Friday, October 24, 2014

Quinoa, Broccoli, and Bacon Fritters

You might not know this about me: I am obsessed with correct punctuation. It began as a young child. Thanks to my book-loving parents, I owned more than 200 books by the time I was nine, and they were alphabetised and organised on my bookshelf.

My father took a break from his work to do a PhD when I was ten, and he moved our family to Scotland to complete it over five years at the University of Aberdeen. It involved a huge thesis and he talked about it constantly with our family. I was old enough to understand a little of the subject matter. His thesis later became a 380 page book called Attributes and Atonement: The Holy Love of God in the Theology of PT Forsyth.

One of my dad's achievements was to put together the most comprehensive bibliography of the work of PT Forsyth (a Scottish theologian) by rooting out letters, articles, and papers from all over the UK referring to his work. He compiled the bibliography using the Chicago Manual of Style (an updated version is A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers).

Dad taught me how to write bibliography references in the Chicago style. I found it fascinating that there were rules for which words were italicised and when there was a comma, semi colon, or other punctuation. The rigid guidelines were easy to follow once you knew them, but they were extremely picky. Articles, books, letters, and photographs all had to be referenced in their own particular way. Dad taught me how to do this. And then he let me loose on his bibliography drafts with a red pen.

All this is to say that I became a very picky punctuation proofreader. This served me well as the editor of my high school yearbook. (There is a missing full stop [period] in the yearbook that still bothers me every time I see it! Argh.) Now most of my writing is in blog posts or emails, but I still like to write properly.

On a related note, I refuse to use text-speak, even in text messages. My eyes hurt when I see "L8r! C u @ 715". Maybe I am a little oversensitive, I admit. I understand the rationale behind text-speak, but it's just painful to read.

Finally, I want to mention my favourite punctuation: the Oxford comma. I have used it in the title of this post. It is a comma used before the word "and" when the  list is being written. Some people say it is optional, I say it's correct. I noticed it when making these fritters because there is no Oxford comma in the title as written in the recipe on Donna Hay's website. This made me want to get out my red pen again!

Is there anything with which you are secretly obsessed?

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