Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I found an acronym for the word STUDY online. However, the punctuation looks amiss.

It reads

Simply — to understand, devote yourself!

But I think the dash makes no sense here. Am I right?

Shouldn't it be

Simply: to understand, devote yourself!

or even

Simply... to understand - devote yourself!

share|improve this question
    
I really hate these sorts of bacronyms, but that's a personal preference. :-) –  jbeldock Mar 20 '13 at 17:50
2  
Simply has to be seen here as a pragmatic marker relating to the whole of the rest of the maxim. It can be used more restrictively (Is it enough simply/just to phone?), but here 'modifies' the whole statement. It is short for 'To put it simply' or 'Putting it in simple terms', but would look strange with just a comma to offset it. The dash or the colon work better. –  Edwin Ashworth Mar 20 '13 at 17:53
    
Ah yes, it is a bacronym . . Hmmm why the hate ;-) –  Adam Hollinger Mar 20 '13 at 17:54
1  
Just to add to @EdwinAshworth's explanation, if "Simply" were fleshed out a bit more to be more grammatical, you'd no longer have your acronym. Of course your question was about punctuation - I agree with Edwin's explanation there too, the dash is the best, if you need to use "simply" that way. –  Kristina Lopez Mar 20 '13 at 21:16
1  
Bacronyms indicate less good English. –  Edwin Ashworth Mar 21 '13 at 14:12
show 2 more comments

1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

"Simply has to be seen here as a pragmatic marker relating to the whole of the rest of the maxim. It can be used more restrictively (Is it enough simply/just to phone?), but here 'modifies' the whole statement. It is short for 'To put it simply' or 'Putting it in simple terms', but would look strange with just a comma to offset it. The dash or the colon work better." – Edwin Ashworth

I would go with dash too.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.