1. plaidpants
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    plaidpants New Member

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    Not sure what punctuation to use

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by plaidpants, Nov 21, 2011.

    My sentence is:

    The dash just doesn't feel right to me. I was thinking maybe a semicolon would be a better fit, but then I started thinking a colon would be the best fit. Now I am completely confused.

    Updated my sentence, but still unsure of what punctuation to use.

     
  2. SnappyUK
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    SnappyUK Member

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    Personally, I'd use the following structure:

    "At first glance the phrase “Property is theft” seems to be a contradiction: how can the concept of theft exist independent from the concept of property?"

    I'm not suggesting that it's truly grammatically correct, but the format seems logical to me.
     
  3. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    maybe this is one of the situations where a ";" is called for? (If I got the "rules" right, not sure I did.) To me it seems like two more or less independent sentences, but yet related.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    could work with a comma and 'but' instead of the em dash or semicolon [neither of which i would consider using]...

    but 'property is theft' makes no sense at all to me... unless you're referring to 'intellectual' property and meant 'use of another's property without permission'...
     
  5. SnappyUK
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    SnappyUK Member

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    It's the English translation of a quote from a French anarchist named Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. I've always understood it to mean that elements of the concept of personal ownership have the potential to deprive the masses of their rights. Wikipedia explains it much better than I can.
     
  6. plaidpants
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    plaidpants New Member

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    Put simply, the taking of land deprives others from the use of that land. Therefore, you've stolen it from the people. It's a contradiction of terms in that the concept of theft cannot exist without the concept of property, thus it almost makes no sense. At this point I am just trying to make sense of it.
     
  7. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    Or perhaps (retaining your phrasing where viable):

    Since it is not possible to steal something that does not belong to anyone, the phrase ' property is theft, ' at first glance, seems to be a contradiction in terms.
     
  8. Prophetsnake
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    Prophetsnake Contributing Member

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    Funny, I understood it the first time I heard it and still do.
    Language isn't math. Precision in language is a good thing. It's not the only thing.
     
  9. plaidpants
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    plaidpants New Member

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    Are you referring to my sentence, or the phrase "Property is Theft!"?
     

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