Challenging, wouldn’t you agree? To begin a story with a word ending in “ing.” See, this is where I disagree with the rule-makers of punctuation. I think that sentence would look better if it had ended with – a word ending in “ing”. Instead of having the period inside the quote. The period isn’t part of the suffix, it signifies the end of the thought and the end would be after the final quote. In any case, none of this was my idea. This post is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday series and Linda invited us to play by saying:
“Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: ‘ing.’ The first word of your post must end in the letters “ing.” Extra points if the final word of the post does too. Enjoy!”
Linda is a good girl, a talented writer and a knower of things grammar and punctuation. She probably didn’t give a second thought to the whole period-quote-position-dilemma like I did.
I struggle with many such dilemmas. My worst punctuation enemy, my nemeses as it were, and the punctuation mark that drives my editor crazy is the comma. I put commas where they don’t belong and I don’t put commas where they should be. My wife hands some of my draft posts back to me and it looks as if we’ve accepted some sort of variant of the conservation of mass and energy laws. Oh, after clicking on my own link (to test it) I noticed that there’s also a conservation of momentum law, too. I guess that would be important to the folks at NASA. That’s where the link goes, NASA, that wasn’t a random thought. Anyway, in our house we obey the conservation of commas law:
“Within some problem domain, such as one of my blog posts, the amount of punctuation remains constant and punctuation is neither created nor destroyed, it’s just relocated.”
I’m pretty sure that Isaac Newton’s wife corrected his grammar and punctuation too. Oh my, he never married. See, it’s a good thing that I test these links. I thought I could recover by pointing out that his father was also named Isaac and that I meant Isaac’s (the Isaac we remember) mother, but (see I wouldn’t normally put a comma there but my editor will) his parents were not well-educated.
Go ahead, take the cheap shot and say “one doesn’t have to be well-educated to know how to use a comma” because I don’t care. And yes, I added the “because I don’t care” part so I wouldn’t have to put the period inside the quote. I will often go to great lengths to avoid ending a sentence at the end of a quote. That’s how strongly I feel about this issue. In any case, Isaac (the father) Newton died before Isaac the son was born and Isaac the son was sent to live with his grandmother or possibly an uncle, depending on which source you like, so it’s unlikely his mother corrected anything he wrote.
Lest you think that I am breaking the rules of SoCS, I can assure you that I am not. My stream of consciousness is just being diverted by the ridiculous life of Isaac Newton. I’d have about 200 fewer words if I had picked René Descartes wife to use as an example. Oh for the love! René never married either. And, get this, his mother died when he was an infant and his father sent him to be raised by his grandmother, who knows, maybe an uncle, until he was old enough to be packed off to boarding school. I should have gone with Einstein.
Einstein would have worked nicely. He married twice, probably to help offset the single lives of Newton and Descartes, you know, to stay in compliance with the law of conservation of physicists, mathematicians and their wives. In addition, Einstein’s first wife, Mileva Marić is said to have collaborated with him on some of his famous papers. The article goes on to say:
“…but historians of physics who have studied the issue find no evidence that she made any substantive contributions.”
Still, I’m guessing that she moved a few commas from point A to point B and probably cleaned up his grammar a bit. Actually, Mileva was also a physicist. I could have used her, but her life seems as chaotic as Newton’s and Descartes’, with movement and enrollment in boarding schools. In fact, she was the only woman in the school that Albert Einstein attended (in case you were wondering how they met). She and Albert didn’t get along all that well and didn’t stay married long. They had a daughter before they were married, and two sons after they were married, but the history surrounding those children is confusing and sad.
Where was I?
More importantly, since I now sense the opportunity to snag those coveted extra points, where was I going?