Finally some appreciation!

Anonymous emailer Ken Keenes writes:

I am mightily impressed by gruts which I stumbled upon quite by chance whilst researching fart related material via google. Actually, that is not strictly correct as I was looking for 'trapped wind' which I suppose is quite the opposite of fart. Nevertheless, your site is wondrous to behold because of the grammatical clarity and, in my opinion, proper use of punctuation.

I despair at some of the inane ramblings which appear on the internet which are clearly written by someone a) drunk, b) on drugs, c) both, but more importantly who did not pay full attention to English lessons while at school.

Glad to see all those hours of grammatical hell in Messrs Harrison's and Stephens' English lessons weren't a complete waste of time, Ken. I rather pride myself on my punctuation: I think it's important. I make a point of methodically punctuating all of my text messages, and pretending not to be able understand anyone who uses those silly SMS abbreviations. It drives my sister up the wall.

Now all I need is some content to match the quality of the punctuation. Not much chance of that, I'm afraid.

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. I too am a huge fan of Gruts. This is actually my first comment - just thought I'd add my cry of "bloody good work, old thing!".

    I must point out, though, that you have both placed commas after the word "and". As a self-confessed Grammar Nazi, I'm afraid I must place you both up against the Linguistic Wall of Death for crimes against conjunctions.


  2. I never used to place commas before the word 'and', but opinion seems to be divided on the subject, and I have slowly been persuaded by the arguments in its favour. I tend to put commas before 'and' when I believe one is needed for clarification purposes, or to introduce a slight pause when I think one is necessary.

  3. I'm going with Richard on this one. I too place the occassional comma before 'and' to enable a slight pause and to separate one part of the sentence from another. I was recently pulled up on my own use of the word 'whilst' and just HAD to correct the rogue. Actually, if I'm brutally honest, I'm divided on the whole comma issue. No, I'm not.

  4. I apologise to Mr Carter for attempting to use his blog as a forum, but this current talk of pedantry and punctuation has revived a query for me. Yesterday, I watched Goldfinger for the umpteenth time and the usage in speech of O (letter o) when meaning 0 (number zero) raised its annoying head again. Is it 007 or OO7? I've always believed he's numerical, but some have suggested it's OO7 for Overseas Operator 7 or somesuch. I tend to (read always!) correct people when they use the letter to mean the number. The date is 24/08/08 not 24/O8/O8 (I don't know how well this will show online).

  5. I agree entirely, and make a point of saying zero or nought instead of O when it comes to numbers. I had also always assumed that James Bond was numeric. But, now you mention it, I'm sure one of the films has an agent Double-O Twelve, or something like that. But, logically, if it was purely numeric, it would be Single-O Twelve. Or something like that.

  6. Bravo, Benedict. For those grutters unfamiliar with the song:

    Despite being taught/indoctrinated to feel revulsion at the sight of a comma preceding an and, I have since swung entirely the other way.

    I put a comma after and there, heh.

    The Wikipedia article on the "serial comma" sums it up well. Personally, I prefer clarity over convention on this one. More often than not complaints about it are really about US vs. British English. Give it another generation and British grammar and punctuation will be a minority dialect used by old fogies anyway. And I count myself as one of those old fogies, despite my use of the serial comma.

    I was also told, by the same teachers who forbade the serial comma, never to start a sentence with "And," which was unhelpful advice, too.

    Mind you, when I was very tiny, my parents had a Commer van. I wonder if that has subliminally had anything to do with it.

  7. In my past careeras a sign maker & engraver, it was part of my job tolook out forbad grammar & punctuation. (please excuse all the ampersands, I'm a lazy sod.) We had an expression in the trade known as the Baker's apostrophe. This occurs when bakers & many other tradesmen advertise their wares. You must have seen them:-

    Doughnut's50p Cream cake's 60p etc. etc.

    My favourite was a rival sign company who had a signover their door reading...R. G. Brunt Sign's

    I later discovered that Mr Brunt made most of Harry Corbett's props for Sooty.The amazing thing is that after moving to this address seven years ago, I found that R. G. Brunt lived here in the 1960s.

    Impressed?....nah! I thought not!

  8. Off to france tomorrow. Would you like me to bring back some bad karma for you?

  9. My punctuation is generally obscured by extreme carelessness in any case, but I have to say that I now use the comma before "and" with only the minimum of guilt.

    Many companies seem to have a Presedent of Vice, so they almost certainly need a Consultant on Principles also.

  10. Regarding OO7, I had always assumed that "OO" was a grade in the same way that M or Q is a grade rather than an individual. There is only one M and one Q, but there must be many other ranks where more than one person occupies a grade, and if there are more than 26 then several letters may be required. Hence "OO", and perhaps "MM" and "QQ" also. This may be raging madness, of course.

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