Star Trek nerds are fierce (Vulcan ears, anyone?) Grammar nerds are fiercer! Time for interstellar grammar war. The Venn diagram of grammar nerds and Star Trek nerds actually overlaps pretty heavily but no one in that wormhole can agree: Should the franchise's new movie, Star Trek Into Darkness  

have a colon and a lower case "into"? Get me my phaser! Let's take a look at the rich Star Trek franchise film history and check out those subtitles.


From the film-franchise-founding Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, the franchise punctuation pattern has stayed pretty much the same. Star Trek, colon, subtitle. Yes, Star Trek Voyager has no colon, but Voyager is part of the name of a ship; Star Trek being the first part. And then there's the double-colon abomination of the Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Raise the Dawn novel, but better not to speak of such things. Colons shouldn't be like Tribbles and multiply.


The next film, releasing May 2013, is from J.J. Abrams, the director of 2009's series-refounding 

Star Trek. Abrams's new film, titled Star Trek Into Darkness is, to say the least, hotly awaited. As the Daily Dot pointed out, discussion of the title punctuation and capitalization alone has spawned more than 40,000 words of controversy on both sides of the question on Wikipedia talk page.


What's the hubbub, bub? Prepositions are not capitalized per The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition, and prepositions of four letters or less are not captialized per Wikipedia's own style guides, nor per the AP Stylebook. WHY is that "I" in "Into" capitalized? J. J. Abrams also made the TV series Lost, so his traumatized, mesmerized fans are often looking for hidden messages and keys to mystifying plot twists in unlikely places, but finding meaning in the transgression of commonly accepted capitalization convention is a stretch. What's also befuddling is the lack of a colon between Trek and Into. Star Trek is treated as a noun, although "trek" itself can be a verb. Is J. J. claiming they are trekking into darkness? Quelle horreur! Verbifying the holy noun of Star Trek?


Tempers flare on both sides of this debate. Upper case "I"! Lower case "i"! Perhaps it will turn out to be a long-running Romulan-Vulcan dispute. One can only hope.





0 Kudos
by Fricka on ‎02-11-2013 09:44 AM

Hooo, boy, You sure have raised an interesting can of worms, Ellen .At first glance, when I saw the title of the newest Star Trek film, my response was that of course some dodo-brain had left out the colon.

Then I started to think--what if the colon was deliberately left out? Since the "i" in
Into is not capitalized, it makes it look as though the Star Trek tself is going into darkness. Now, whether that is meant to be the Star Trek, or journey,  that the Enterprise(or differently named space ship) is going into darkness, I can only surmise.

Of course, as an English teacher/grammarian/language-rabble-rouser, I must also put out a rather snarky comment that perhaps Mr. JJ Abrams is taking the whole Star Trek filmdom into darkness. Gnashing of teeth, anyone?

by Blogger Ellen_Scordato on ‎02-12-2013 01:21 PM

Ha! I love that last part. Yes, JJ is definitely putting his stamp on the franchise, which predates his fame by many years. We'll have to see how we look back on the "JJ years" in when the Federation takes shape.


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