Archive | October 2012

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The Turn of the Screw

It’s Halloween! And I’m reading The Haunting of Hill House, which I’m enjoying much more than another “classic” ghost story everyone trots out at this time of year: The Turn of the Screw. If you followed the #19thCenturySpoilers discussion on Twitter some months back (which I hope you did; it was basically my favorite thing ever to […]

Friday Fun

We’ve been short-staffed at the office for a few weeks, so I’ve been up to my eyeballs in work and thus not posting. I hope to be back at full strength next week, assuming Hurricane Sandy doesn’t knock out my precious, precious internet. In the meantime, let’s celebrate the long-awaited weekend with a few fun things […]

Like, Literally Literally

About a month ago, XKCD posted this comic: And I laughed! And I totally agreed! …Sort of. So here’s the thing. The figurative use of literally—when people use it as an intensifier but don’t mean that something happened exactly as they’re describing it—does not make one whit of real difference to the world, just as this […]

See Me After Class

Look, I try to be a nice curmudgeon, and I don’t normally get all outraged over people’s little mistakes. These things usually don’t really matter, in even the medium-size scheme of things, and besides, everyone is ignorant about something and everyone makes mistakes. But this, this chaps my hide. This was posted to Postsecret on Sunday, […]

Semicolon vs. Colon

You talked about separating independent clauses with semicolons, but when would you use a colon to separate independent clauses instead? Are the uses completely different, or does the author get a choice? –Stephen That’s an interesting question. When a semicolon joins two independent clauses, it’s basically saying, “Here are two equally important bits of information […]

Fixing What Ain’t Broke

I talked a little bit last week about how a copy editor’s job is not as much about commas and grammar mistakes as you might think, or how they’re at least lower on the priority list than is commonly assumed. This week I want to tell you about something I do do that you might not […]

What Has the Semicolon Done for Us Lately?

Considering that sentences can be separated with semicolons, what’s good will it do the piece of writing? Will it make the sentence sound more sophisticated as compared to using a comma and a coordinating conjunction? —Chad the Velociwritetor First, for those who don’t know, let me back up a couple steps. When you have a […]

Dash It All

Can you please break down dashes and hyphens? When do we use an em-dash? When do we use an en-dash? Do we put a space between the words on either side of a hyphen or not? Help! –Matthew Hoo boy! This is kind of a big topic, so I’m going to try to give you […]

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