyme and very true and funny – reminds me of being back at Uni with all the associated headaches and drama πŸ˜‰ Strangely I miss those days. The last two lines are perfect!

  6. Amen, BB. Wish some grand high emperor of the literary world would make one way, and one way only so we didn’t have to have a great pile of style books for reference piled up when we write something…

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