Keeping up with India (this is not [mostly] about COVID)

Our India QA guys just crack me up sometimes. First, they are VERY VERY good at what they do. Second, although English is not their first language, they know it as well as any of us who know ONLY English and probably better than a lot of Americans.

We have a defect meeting every morning and there are times it’s all so technical that I multi-task or doze off or whatever. This morning? We nit-picked the English language. It was so much fun!

So first up, we have an error message that uses the words “2 3-digit whatsit codes”. One of the “rules” of English writing is that numbers under 10 are spelled out. How did this error horribilis happen? I do not know and I WROTE it (in 2011). I can only guess it’s because that particular prodject was HUGE and I probably gave pause but forgot to circle back. This is at least the second time this issue has been brought up and each time I say something like, “I know it isn’t correct but I think it’s okay given that blah blah blah…” This time I threw my hands up in the air and said (cracking up), “Obviously this is bothering people so let’s correct it.” So we are going to change “2” to “two”. I think a numeral is fine in “3-digit” and others agreed.

And then we questioned the Oxford Comma. I tend to use it (except when I don’t). Our guys spotted it (in another error message). I was not an English major but I know enough about grammar and syntax rules, etc., to know that there are differing opinions about whether or not to use a comma after the second-to-last word in a series. Like “a, b, c, and d” as opposed to “a, b, c and d”. I won’t go any farther into it but we were all madly doing the google and we’re keeping the last comma.

Later today I was doom-scrolling as one does these days. I came across a Supreme Court case that was decided yesterday in part on the use of the word “a” in some rules surrounding deportation. This opinion came from one of the justices the Orange Baboon appointed and I no doubt disagree with him on many things. Nevertheless, I was heartened by this opinion because of his close attention to words and his thoughtful consideration of how this rule, thoughtlessly or maybe nefariously interpreted, could affect a potential deportee’s life. Words do matter. And so do people.

Oh, India. One of our guys is recovering from COVID. He is young (not that that’s any guarantee) and his case was mild. Stay safe. Mask up. Get vaxxed. This isn’t over yet and it isn’t just about YOU.

Old fugly-ugly pic from Mouse’s old computer🐽

P.S. Speaking of words, I recently enjoyed reading “The Dictionary of Lost Words,” a fictional account of the journey to compile the Oxford English Dictionary.

5 Responses to “Keeping up with India (this is not [mostly] about COVID)”

  1. Sam Says:

    I vote FOR the Oxford comma; it reduces confusion. I don’t know the why on spell out number-names under ten rule, except when…you got it…

  2. jane Says:

    I am pro Oxford comma. And also pro the attached photo!

  3. Pooh Says:

    I also love the picture, and the Oxford comma. At first glance I thought Betty was holding a bouquet of flowers. Nope, not flowers!

  4. Margaret Says:

    Oxford comma all the way!!

  5. Pam J. Says:

    Oxford comma! Now and forever the only correct choice. Here’s a fun example of why it’s important. From somewhere on the Interwebs:

    Highlights of his journey include a visit with Kim Kardashian, a 4000-year-old mummy and a collector of sex toys.

    Thanks for the book recommendation. Library copy ordered.