Friday, June 25, 2010

(Parentheses)


This post is dedicated to Mayonaid because it is from our wonderful, pages long, totally bad-ass message conversation on le Facebook.



You Are the Best Thing – Ray LaMontagne

Is GAP having a good sale? I need to get business clothes if I get this proofreading job (I find out if I get it today! Je suis très excité).

Unnecessarily long, priggish grammar rant in 5...4...3...2...1...

I have a big issue with terminating punctuation inside parentheses. The parenthesis should be an interjection on the sentence in which it's contained that wouldn't fit or might even damage the sentence and textuality if it weren't separated. If it's not explanatory (really, it should be explanatory), if it isn't an interruption then it belongs in the text on or excluded completely because then it probably has nothing to do with whatever you're writing (or in a footnote, but I hate them with the flaming passion of a thousand STDs).

In the above example, "I find out if I get it today! Je suis très excité" doesn't really belong in parentheses. I put it in parentheses though because that paragraph should really be about the GAP sale and having to get business clothes, not about getting the job. However! my interest in the sale at GAP is because of a need for business clothes that wholly depends on my getting the proofreading job, which I find out if I get today (I know, right – DJ Dilemma, spin that shit!).

Anyway, all of this is supposed to be about my issue with terminating punctuation in parentheses brought on by my use of the exclamation point in "I find out if I get it today! Je suis très excité." There is no need because it shouldn't be a freestanding exposition (if it is or not, I haven't yet decided), but, all together now, an interruption. In a different case such as "All I can say is hooray! because I got the job," I wouldn't consider the exclamation point as terminating because it isn't; it's a glittered and bedazzled comma. BUT! (DJ Dilemma, keep that jawn goin' louder) in the case at hand, the exclamation point would need to serve as a semicolon (my saving grace for two independent clauses in a parenthesis), and homie don't play that. Could a jester replace a queen? Would you call a splash in a pool a motha-fuckin' tsunami; or a People's Choice Award, an Oscar?! Heavens, NO! You wouldn't even think it, let alone actually call an exclamation point a semicolon.

Okay...I don't even know what I'm talking about anymore. If it isn't obvious, I'm trying to tighten up my use of parentheses 'cause I let them run rampant. I need to be their pack leader; rules, boundaries, and limitations, Cesar would say. I could have just avoided all this by rewriting the paragraph:

Is GAP having a good sale? I find out if I get that proofreading job today (Je suis très excité) and I'll have to get business clothes if I do. I want to get a navy blue sport coat and dress pants, a white, fitted shirt, a skinny tie, and these shoes.


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