When more than one person is present in the context of a discussion, it’s necessary for authors to be careful and explicit regarding the use of pronouns. The antecedents of pronouns may be perfectly clear in the writer’s mind, but to a reader it may be anything but.
Consider the following sentence, which seems to make perfect . . . → Read More: Pronoun Perplexity
This article is from the series Meditations from the Track Changes Column
In the course of copyediting, I often find it useful to nose around in (aka research) what great authors of the past did. The sorts of points I seek insights into include examples of word usage, what preposition a verb most often takes, whether . . . → Read More: Nosing Around
Page with track changes on
In the course of editing the writing of clients, I encounter much in the way of ticks and bad habits, not to mention sheer ignorance, particularly in the writing of beginners and illiterati — of which I edit more than I’d like — in addition to the usual complement of routine mechanical . . . → Read More: Meditations from the Track Changes Column
Don’t you hate it when you see above and below used as nouns?
This lumpy construction usually occurs when the author wants to refer to material within text in a position relative to where the monstrosity occurs. (More precisely before and after, if you want to get literal about it.)
The above is what I believed at the . . . → Read More: Above and Below
My favorite magazine, The Watchtower, has a series of study articles in the July issue that uses endnotes rather than the footnotes it has used almost if not entirely exclusively in my forty-three years of reading the journal. A friend, knowing I’m an editor, asked if I know what the difference is between footnotes and endnotes, . . . → Read More: Footnotes Versus Endnotes
“There are all types of people in the world.” So claims an author I’ve been editing. Sounds like a truism, right?
No there’s not.
To say there is sounds as though there’s some master catalog of types, and that someone has checked to be sure there is at least one of each.
There are exactly as many types of . . . → Read More: There Are Not All Types of People
Dear Ed Itor.
Please to find in file word proces is many words of Story, Is very very funny hilarious freinds say (ha ha!) Please to choose salubrious and make nice sentinces with sound is Good English. If maybe some not gentle or Maybe I make masteak, but I did best Ican an dont know masteaks. Am . . . → Read More: A Letter to One’s Copyeditor
Cover of Chronicles, Volume 1
Contrary to implications from the title, and also to the customary method of presenting biography, Bob Dylan’s book Chronicles: Volume 1 is not a traditional “Born on a mountaintop in …” chronologically-told tale. We learn bits of the back story throughout the book, enough to be satisfied that Dylan, famous for . . . → Read More: Chronicles: Volume 1 — Bob Dylan
As of July 25, 2011, I have migrated over 130 articles from my Neologistics blog, where since August 2005 I have posted many unsorted articles, including items unrelated to editing, writing, or literature. The articles copied from the old site have all been labeled with the category LEGACY.
It has been a longstanding shortcoming of Google’s otherwise . . . → Read More: About Legacy Posts
Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Recently I read a news story that referred to Osama Bin Laden as the “former leader of al-Qaeda”. Former? Ha! Perhaps so in the same way that Hitler is a former Nazi, or Ted Bundy a former serial murderer, if we may refer to them at all in the present . . . → Read More: A Former al-Qaeda Leader?
Image via Wikipedia
In the venerable British tradition of estate naming, we call our house Haddon Hall. We named it that because we live on Haddon Road in Columbus, Ohio, also in tribute to a beautiful English medieval castle by that name. We would love to put up a sign that says that HADDON HALL — . . . → Read More: Simple Signage
While I was an engineer at Motorola, I began editing the written work of others on a regular basis, and in doing so, discovered my ability to tear into someone else’s writing and make it better without making the author feel bad. What I did wasn’t a customary or assigned part of my job, so was . . . → Read More: Looking It Over
Note: This post is a duplicate of the article by the same title on my Neologistics Blog, but here is where I originally intended to put it. I decided that rather than moving it, I would just allow the duplication to exist.
Image via WikipediaOne dismal February morning in 1962, near the beginning of the second semester . . . → Read More: Taking Remedial English
What do authors Stephen King and David Foster Wallace have in common? As authors, other than having been successful — very little. Their work emanates from about as far from opposite sides of the universe as can be.
Their commonality from the perspective of this neologistician is that they are two writers about whom I know far more personally than I do of their written works. . . . → Read More: Stephen King and David Foster Wallace Compared
Placeholder for a review soon . . . → Read More: Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition
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… or maybe the title should be Eye Sea Wards.
When I hear or speak words, I see them spelled out in my head. Similarly, when I read I tend to see the letters in individual words, so that when called upon to read out loud, I rarely mispronounce words, unless . . . → Read More: Icy Warts