Thursday, August 24, 2006

(Brackets)

Ah, this drives me just a little crazy.
From The AP:
"There appear to be a lot of people that have heard that Connecticut is a nice place to be during (fall) foliage season," joked Tom Swan, Lamont's campaign manager.

Now, what purpose is served by sticking "fall" into this quote? All it does is disrupt the flow of the sentence. Would the reader have been confused without it? Worried that maybe Swan was talking about the spring foliage season? Don't think so.

Of course, adding a bit of information without thinking is bad enough. But not as bad as this, which really sends me over the edge.

"I told (the chief) that I wouldn't be there," the mayor said.
Well, no. I doubt very much the mayor actually said "I told that I wouldn't be there." He most likely said, "I told him" or "I told that bastard" or something. But he didn't leave a word out, which is what is implied by "the chief" added in brackets and stuck into the quote.

You can't just drop words from quotes and then add your own; the brackets don't excuse this.


4 comments:

Doug Fisher said...

Amen and thank you, Pam. I hate the use of parentheses in quotes; 99 percent of the time it signals a quote that's poorly set up. The ones that really send me skyward are things like: "(But) it's unlikely to happen ..." etc. Move the dang first word out of the quote. How simple is that?

And don't get me started on square brackets. Any pretense that most of our audience really knows the super-secret difference between () and [] is balderdash.
- Doug Fisher

Doug Fisher said...

Amen and thank you, Pam. Parentheses in quotes drives me crazy; 90 perecnt of the time it signals a poorly set up quote.

What really sends me skyward are things like: "(But) it's unlikely that ..." etc. Move the dang word out of the quote. How hard is that?

And don't start on parentheses vs. square brackets. I think if you check with most readers, they won't have the super-secret code to distinguish between them.

-- Doug Fisher

Doug Fisher said...

Amen and thank you, Pam. Parentheses in quotes drives me crazy; 90 perecnt of the time it signals a poorly set up quote.

What really sends me skyward are things like: "(But) it's unlikely that ..." etc. Move the dang word out of the quote. How hard is that?

And don't start on parentheses vs. square brackets. I think if you check with most readers, they won't have the super-secret code to distinguish between them.

-- Doug Fisher

Andy Bechtel said...
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