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Monday, October 04, 2004

I made an enormous stir fry for dinner which is sitting very nicely in my stomach. Broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, capsicum (red peppers for the Americans), red cabbage, green onions, sliced steak, dollops of crushed ginger and garlic, sesame seeds, soy sauce, chili sauce and sesame oil. God, it's good.

Have you ever cut into a red cabbage and been completely transfixed by how beautiful it is on the inside? It's an incredible intestinal purple-and-white fractal*. I hardly wanted to cook it.

What does it mean when one suddenly finds oneself enjoying domesticity? Interior design, cooking ... I guess it's all right as long as it isn't about babies.

I am still procrastinating, naturally, although I managed to complete half of my math revision yesterday. I need to finish a chapter on graphs tonight so I can do the midterm tomorrow. I rather like that you can choose your own exam time when you take an online college course.

*More comma confusion here. Last week I learnt some more bizarre things I never knew about what is fast becoming the bane of my punctuational existence.

From The New Century Handbook, 3rd Ed. P.846

"When the adjectives in a series could be arranged in any order or could be (but are not) strung together with the use of and, they are termed coordinate adjectives. To show their loose relationship and to avoid confusion with adjectives that cumulate in a particular order to modify each other, separate coordinate adjectives with commas."

Now, way back when I first learned to use commas, we were told to always put commas between adjectives when describing a noun using more than one adjective. However, at the ripe old age of 24, I have now shockingly discovered that this is not true at all.

You should only really put commas between adjectives when they can be categorized under the same heading from the "preferred ordering" list below.

Oh, you didn't know that there is an actual concrete order in which adjectives should be listed before a noun? Neither did I. Here it is, on page 930 of the above. Marvel.

"The following list shows the preferred ordering of adjectives in English:
1. Article or determiner: the, a, an, my, our, Carla’s, this, that, those
2. Ordinal expression: first, second, last, next, final
3. Quantity: one, two, few, many, some
4. Evaluation: beautiful, delicious, interesting, unfortunate, ugly
5. Size: tiny, small, short, tall, large, big
6. Shape: square, oval, cylindrical, round
7. Condition: shiny, clean, dirty, broken
8. Age: new, young, old, ancient
9. Color: black, red, yellow, green, white
10. Nationality: Mexican, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese
11. Religion: Catholic, Confucian, Buddhist, Muslim
12. Material: cotton, stone, plastic, gold
13. Special use or purpose (may be a noun used as an adjective): carving,
carrying, sports, medical, computer
14. The noun being modified"

I might be the first person in the world to have a grammatically induced nervous breakdown. And the worst of it is that all this is happening to me in America, a nation of the worst English speakers/writers on the planet.
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