Last week, Maureen over at Oddments offered an interesting post about an autumn scene. Afterwards, she offered the following confession:
A note, dear reader: many years ago, oh, so many, I was advised never to use a series of sibilant sounds. Which, as you can tell, is a rule that doesn’t take itself too seriously.“Coping” – November 10, 2021 by Oddment
I was taken by her phrasing, and since it’s Monday, and I exceeded my word count this weekend in the extreme, I thought I’d go with something light and short-ish.
Here in the US, we are waiting for one last NFL football game to round out Week-10, I’m drawn to the subject of officiating and the conversations and arguments that pop up every week around that subject. One week ago, there were many complaints about bad officiating during the Monday Night Football game that my favorite team ended up winning. Mistakes were made affecting both sides…but this isn’t about football. I’m going to apply football penalties(1) to writing.
Ending a sentence with a preposition – I think this would constitute an Illegal formation. That’s a five-yard penalty but you can repeat the down, i.e., try again.
They’re-there-their – this is what I say to The Editor when she worries about my grammar. Since these words refer to people, positions and possibly possession, I’m going to treat them as if there’s an ineligible receiver. That’s a five-yard penalty – try again.
Unnecessary comma/semicolon – This is a common mistake of mine. I often stick a comma in when I think the reader should pause. But who am I to say…? I’ll call this a holding penalty. I suppose, as the author, I would be considered to be ‘on offence’ so, this would be a 10-yard penalty. That’s how The Editor treats it.
Missing comma – The companion to (and often competing for the top position with) the unnecessary comma is the comma that’s gone missing. Since this would cause the words to be considered part of the sentence where they don’t belong, I’ll call this encroachment. That’s a five-yard penalty. Go ahead, try again.
Lack of capitalization or indentation (if you’re in the habit of indenting) – I think it’s clear this would be a false start. That’s another five-yard penalty – easily overcome.
Using too many big words a.k.a. sesquipedalian writing – This behavior (a form of unsportsmanlike conduct) is a major infraction. I’d say it’s equivalent to taunting. This is a serious penalty, 15-yards. If committed by the defense, it also results in an automatic first down for the offense. Don’t try to impress us.
Extra syllable(s) in line of poetry – I’d say this is equivalent to having too many men on field. It’s a 5-yard penalty. Try again.
Sibilant (making or characterized by a hissing sound), this was Maureen’s offence – I don’t really have a good fit for this. I did find sideline infraction, but the penalty doesn’t apply in the NFL. Since we’re all professionals, we’ll let Maureen slide on this one.
I normally stop at eight things. But since Cheryl is doing nine gratitudes during November. I will add this last one for bloggers as they format their pages.
Too many GIFs – I’d equate this with illegal motion. Another 5-yard penalty. Remove a few and try again.