Copy Curmudgeon

Sexist Language? See Something, Say Something

Whoa, who left this blog here? *waves away cobwebs* No one really cares why I haven’t been blogging (it’s because life), so let’s just skip straight to the reason for this resurrection: I’d like your help. Rhiannon Root and I will be giving a presentation at this year’s ACES conference in Las Vegas about how […]

I am a Bostonian

I’ve lived in Boston full-time for about 8 years, and before that I was in the city every day for college, and before that I was coming here for field trips and family outings, because I’ve lived in Massachusetts all my life. I am a Bostonian. When news of the bombings near the finish line […]

My Copy Editor Confession

Over at The Subversive Copy Editor, Carol Fisher Saller has asked copy editors to share some of their embarrassing mistakes, which I think is a great idea. It’s good to remind non-editors that copy editors are both human and all too aware of our fallibility, and to reassure other copy editors that they’re not the […]

Freakin’ Awesome

Recently, on Twitter, a fellow tweeter (who shall remain unnamed) asked me to stop using awesome to mean, like, really cool. This person, like many others, is frustrated that the milder use common among Americans is weakening a once-powerful word. The first definition of awesome in most dictionaries is its more traditional meaning: inspiring great […]

End of the Line

Today I’m wrapping up a two-and-a-half-day workweek, courtesy of Thanksgiving here in the states, and it has me thinking about one of the important tasks journalism copy editors do that doesn’t show up in our job descriptions: We make up time. Everyone in media works under a deadline, obviously, but deadlines are set according to […]

Space Cadet

When I was learning to type, I was taught to use two spaces after end punctuation. Later on, I learned that using two spaces was really essential when typing on typewriters, but it’s no longer necessary when typing on a computer. Is it actually incorrect now to use two spaces, or should people just do […]

In Defense of Ebooks

“E-reading isn’t reading,” Slate declared yesterday. Oh, well, thanks for the info, guys. Glad someone finally made a ruling on that. As usual, the headline is hyperbolic linkbait and the article is somewhat more moderate, but it’s just another version of the same old paean to the feel of a book—the heft, the smell, the susurrus […]

The Irrelephants of Style

Clearly fiction and poetry bring with them a different set of rules (i.e. basically none) to grammar and style, how does one deal with the challenges presented there? Is there any point at which an author’s decision to subvert grammatical norms goes beyond stylistic playing and becomes just plain aggravating? First, I should explain for […]

More Grammatical Than Thou

Gabe Doyle, the linguist behind the Motivated Grammar blog, put up a good post a couple weeks ago about the fine-for-me-but-not-for-thee attitude among some grammar peevers. Thus we see Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams writing a screed against sentential hopefully*, but then absolving herself for using stabby and rapey… When she says rapey, she sees it as the considered usage of a professional writer, […]

The Lost Because

I have a proofreader who corrects every “because of” to “as a result of,” and I’d like to know if she just hates “because of” or if there is a some rule I’m unaware of. For example, “Overall, oil services’ operating margins will likely contract as a result of reduction in available rigs.” Would “because […]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,690 other followers