Thursday, August 15, 2013

In Excess of a Punctuation Quota

This is a sentence in a book I am reading, punctuated as it appears:

"Some historians 'fake' a 'mood' and 'manhandle' a text to suit premeditated results."

The punctuation has completely derailed my focus from the subject at hand as I ponder the following:

  • I can only assume that the copy editor was so frightened by the scare quotes that he left them alone.
  • The chapter is about Arabic war poetry, but I think the sentence, decontextualized, could just about be submitted to the bad sex writing contest.
  • Given the combined overuse of scare quotes and the general point being made, why did the author write about other historians' results rather than their "results"?

Anyway, if we find ourselves with a quotation mark shortage later in the year, you'll know what happened.

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