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  • [es-pree de less-ka/-iay] (idiom) A witty remark that occurs to you too late, literally on the way down the stairs. The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations defines esprit de l'escalier as, "An untranslatable phrase, the meaning of which is that one only thinks on one's way downstairs of the smart retort one might have made in the drawing room."


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August 22, 2011


Hee hee hee!

You know what is REALLY funny? The project I was working on where I could breathe because FINALLY I was able to justify the text? Well, I had brought in text from a different format into my art files for this project. And everything converted perfectly EXCEPT THE QUOTE MARKS. No joke. The type was all formatted perfectly except the quote marks were straight and not curly quotes like the typeface I had chosen. Why? God only knows. So, I had to go through each page -- 40+ pages to find every quote mark and change them to Bodoni -- manually - so they were correct and curly.

And here's another weird thing. I've gotten THREE proofs on this project. And guess what keeps tripping me up? Why I keep having to correct things? THE QUOTE MARKS! lol I keep missing them!

I think I got them all though.

I think.

This is just too funny, Claire! :)

One clarification, re: "Curly quotes are also known as 'smart quotes,'..."

Not to be too pedantic, but this is not quite correct. Curly quotes are also known as "typographer's quotes".

"Smart quotes" is the name of a software feature -- originally in Microsoft Word, I believe -- which allows you to type "straight" quotes and substitutes left or right curly quotes based on the context. The "smart" bit is the logic that figures out whether a particular quote mark should be a left quote or a right quote.

I think B and I had a discussion about the Slate article not too long ago. She was fine about using one space but found the tone a little untoward.

I know one space makes sense but I can't bring myself to do it. Clinging irrationally to traditions and dogma I learned as a child is very important to me.

In keeping with that, I always use the Oxford comma because my first grade teacher said that was correct way and no one will ever sway me from that belief.

Although, as clearly evidenced herein, I don't really pay much attention to my punctuation or grammer.

The most opinionated textual/grammatical conversations I have ever had to referee are always about commas - especially in lists. Do you put a comma after the second to last item on the list or not. Commas make people angry, opinionated, (see some of you are all upset about that comma) and inappropriately in your face. (Folks, just take a deep breath; leave the room or stop reading if it is too much.)

Personally I just want consistency within a document.

The Oxford comma is not optional. It only makes sense. And Elaine is right: I am *very* passionate about that comma. And I also like my two spaces after the period. Also not optional... #grammarhasrulesforareason (Aside: I've never "#" anything before. In the spirit of the moment, I thought I would try something new. Did I do it right? Don't be afraid to be harsh: in writing, I believe in rules! ;)

Oh Bird, I'm glad you found this post. It reminded me of that library post from back in the day... anyway, I agree with Elaine. I just want things to be consistent in a document. Really, isn't that the point of grammar? To provide a consistent framework for your thoughts? But I agree with you too, the serial comma is necessary.

You know what has been driving me nuts lately? A co-worker keeps using the phrase "flush out" instead of "flesh out" - gah! Annoys the crap out of me.

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