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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Title Nitpick Rant

The Marauder's Map is presented by Messr. Mooney, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs.

We all know that.

This does not mean it's by Messr Mooney, Messr Wormtail, Messr Padfoot and Messr Prongs.

Messr is the abbreviation for "Messieur", which is the plural form of Monsieur, and for those who want to be correct or pretentious, "Mister". And the Marauders use it correctly - I remember reacting happily when I first saw it. And, in fact, when the map teases Snape, it says Mr. Mooney, Mr. Prongs and so on, not Messr. (This does not leave out being purposefully pretentious, btw, which is completely in character for these, um, characters. That is, I can see them playing with the title just to be more pretentious, even to using it not quite correctly.)

The feminine version of that would be Mesdame. And while I'm ranting, :), the neutral title for adult women in the British Wizarding world is "Madam", not "Madame". The only Madame we've seen is Madame Maxime, who is French.

Just to add another bit: the British rules for punctuating abbreviations are different than the American ones and, honestly, all that matters, as far as I'm concerned, is consistency - either it's always Mr and Mrs or always Mr. and Mrs. It does give a more British, um, flavour, if you use the British rules, but better to use American rules consistently than British incorrectly, imho.

But the title "Miss", which, like Mrs. and Ms., is a shortened version of the word Mistress, never gets a period at the end in either version of English. I have no idea why this is so, but it is.

ETA : it's "messieurs" and "mesdames". Thank you, maya_a and darthfox.


Heh, good points. As always, I go for the American punctuation/spelling, but yes--whichever way you go, be consistent about it!

And the Marauders use it correctly
I'll bet it was Sirius, who grew up under the toujours purs tree. Ten to one, he got French lessons as a child.

I use American punctuation and spelling also. But I wonder about Britishisms in general when they aren't being used in speech by the characters.

For example (it came up in another fandom) panties vs. knickers. (Forgive me.) Do I need to call them knickers only if the character says the word or when I'm writing it too?

It's a serious question because I can remember that particular word and a few others, but there are tons more that I don't always remember. I'm never going to remember them all. Car trunk vs. boot, for example (again unlikely to come up in Harry Potter but in my main fandom it could.)

Anyway, these are good points. I tend to not write Marauders era fic, but I need to remember them all the same.

Brit-pickers are your friends for that. I won't post a long HP fic without them.

*nods* I'll have to think about that. I have one long HP fic on the back burner. But I made so many mistakes in it I'm afraid to go back. (If I hear one more time about how Snape only wears a frock coat in the movies... and see, I must have known that...) Plus the characterization... well I digress.

In my main fandom I don't think I could get a brit-picker :P It's a small fandom with some righteous defenders of canon and I get very oversensitive about anyone but my best friends beta-ing my stuff in that. (Which makes no sense because I then go post it on the internet). I'll just have to do my best.

panties vs. knickers

Well, if it helps, I'm currently working my way through all 4 seasons (on DVD) of a modern British sitcom called Coupling, and the men and women in that series refer to female undergarments as "panties" much more often than they use "knickers". In fact, I can't recall them ever using "knickers".

Um, I believe that both of the French-derived words you cite should end in s: "messrs. (messieurs)" and "mesdames". Otherwise, IMNSHO your nitpick is well taken.

I wasn't sure about that myself, so I googled it - it did look wrong, but I went with it.

trust your instincts. :-) it's definitely Messieurs (and thus Messrs.) and Mesdames.

i could go into whole Things about why the british have Mr and Mrs when they have Gen. and Hon., but i won't. :-D

i could go into whole Things about why the british have Mr and Mrs when they have Gen. and Hon

Heh. Could it have something to do with having been subjugated to the Continental sorts, and Norman aliens reigned over the British Isles for centuries?

Nahhhh :-D </sarcasm>

I think it's more to do with the notion that you don't need to put a period at the end of abbreviations if you've only removed letters from the middle, as opposed to chopping off part of the word.

Thus, Gen. Marlborough and Capt. Aubry, but Dr Maturin and Lt Hornblower - and the Hon. Mr Darcy.