". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I Think I'll Pass

A few days ago we got a flyer in our mailbox. (Isn't it illegal for people to put things in your mailbox?) It was from a neighborhood girl advertising her tutoring services. The large, bold-print attention grabber at the top of the flyer didn't bode well about what was to come:

Going back to School?

(For those of you in Rio Linda, California, "school" is a common noun and should not be capitalized here.)

A little further down the page, the young woman in question offers her contact information:

Call: 1-[555]-555-5555 and ask for _______

Two things here. First, the colon. Here's an easy rule to help avoid colon abuse: never use one after a verb or a preposition. (That last sentence is an example of how to correctly use a colon.)

Second, a phone number with area code is correctly written with either dashes OR parentheses separating the area code from the rest of the number. It is overkill to use both.

Back to the flyer. She who seeks students enumerates her areas of expertise:

I can tutor in:
Math (basic math, algebra I, advanced algebra, and geometry)
English (basic engilsh, Honors 8, 9, & 10, and AP 11)
Science (including physics, biology, chemistry, and aerospace)

There's that colon issue again. And might someone who is going to tutor in English be expected to know how to properly spell and capitalize it? And I would think someone who is going to tutor in composition would be familiar with the spell and grammar check functions in her word processing program? Regarding all those subjects, here's the rule: if it's the name of a general discipline (e. g. math, history, biology), it's not capitalized. If it's the name of a language, of course, it is. If it's the name of a specific course (Algebra I), it should be capitalized.

Here's the clincher:

I'm a senior at __________ High and am looking to use my academic skills to earn some extra cash. I have a GPA of 3.89 and have taken honors and AP courses.

And you wonder why we homeschool.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

How sad and how true. I will need to look into the mailbox issue however. DH just had some flyers printed up advertising his handyman services that we planned to distribute about the neighborhood. I can assure you those are free of the aforementioned punctuation sins! :)