MSK, let me take these in some order of importance. Again, I stress that the purpose of grammar is to help us think clearly and deftly.
That is the standard for me.
I don't know how you can promote the idea of a free market and despise advertising copy so much.
I regard advertising as protected by Freedom of Speech under the First Amendment. All communication is advertising, if you want to thinkg of it that way, else why bother to tell anyone anything? When I worked for a newspaper, we kept a bright line between Advertising and Editorial so as to avoid conflicts of interest. The USPS rules specify how much of a 2nd class newspaper can be advertising and how much "content." One of our editors read nothing but ads and he quipped: "well for me advertising is content." I got it and I adhere to it. That said, adveritising copy (New!! Improved!!) is as grossly deficient in thought as fast food is in nutriition and for the same reason: Lowest Common Denominator. Still, every medium carries ads and you get the ads you deserve based on the media you expose yourself to.
Without advertising in a highly competitive field, a person does not sell anything. ... ... Good ad copy does the following...
I understand that. Not to telegraph the punch here, but one of the ways that I sell my services as a writer is by creating feature stories that sell the product or service of the subject much better than any "advertiising" could. I get to tell the whole story, complete with pictures while the competition is stuck with "New! Improved!" because they do not know what else to say in one page. I do.
I wonder how well you would do at it for, say, selling a TAS conference or a brand of orange juice or even the free market idea.
How much are you willing to pay? I took four checks to the bank last week.
"... if you are writing a masterpiece of literature or more formal writing..."
You mentioned a mistake I made, but for the life of me, I cannot figure out what it is. I imagine it has something to do with rules.
What is more formal than a masterpiece of literature? (I don't know what the rhetorical error is called. "... if any of them is dead or more seriously wounded...")
In fact, I understand how many people feel threatened when the rules start changing, but that's the way language is. What was once an error 3 or 4 centuries ago (hell, even a decade ago) is now grammatically correct. I have encountered people who resist this fact, but that does not change the fact.
In 1994, I was the technical writer on an engineering software project, something I have a lot of experience at. I had the team all give me write-ups for me to edit and one guy turned in a mess. I went to him. "Jeff you write in C..." C-plus-plus, he corrected me. "It has a grammar, syntax, vocabulary. English is the same way. What's the problem?" He said that he did not perceive programming to be writing. For him, it was looping ties over axles, gearing connectors, etc. He thought in images. Later, he came to my office. He asked me who makes the rules. I said, as you just did, MSK, that languages change and when they do, we reformulate the rules. He said --- and I made a poster of this; I have it in front me me now --"English is constantly evolving.
Therefore, anyone who sticks to the rules
is not using the current revision."-- Jeff Millington, November 4, 1994.
MSK, I am not threatened by languages. I know quite a few of them. We were bilingual Hungarian in my home. I started German at 12 in the 7th grade by going to a university summer school and two years later, I won first place in a speech contest entered as "Of German Origin." Since then, I have had classes in Japanese (worked for Kawasaki and Honda), Italian, and Arabic. I taught myself Tibetan and published an article using it. I taught myself Classical Greek and have published with it several times. English changes. Even Latin changes.
Copywriters use a number of stylistic techniques to pack a lot of information in a few short paragraphs of smooth-flowing copy. Here are a few tricks of the trade ...
That is what professional writers are being taught in universities. ...
You are not professional until you are paid for your work. People in school are still learning to do it. I would like to meet the professor who writes for a living. Some do. I have one now, Gregg Barak. For a Marxist, he's quite an entrepreneur when it comes to publishing. But I write circles around most of the profs. I write an article or two every month and have for over 20 years, 25 now. I get paid for it.
I just finished a term of office (plus a half extra) on a political appointment for my local community corrections advisory board. I served as a representative of communications media. The chair is a hard-core Democrat liberal and at one point, when I offered a story to the local paper about her ineptitude, she tried to have the county attorney nullify my appointment on the grounds that I am not "really" a writer. I submitted a 17-page curriculum vitae of my works, mostly by accessing online indexes.
But puhleeze, don't pretend you are superior for being in love with antiquated rules...
No, I pretend that I am superior because I have achievements.
There's nothing special about me. I read Anthem when I was 16... My girl friend and I lived Atlas Shrugged. It left me compulsive and driven to achieve, to do well at everything I try. I went to college and had to translate Faust. (All that German. I SATed into 3rd year.) Most people think it's about a man who sells his soul. It's about a man who seeks experience. Peak experience. I never do anything halfway.
I needed a part-time job. I got one as a security guard. Last year, I graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of science in criminology.
I wanted to write about aviation. None of the pilots would talk to me. I took some lessons... then some more... You can find my work on www.studentpiloit.com. I've flown all kinds of single engine stuff, in Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Texas, often cadging the ride by writing about the flight school.
When I worked at Kawasaki Robotics, teaching robot operations and programming, I suggested that the company make its own $1 tokens as a tradeshow advertisement. That got me into numismatics. The ANA granted me two literary awards. I write a monthly column and have for five years. Being an Objectivist makes it fun to write about money.
I even helped to design a Community Currency, Bay Bucks of Traverse City. Read here.
And you know what? I am next to nobody here, down at the bottom of the list of achievements.
You fail to perceive the talent here on OL. You blast people, insult them, put them down, and basically bully your way around and that's fine because we all have big egos here. We all live for ego, right? But apparently you have no idea just who among us have achieved what. For all I wrote, I know others here who could bury me in their own bragging, but the true mettle of an egoist is that we don't brag because we don't give a flip about what other people think. "In order to get things done, you must love the doing." -- Howard Roark.
Edited by Michael E. Marotta, 15 April 2009 - 10:07 PM.