Friday, December 2, 2011

Not pedantic - precise!

Let's be perfectly clear about this. I am not pedantic. I'm precise.

True, I'm very careful to find exactly the right words to express every nuance of my thoughts. And it's important to make sure that I address every single point relevant to the topic at hand. Sure, maybe that requires using footnotes[1] from time to time, but there's nothing pedantic about that. Footnotes are an easy way of making sure that you include everything without losing track of the main focus of your topic. They're a sign of organization, not pedantry.

And yes, as a matter of fact, it is important to address every little factual inaccuracy, even if the intended meaning is perfectly clear. Accuracy matters, after all. Plus, you never know when a particular distinction, however subtle or unimportant in its current context, might become an issue of vital importance in some other setting. So clearly it's best to correct these issues as early as possible.

I'm not pedantic; I'm precise. That's all there is to it, really.[2]

[1] This didn't require a footnote.

[2] Okay, maybe not. I'd also like to remind you that I have opinions.


  1. Good to know (1) you're not pedantic (2).

    (1) I mean in a warm and fuzzy way.

    (2) Assuming, of course, that your account of your not being pedantic is factual rather than fiction.

  2. I fear, alas, that I can indeed be pedantic. When I edit someone else's work it invariably ends up covered in scribbled explanations of why this comma doesn't go here, or paragraphs on exactly how a position is being misrepresented. I'm a compulsive explainer. In conversation, I'm also That One Friend Who Corrects Your Grammar.

  3. In conversation, I'm also That One Friend Who Corrects Your Grammar.

    Which would not go well with me, That One Friend Who Fails at the Spoken Word. I tend to react to people correcting my grammar when speaking the same way I react to people who ask if I'm okay after an icepack falls out of the freezer and onto my foot: "Yeah, yeah, I'm a klutz, now shut up and stop reminding me there are witnesses!"


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