eternally stressed semanticist (cqs) wrote,

Thanks, Python Style Guide!

So, this journal having been laying fallow while I transitioned from academia to real, live, paying jobs, I'm now thinking of reviving it for the occasional work-related post.

As a potential starting post, then: I'm reading the Python code style guide, which I've never read before, but now that I'm writing code other people will have to read, it seems like a good idea to get accustomed to it. I'm finding it a mix of things that are good ideas, things that don't strike me as particularly useful or necessary, and snottiness about using complete sentences and writing in English. On this last point, the sentence that really struck me:
When writing English, Strunk and White apply.
I'll set aside the subject-verb agreement. (I know that US and British English differ on things like "the crowd is..." vs. "the crowd are...", but even in British English, wouldn't "Strunk and White" be taken as a single unit, insofar as it's a single book, and therefore use the singular verb "applies"?) Instead, what I find really striking is the dangling modifier: is it supposed to be Strunk and White who are writing English? A proper, Strunk-and-White-sanctioned sentence would say "When writing English, you should follow Strunk and White" or "When you are writing English, Strunk and White apply" or "In English, Strunk and White apply". I'd even be willing to grant them "When writing English, Strunk and White apply to what you write", which I believe S&W and its adherents would object to, because at least there's something the sentence ("you") for "when writing English" to modify. But the sentence as it stands? Unacceptable by any standard.

Meanwhile, I'm going to go back to writing comments however I darned well care to. Er, to however I darned well care.
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