Monday, May 05, 2008

Colon-oscopy


I hadn't done any memes or quizzes lately mostly because I haven't seen any decent ones lately. Just endless variations of the "Tell (some absurdly large number) Silly/Embarrassing/Extortionable Facts About You." But then comes Claude of Baltimore Diary to the rescue with What Punctuation Mark Are You? These silly "What [blank] Are You?" quizzes are you can be very clever or astoundingly obtuse (Which Next Generation Klingon Are You?).

Besides, punctuation is always funny. Many, many places on the web I've gotten into absurd little discussions about gross abuses of punctuation marks. The poor apostrophe seems to be the most critically mistreated. Put in all sorts of places he never belongs and left out of many respectable places he should. So I nervously took the quiz to see what punctuation mark I would be.




You Are a Colon



You are very orderly and fact driven.
You aren't concerned much with theories or dreams... only what's true or untrue.
You are brilliant and incredibly learned. Anything you know is well researched.
You like to make lists and sort through things step by step. You aren't subject to whim or emotions.
Your friends see you as a constant source of knowledge and advice.
(But they are a little sick of you being right all of the time!)
You excel in: Leadership positions
You get along best with: The Semi-Colon


Not as exciting as an exclamation mark or as necessary as a period, but still, a colon is good solid piece of punctuation.

Colons are authoritative. They perform many important functions: beginning lists, introducing quotes, and separating the halves of an appositive. The only unfortunate feature is that the name is shared with a portion of the digestive system which can result in silly scatological puns. But the colon isn't the only punctuation mark with that problem. Try do discuss periods in a middle school language arts class without getting a few snickers.

I do have to take exception to the last statement of the quiz explanation. I refuse to have anything to do with semi-colons. Kurt Vonnegut (he said it, I believe it) called semi-colons pretentious:
If you really want to hurt your parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be a homosexual, the least you can do is go into the arts. But do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites, standing for absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.
Gawker even declared the semi-colon dead.

Colons divide: semi-colons dither.

BlatantCommentWhoring™: Take the quiz and 'fess up.

15 comments:

courtney said...

I was a dash, and the description was ridiculous.

baltimorediary said...

See, your second-to-last sentence should have used a semi-colon rather than a colon. Snerk.

I don't know, I kinda like the semis. But then again I can be a snob, if not actually pretentions.

I had a girlfriend in college who was taking a test. One question asked for a single-sentence answer. She managed to write an entire page using semicolons. Useful!

Don from I-270 said...

I failed the Rorschach test. I was trying to make something of the colon clip art that was associated with the digestive use of the word.

So, you have italics ?

Kool. Wonder why some others can't?

DemetriosX said...

I came out as an exclamation point. But as is so often the case, the description seems to be a complete miss for me.

And semicolons can be quite useful. Sure they get abused, but I find I have to use them from time to time when translating hideously complex German sentences. And, of course, you can't program without them these days.

yellojkt said...

Dashes sound a little obscure.

I have bold AND italics.

I tease about semi-colons; I should use them more often. I'm prone to long rambling sentences that need breaking up. And if coding was critical, parantheses would be top of the heap.

td said...

I am a question mark.

Um, or should that be:

I am a question mark?

Used*to*be*me said...

I'm a semi-colon.

You are elegant, understated, and subtle in your communication.
You're very smart (and you know it), but you don't often showcase your brilliance.

Instead, you carefully construct your arguments, ideas, and theories รข€“ until they are bulletproof.
You see your words as an expression of yourself, and you are careful not to waste them.

You friends see you as enlightened, logical, and shrewd.
(But what you're saying often goes right over their heads.)

You excel in: The Arts

You get along best with: The Colon

Jeff said...

This is pretty intuitive for a 5-question quiz.

I am a comma,

You are open minded and extremely optimistic.
You enjoy almost all facets of life. You can find the good in almost anything.

You keep yourself busy with tons of friends, activities, and interests.
You find it hard to turn down an opportunity, even if you are pressed for time.

Your friends find you fascinating, charming, and easy to talk to.
(But with so many competing interests, you friends do feel like you hardly have time for them.)

You excel in: Inspiring people

You get along best with: The Question Mark

2fs said...

First, my inner geek would like to speak. It's "semicolon," no hyphen. And they're fine punctuation, quite useful even if often misused. Despite my love for Vonnegut, he's being disingenuous here...and I suspect he used them once or twice. A more serious problem for my inner geek: the comma as displayed in my quiz results (that's my punctuation) is friggin' upside-down. That's not a comma. That's some sort of mutant inverted comma (what those Brits call quotation marks, since they - quite intelligently - begin with a single one, moving on to double ones only for the next level of embedded quotation).

The comma results:

You are open minded and extremely optimistic.
You enjoy almost all facets of life. You can find the good in almost anything.

You keep yourself busy with tons of friends, activities, and interests.
You find it hard to turn down an opportunity, even if you are pressed for time.

Your friends find you fascinating, charming, and easy to talk to.
(But with so many competing interests, you friends do feel like you hardly have time for them.)

You excel in: Inspiring people

You get along best with: The Question Mark


Just so long as The Question Mark doesn't turn out to be Jim Carrey in a lurid green jumpsuit. If it's the guy who led the band that did "96 Tears," that would be awesome.

Mooselet said...

I agree with 2fs - the comma that I'm purported to be isn't a comma but rather a left-sided quotation mark. And it's surrounded by a bunch of smaller left-sided quotes... or mutant sperm. I'm just saying...

I'd have to agree with the description, at least the first two paragraphs. You'd have to ask my friends if they find me fascinating, charming and easy to talk to even if they think I blow them off much of the time. And I haven't the foggiest idea of people find me inspiring; no one has ever come up to me and said 'Hey, you inspired me!'.

Thanks for the shout out on Achenblog the other day!

cathouse teri said...

Brilliant! And so was Vonnegut.
I can't say I ever use a semicolon. Sometimes, when I'm typing a WORD document, it tries to make me use one. But it doesn't make any sense. I guess I never understood them. Now colons, I understand!

BTW, I'm a comma. Looks like we have a few others who are commas. And it says we get along best with question marks, but it doesn't mention whether we get along with each other. Hmmm...

(Honestly, I should have been an elipsis...)

VE said...

I am the symbol formerly representing Prince before he went back to his name...

Cedar said...

I am a question mark, although I like Emily Dickinson, so I took the quiz five times trying to get dash.

Marie said...

I love Vonnegut (may he rest in peace) but I also love me my semi-colons. And you have to consider that someone known for his sentence fragments ought not to be lecturing the general populace on their grammar. And on and on. :P

2fs said...

Sentence fragments? Nothing wrong with 'em, if you know that's what they are and why you're using them. As did Kurt Vonnegut, surely.

(Tried to write three fragments but couldn't help but make a complete sentence of the second one...but I did elide the subject, so...)