Thursday, November 30, 2006


i edit like a blind guy. i feel my way through a paragraph, listening to the sound of consonants, words, and ideas; the squawk of a renegade comma or miscreant phrase. i have a knack for this sort of thing. but a blind knack ain't always good enough. writers are notoriously protective of their work, and every so often they may challenge an edit. and when they do, it doesn't pay to say "oh, i play by ear--it just sounds better this way." therefore, i'm quickly learning to combine my instincts with science. i've become a bit of a grammar junkie. my drug of choice is fowler's modern english usage, but i've got all kinds dictionaries, websites, and stylebooks to keep me company.

thus, one day it came to pass that i was merrily editing a schizophrenia manuscript, when suddenly, out of nowhere, a because came flying onto the page. "what's this?" i asked. the because sat in the middle of the sentence, separated from the main clause by a big ghastly comma. as i moved to strike the comma, i wondered, "gosh, is there actually a reason to delete this comma?"

little did i know that such a simple question would lead to an avalanche of becauseness. indeed, if you scour the internet for because, you will probably find that i have compiled the most comprehensive online resource for this silly subordinating conjunction. because of its size, the because reference is being stored at the 17 point scale appendix. but to whet your interest, here's a table of contents:

because answers the questions why? and how?
because at the beginning of sentences
III. commas
IV. confusion with other words
because versus as and since
because versus for
because versus inasmuch as
because (of) versus due to
because (of) versus due to the fact that
V. the reason is … because (no!)
because and negatives
VII. references

andrew david. "misplaced modifier" shekinah, saskatchewan.


Beth said...

you're insane. you're acually insane.

seanathan said...

Beth made me laugh!!