[Fwd: style remark]
andrew.danielson at CMU.EDU
Mon Nov 26 16:31:35 UTC 2001
An Engineering Professor for Whom I Work wrote:
> In reading text from some of you, I've observed that you occasionally use a
> citation as subject in a sentence -- e.g.,
> " introduces blah blah blah."
> This is definitely not acceptable. You should always start sentences with
> words. In the case above, you could use the names of the author(s) as the
> "Schwartz and Billings introduce blah blah blah ."
> One does see citations as objects of prepositions in the literature,
> however, -- e.g.,
> "This is shown in .",
> so it doesn't seem altogether verboten in current practice to use citations
> as nouns. Using this construct, one might rearrange the first example as:
> "Blah blah blah is introduced in ," although this is passive.
> It may be that the rigidly correct thing to do is to avoid using citations
> as nouns altogether. I'll ask one of my English experts about this. (Drew?)
> Of course, it is certainly the case that much of what's in the literature
> can be replaced with "blah blah blah" without much loss of meaning.
First, I submit this as an attestation to the use of bibliographic
citations as nouns in technical literature. Maybe this datum holds some
interest to members of this list.
Second, I am seeking input on the question posed to me (how nice that
someone thinks I am an English expert... I suppose that expertise is
relative in this situation).
>From a prescriptivist perspective, is the use of citations (as in ,
or as in [Smith 1999a]) as nouns specifically verboten in any style
guides that anyone is aware of (this parenthetical statement precludes
this sentence from otherwise ending in a preposition)?
I didn't find anything in Strunk & White, but that is where my expertise
stops when it comes to style guidance of this sort.
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