August 11, 2014

Just petals
Just petals

Or are they leaves?  Getting close can be confusing as well as enlightening.

Ambiguity is one of my favorite things in art.  How is it different from confusion?  I think ambiguity lets you move from one state to another, and perhaps back and forth.  Confusion, on the other hand, leads nowhere and often doesn’t have a starting point.  Is that clear?!

Ambiguity in sentence structure annoys me, however, which is why I adhere to the Oxford comma.  If I am reading a sequence and come to the word ‘and’ with no preceding comma, I think the following word goes with the preceding one.

Consider this on an order form, say:

‘You can order hats in red, yellow, and blue.’

Very clear.  Three choices for hats, in each of the three colors stated.


‘You can order hats in red, yellow and blue.’

Are there two kinds of hats?  Red ones AND two-color (yellow and blue) ones?  Did they forget the third (and perhaps fourth and fifth) colors?  In this sentence, I get to the period unexpectedly.  I thought there would be a comma after the word ‘blue’ with other choice(s) coming.

But I seem to be part of a dwindling minority.  And don’t get me started on the misuse of apostrophes and quotation marks.

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