1. MrWrite
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    MrWrite Member

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    Problem with character name

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by MrWrite, Oct 28, 2009.

    I have a character in my story called Mrs Rigby. The problem is, is that in Microsoft Word it says that Mrs Rigby is the incorrect spelling and Mrs. Rigby is the right way to say it. Is this correct?

    Is it:

    Mrs Rigby

    OR

    Mrs. Rigby
     
  2. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    A full stop (period) is NEVER required after Mr and Mrs, or titles like Prof or Dr in British English. However, I believe it is standard for US punctuation. The same goes for a lot of abbreviations and acronyms--punctuation not necessary for British but normal for US English.
     
  3. MrWrite
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    MrWrite Member

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    Cheers. I'm British so I will won't bother with the period.
     
  4. dgraham
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    dgraham Senior Member

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    I'm not 100% sure, but I believe that if you check in Word's help, you can find a way to change it to British English settings for spelling and so forth.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    UK publishers are increasingly adopting the US standards for punctuation. You will never go wrong by following US-EN punctuation standards.

    Don't worry, your regional spellings remain sacrosanct.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'm amazed [shocked, even] to learn the usually oh, so proper brits do not require a period for those abbreviations!

    but then, the french don't use periods after Mlle, or Mme and the english are oh, so fond of toutes les choses francais... except for the French, themselves, that is... ;-)

    [don't take it poisonally, fellow sitemembers who may be british/english... am just joshing a bit... no offense intended]
     
  7. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks, but I think we'll continue with our own standards! I think the reason we don't put full stops is that it breaks the sentence, which can be annoying and obtrusive. And I know you're joking, but many US rules are of course much newer, due to the standardisation brought in at the end of the 19th century. But lets just agree to differ.
     
  8. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I'm so used to seeing Mr. and Mrs. that Mr and Mrs has the opposite effect. They slow me down and make me pause, whereas Mr. and Mrs. do not slow me down one bit. I guess it depends on what you're used to seeing.

    My brain has mapped Mr. and Mrs. as whole symbols, whereas it hasn't mapped Mr and Mrs as whole symbols. In my sci-fi, I decided to go with Lur instead of Lur. because it is so foreign that my brain pauses at Lur. but not really at Lur without a period. Lur = learned ones.

    Just something for Americans to consider when making up title prefixes.
     
  9. LingGrad
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    LingGrad Member

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    The British standard (or, at least, the Cambridge standard) when it comes to abbreviations is that where the abbreviation ends as the word ends (e.g. Missus to Mrs) no stop is required. Where the abbreviation does not end as the word ends (e.g. Enclosure to Enc.) a stop is required.
     
  10. LingGrad
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    LingGrad Member

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    Another reason for them being newer may be that English has been spoken in England much longer. :p
     
  11. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Please don't let's go there...
    What do you bet, in Britain, punctuation rules are sorely in need of clarification sometimes, but being much lazier and anarchic than our American friends, we just sit back and let someone else do the work. Then, I must admit (sorry Cog!) a few of the more obvious good ideas DO find their way in ;)
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you look at grammar and punctuation texts written for the UK (and I have), they tend to document the US English standards. I suspect that some of this may be that the UK rules have not been formalized to the degree that the US rules have. I don't claim that that makes the US rules better, but it does mean they are formally documented, even in the UK.

    I also suspect that the resistance I see to formal grammar and punctuation rules, particularly amonk UK members, is a real cultural difference. UK publishers may be far more permissive than US publishers, tacitly encouraging a "no rules" attitude.
     
  13. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're right Cog, about the cultural difference. Having studied in both the US and UK systems I often tend to fall between 2 stools and hurt myself. Although I'm seized with enormous national fervour sometimes and try to stick up for the UK--typical maniac ex-pat!
    In the old days, the English Language we studied for in England, for the--in those days compulsory--GCE (General Cert of Education) O level exam was such a high standard that everyone who passed was educated to a good standard in English, even more so if you did the A level as well.
    The standard declined after about 1973 to reach the abysmal depths of today (until his recent retirement my uncle was head of English at a very big Secondary school btw). In a throwback to the 'everyone should know this, they did it at school' there is still no English 101 taught at universities so people make it up as they go along (some unis are advocating remedial English or sessional summer school in Academic English to fill the gaps). There is a real resistance to structure and rules in the UK, 'free expression' is usually the name of the game. A bit difficult if you can't string a sentence together.
    However, I don't think it would be right to impose some punctuation US rules on the UK, many really are quite idiosyncratic and just a matter of 'what you are used to' rather than 'correctness' as we've all agreed!
     
  14. Sophronia
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    Sophronia Member

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    I use the periods for the titles, like Mr. and Mrs. I've been reading Little Dorrit and I've noticed that it doesn't have the stops for the titles (Dickens was an English writer, so I guess that's why it's like that). I suppose you could go either way.
     

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