About

I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

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Look, you don't get good at writing by deleting adjectives. Writing is difficult and demanding; you can learn to get moderately good at it through decades of practice writing millions of words and critiquing what you've written or having others critique it.

Geoffrey K. Pullum



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Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 9/21/2018

Totals
Posts - 2522
Comments - 2582
Hits - 2,081,216

Averages
Entries/day - 0.45
Comments/entry - 1.02
Hits/day - 374

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 8:07 PM Pacific


  10:20 AM

I found this in a comment on a blog post:
The, not really qualified for the position of teacher, instructor never bothered to use Notepad++.
I like this, because the author has the right instinct: there's a complex modifier for the word instructor, and he understands that it needs to be typographically indicated to make it parsable. The usual way is to hyphenate the whole dang thing:
The not-really-qualified-for-the-position-of-teacher instructor never bothered to use Notepad++.
Or a more boring way is to recast, e.g.:
The instructor, who was not really qualified for the position, never bothered to use Notepad++.
But that takes a certain oomph out of the sentence. It's possible that "Scott" considered hyphenating but was not comfortable; creating a chunk of hyphenated text like that takes a certain determination, and a faith that the reader will plow through it. Obviously, yer various style guides are not going to be down with using commas as the alternative. Still, like, I say, I do like this. It shows a writing mind at work.

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