0923: "Strunk and White"

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0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby Sean Quixote » Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:01 am UTC

Image

Alt text: The best thing about Strunk/White fanfiction is that it's virtually guaranteed to be well written.


Rule 34?
Last edited by Sean Quixote on Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:03 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby Eutychus » Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:02 am UTC

Shouldn't that be "well-written"?

/eats, shoots and leaves
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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby Maxpm » Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:09 am UTC

Eutychus wrote:Shouldn't that be "well-written"?

/eats, shoots and leaves


Hyphens are generally only used to clear up ambiguity. For example, "sweet ass-car" versus "sweet-ass car."

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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby jpk » Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:15 am UTC

The best thing about Strunk/White fanfiction is that it's virtually guaranteed to be well written.


No. Sadly, not even close to true.

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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby skeptical scientist » Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:36 am UTC

xkcd wrote:The only good thing about Strunk/White fanfiction is that it's virtually guaranteed to be well written.

ftfy
Eutychus wrote:Shouldn't that be "well-written"?

/eats, shoots and leaves

No. A "fanfic which is well written" is a "well-written fanfic," but whether you hyphenate depends on how the compound modifier is being used.
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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby Eternal Density » Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:37 am UTC

Never heard of Strunk and/or White. Or is that Strunk & or / White? Whatever.
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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby phlip » Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:43 am UTC

The important question is whether the abbreviated compound name would be "Strite" or "Whunk". Neither sounds particularly appetising. "Whunk" in particular sounds like a euphemism for something horrible.

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enum ಠ_ಠ {°□°╰=1, °Д°╰, ಠ益ಠ╰};
void ┻━┻︵​╰(ಠ_ಠ ⚠) {exit((int)⚠);}
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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby hansolo22 » Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:51 am UTC

I prefer Whunk. The other seems a tad bit trite, don't you think?

Also I find it appalling just how poorly-written most fanfiction is. It's like the people who want to write that stuff are the absolutely least qualified people to actually do the writing. Out-of-character characters, no detail or exposition, people saying exactly what they're thinking, etc. *Shudder*
Last edited by hansolo22 on Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:54 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby Sean Quixote » Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:52 am UTC

Strite sounds like "spite" and "trite" put together, and Whunk sounds like a female skunk... come to think of it Strunk already reminds me of the word "skunk" in the first place. I used to know a guy, he'd always call it "Skunk 'n' White"...

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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby Eutychus » Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:53 am UTC

skeptical scientist wrote:
xkcd wrote:The only good thing about Strunk/White fanfiction is that it's virtually guaranteed to be well written.

ftfy
Eutychus wrote:Shouldn't that be "well-written"?

/eats, shoots and leaves

No. A "fanfic which is well written" is a "well-written fanfic," but whether you hyphenate depends on how the compound modifier is being used.


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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby RebeccaRGB » Mon Jul 11, 2011 6:02 am UTC

hansolo22 wrote:people saying exactly what they're thinking


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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby Sgore » Mon Jul 11, 2011 6:04 am UTC

I'm in the middle of re-reading this very book for fun. This comic has now made it considerably harder to finish such a task. Still, thank you for tossing one out to the English majors, Mr. Munroe.

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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby BrianX » Mon Jul 11, 2011 6:20 am UTC

I've long thought "Strunk" sounded like the past tense of something that you'd do to punish someone for bad writing, like strinking them until they turn white or something. Some kind of torture involving bleach i suppose.

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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby dlc » Mon Jul 11, 2011 6:24 am UTC

Okay, I'm too afraid to search Google for something described as "erotic fan fiction". Would anyone be so kind as to explain to the uninitiated what "Strunk" and "White" are referring to?

— Innocent on the Internet

P.S. In regards to someone being wrong on the internet, the words "well written" in the phrase "virtually guaranteed to be well written" should not be hyphenated, because they do not form a compound modifier.

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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby jpk » Mon Jul 11, 2011 6:27 am UTC

I've long thought "Strunk" sounded like the past tense of something that you'd do to punish someone for bad writing


Obliquely, this reminds me of the old joke about the guy who gets into a cab at Logan and says to the cabbie, "Take me to a place where I can get scrod". And the cabbie says to him, "Mister, that's the first time I've ever heard that used in the pluperfect subjunctive".

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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby phlip » Mon Jul 11, 2011 6:41 am UTC

dlc wrote:Okay, I'm too afraid to search Google for something described as "erotic fan fiction". Would anyone be so kind as to explain to the uninitiated what "Strunk" and "White" are referring to?

-- Innocent on the Internet

"Strunk & White" is referring to this - it's a writing style guide. Or more precisely, the names of the two people who wrote said style guide.

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enum ಠ_ಠ {°□°╰=1, °Д°╰, ಠ益ಠ╰};
void ┻━┻︵​╰(ಠ_ಠ ⚠) {exit((int)⚠);}
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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby memcginn » Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:03 am UTC

I only have one real response to this comic:

*has a guess at what "The Elements of Style" is, based on the comic*
*confirms suspicions via Google/Wikipedia*
Wait...there's fanfiction for this? Who the hell writes "fanfiction" about what appears to be an English textbook? And what could the purpose and plot possibly be?
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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby BrianX » Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:22 am UTC

memcginn wrote:I only have one real response to this comic:

*has a guess at what "The Elements of Style" is, based on the comic*
*confirms suspicions via Google/Wikipedia*
Wait...there's fanfiction for this? Who the hell writes "fanfiction" about what appears to be an English textbook? And what could the purpose and plot possibly be?


Rule 34. And unlike wetriffs.com, "hot for teacher" is a very, very well-established porn trope.

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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby Coffee » Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:34 am UTC

I am not a writer, nevermind a fanfiction writer.
If I were, and were I to write on Strunk and White, I think I would filch the title from one of it's critics:
"The Book that Ate America's Brain."
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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby DontPanic6x9 » Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:35 am UTC

The important question: Anyone find any real examples of Strunk/White yet?

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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby feyayeruka » Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:38 am UTC

that's it! I'm registering http://downanddirtywithgrammar.com

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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby Tobu » Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:42 am UTC

Shouldn't that be: We, the current editors of Strunk & White’s Elements of Style?

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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby phlip » Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:45 am UTC

Tobu wrote:Shouldn't that be: We, the current editors of Strunk & White's Elements of Style?

No, the title of the book includes the word "The".

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enum ಠ_ಠ {°□°╰=1, °Д°╰, ಠ益ಠ╰};
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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby Steve the Pocket » Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:45 am UTC

Shouldn't it be StrunkxWhite? Or Strunk×White as I guess they would write if they weren't too lazy to find the non-keyboard symbols. The "x" seems to have supplanted the slash in recent years.
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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby Eternal Density » Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:48 am UTC

I just remembered there's a real-estate agent named L.J. Hooker. Thought that was relevant.
Steve the Pocket wrote:Shouldn't it be StrunkxWhite? Or Strunk×White as I guess they would write if they weren't too lazy to find the non-keyboard symbols. The "x" seems to have supplanted the slash in recent years.
I more often see no delimiter or space at all or else a portmanteau. (In the description. And then I don't read any further. Honest.)


(Hang on a second...
Okay, in my fanfics I've had a bit of 'names with no space' and a bit of / as well. So I'm inconsistent. Please note that this is just to denote that a relationship exists, not that there are any erotic contents whatsoever. Oh and I've kinda forgotten to write anything for a year. My poor fans :()
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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby japes » Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:52 am UTC

For anyone thinks that Strunk and White give good grammar advice (as the alt text suggests), this: http://chronicle.com/article/50-Years-of-Stupid-Grammar/25497 is a good read (written by someone who actually knows what they're talking about).

(Sorry for the lack of proper link -- I assume that I'm disallowed from posting links as a new member)

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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby TimeSpaceMage » Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:02 am UTC

Aghhh @ mouseover text, that's pretty terrible X)
I only know from Strunk & White because my mom took Honors English and still had the guide for reference.

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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby slaxor » Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:06 am UTC

I wonder what such a fanfiction contain. I imagine it would be really anal. Apart from the whole m/m thing, I mean.

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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby Fixblor » Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:43 am UTC

japes wrote:(Sorry for the lack of proper link -- I assume that I'm disallowed from posting links as a new member)

Here you go:
Some valid link from a forum noob
That's as big as I could make it without turning it into a run-on sentence
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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby Evil Midnight Lurker » Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:46 am UTC

cannot

stop

laughing




send help

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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby McHell » Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:50 am UTC

Well-written? I doubt it. Yes, technically flawless, but probably bloodless and unreadable; like the inverse of a JK Rowling thing.

There won't be any split infinitives, but /why/ not --- just because Shakespeare abhorred them, a lot of people now claim it's a crime to use them?

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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby Auliya » Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:03 am UTC

Isn't anyone going to post a link to his/her favourite Strunk/White fanfic? :mrgreen:

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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby kryton » Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:52 am UTC

According to the urban dictionary online:
strunk = being stoned and drunk at the same time.
1298 and counting

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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby neoliminal » Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:19 am UTC

Alt text:
The best thing about Strunk/White fanfiction is that it's virtually guaranteed to be, well, written.


Fixed the punctuation error in title text.
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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby feyayeruka » Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:50 am UTC

touche'!

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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby Farabor » Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:34 pm UTC

So....are these the bastiches who demonized the use of the passive voice?

The many students who have suffered this injustice suffered from this atrocity!

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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby jpk » Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:53 pm UTC

japes wrote:For anyone thinks that Strunk and White give good grammar advice (as the alt text suggests), this: http://chronicle.com/article/50-Years-o ... mmar/25497 is a good read (written by someone who actually knows what they're talking about).

(Sorry for the lack of proper link -- I assume that I'm disallowed from posting links as a new member)


It is a good read, and Pullum does generally know what he's talking about. However, Pullum is a linguist, and he's not arguing about linguistics, so his qualifications to debate with Strunk and White are simply that he's a good writer, and his arguments boil down to "I don't agree with their advice". Fair enough, but hardly the definitive dismantling of S&W that you suggest.

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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby goofy » Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:27 pm UTC

jpk wrote:It is a good read, and Pullum does generally know what he's talking about. However, Pullum is a linguist, and he's not arguing about linguistics, so his qualifications to debate with Strunk and White are simply that he's a good writer, and his arguments boil down to "I don't agree with their advice". Fair enough, but hardly the definitive dismantling of S&W that you suggest.


Pullum's argument goes a lot further than "I don't agree with their advice". He points out that a lot of the time, Strunk and White simply get stuff wrong. They can't identify a passive clause, their advice on points like "that/which", "none", "however" and split infinitives is at odds with the facts of English and how the best writers write. And Strunk and White themselves don't follow their own advice - and nor should they, because it's bad advice.

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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby Uzh » Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:48 pm UTC

kryton wrote:According to the urban dictionary online:
strunk = being stoned and drunk at the same time.


"Strunk" is a german word for the stalk (i.e. the heart of a lettuce). I think it might have been the surname of some unhappy german immigrant...

Well - as a German with a limited knowledge of all the depths of english/american habits I always turn to the fora if something in xkcd is unclear. Usually someone explains it within the first page of the forum. Sometimes explainxkcd.com helps, but the forum tends to be more quick and more correct - and after all - detailled.

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Re: 0923: "Strunk and White"

Postby kjsharke » Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:14 pm UTC

jpk wrote:
japes wrote:For anyone thinks that Strunk and White give good grammar advice (as the alt text suggests), this: http://chronicle.com/article/50-Years-o ... mmar/25497 is a good read (written by someone who actually knows what they're talking about).

(Sorry for the lack of proper link -- I assume that I'm disallowed from posting links as a new member)


It is a good read, and Pullum does generally know what he's talking about. However, Pullum is a linguist, and he's not arguing about linguistics, so his qualifications to debate with Strunk and White are simply that he's a good writer, and his arguments boil down to "I don't agree with their advice". Fair enough, but hardly the definitive dismantling of S&W that you suggest.


For me: 'style' (good or bad writing in a particular setting) is completely separate from 'grammar' (correct or incorrect writing). As a book of style, I often disagree with S&W, but as you say, that does not make it wrong. However, as a book of grammar (as it is often used), S&W is clearly wrong.

Edit to clarify -- S&W advises readers to not split infinitives. I think the previous sentence sounds awkward, so clearly it **can** be good advice (though not always). As the editor of "The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language", Pullum is certainly qualified to claim that split infinitives are not grammatically incorrect.
Last edited by kjsharke on Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:32 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.


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