----- Original Message -----
From: "Hal E. Fulton" <hal9000 / hypermetrics.com>
>
> Interesting people don't make this mistake much in a
> non-computer context. "Sometimes I situp in bed, lookout
> the window, and lookupat the sky."
>
> What really makes me tear my hair out is the non-word "alot."
> I see it every day (not everyday) now. Never mind that even
> "a lot" is not strictly proper English -- I was taught to
> use "much" or "many" in place of that expression. In formal
> writing, I still do.
>
> Hal

My pet peeve is the uniquely American way of including punctuation in quotation
marks regardless of logic.  Your example sentence ("...situp...") is witty,
clever, and correct.  The sentence about "alot" is just garbage.  Read it to
yourself: "alot." is not a non-word; "alot" is.

Explicitly, what really makes me tear my hair out is the non-word "alot".  (I
agree!)

I read somewhere that the reason for America's punctuation in this regard
derives from very old typesetting machines whose physical glyphs became
unbalanced or damaged when quotes were set properly, so they were set
improperly as a hack.  Fair enough.  Why this "style" persists in modern
educated writings is an exercise for the reader, and causes me to shake my head
in despair.

I just had a quick look in Knuth I, and found two examples of this cultural
atrocity on one page.  Sigh...

Gavin