Posted by: mygentlecloud | October 9, 2007

Some terminology to know …

I’ve copied from and wilkipedia the following new terminology which I’ve come across in writing.

Onomatopoeia (occasionally spelled onomatopœia) is a word or a grouping of words that imitates the sound it is describing, suggesting its source object, such as “click,” “buzz,” or “bluuuh,” or animal noises such as “oink”, “quack”, or “meow”. The word is a synthesis of the Greek words “onoma” (name) and “poio” (verb meaning “to create”) thus it essentially means “name creation”.

Uses of onomatopoeia

Some other very common English-language examples include hiccup, bang, beep, and splash. Machines and their sounds are also often described with onomatopoeia, as in honk or beep-beep for the horn of an automobile, and vroom or brum for the engine. Science fiction laser weapons’ sound is often described like zap. For animal sounds, words like quack (duck), roar (lion) and meow (cat) are typically used in English. Some of these words are used both as nouns and as verbs.

Ellipsis (plural ellipses) in printing and writing refers to the row of three full stops (… or . . . ) or asterisks (***) indicating an intentional omission. This punctuation mark is also called a suspension point, points of ellipsis, periods of ellipsis, or colloquially, dot-dot-dot. An ellipsis is sometimes used to indicate a pause in speech, an unfinished thought or, at the end of a sentence, a trailing off into silence (aposiopesis).

Ellipsis in writing

The use of ellipses can either mislead or clarify, and the reader must rely on the good intentions of the writer who uses it. An example of this ambiguity is ‘She went to…school.’ In this sentence, ‘…’ might represent the word ‘elementary’, or the word ‘no’. Omission of part of a quoted sentence without indication by an ellipsis (or bracketed text) (i.e., ‘She went to school.’ as opposed to ‘She went to [Broadmoor Elementary] school.’) is considered misleading. An ellipsis at the end of the sentence which ends with a period (or such a period followed by an ellipsis), appears, therefore, as four dots.

Em dash 

The em dash (—), also known as the em rule, indicates a sudden break in thought—a parenthetical statement like this one—or an open range (such as “John Doe, 1987—”). Its name derives from its defined width of one em, which is the length, expressed in points, by which font sizes are typically specified. Thus in 9-point type, an em is 9 points wide, while the em of 24-point type is 24 points wide, and so on. (By comparison, the en dash, with its 1-en width, is 1/2 em wide in any font.)

The em dash is used in much the way a colon or set of parentheses is used: it can show an abrupt change in thought or be used where a full stop (or “period”) is too strong and a comma too weak. Em dashes are sometimes used in lists or definitions, but that is a style guide issue; a colon should be used instead.

Su Yin


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