Sunday, September 25, 2005

Proof Reading

  1. I set aside a five hour block to deal with the unpleasant task of checking the article proofs that are due tomorrow. I started an hour late (needed coffee, a snack, a cold beverage, a walk...), and I am two hours into my time. I am almost 80% done. I think I deserve a break. I don't have a copy of the journal's style book, but their style differs from mine in certain annoying ways. They love commas more than I do. They put a comma after the first clause of a sentence [they would put one here!] when the second clause is subordinate. This difference in style has changed the meaning of one of my sentences; in one meandering compound sentence, an added comma turned part of a phrase into an appositive.

  2. Yes, my academic writing is filled with the same complicated sentence structures, parenthetical digressions, and other grammatical quirks that you read here. You can blame Mrs. Kelsh, my 9th grade English teacher, who gave us vocabulary/grammar quizzes where one could earn a B without knowing the definitions of any of the vocabulary words if one could successfully (and grammatically) concatenate a wide array of phrases and clauses -- containing those pesky vocabulary words -- into a single sentence. The vocabulary words changed every week; the rules of sentence construction remain constant.

  3. In case you haven't guessed, Mrs. Kelsh neither gave nor subtracted points for spelling.

  4. I consider it a victory that I have made my way through checking the proof of the Tedious Lemma. The Tedious Lemma states: Every object that you would expect to be nonzero is nonzero, even after passing to the appropriate localization, quotient ring, or associated graded ring. The proof of the Tedious Lemma is tedious, with lots of bars and inverses with both bar-inverse and inverse-bar and all that sort of tedious stuff. When writing the paper, I was reluctant to even state (much less prove!) the Tedious Lemma. It was forced upon me. It is things like this that make me a horrible solo mathematician. If we collaborated, I'd make you be in charge of the Tedious Lemma.