When I left the copy desk and set up shop in the guest bedroom, Twitter became my virtual office. I’m never a few clicks from my copyediting cohort on Twitter. It provides ongoing education in writing, word usage, and the craft of copyediting. And whiskey.
Mignon Fogarty has given millions of people greater confidence in their ability to follow the confusing conventions of our language. To do that, she became a pioneer in podcasting, built the Quick and Dirty Tips empire, and developed a successful brand as Grammar Girl.
The 6.0 earthquake that hit the Napa Valley and destroyed some barrels of wine had a predictable aftereffect: the trotting out of the uncommon word temblor. Temblor is the favorite second-reference word among journalists for earthquake, and it seems to have little utility elsewhere.
I tweeted this bit of advice on the word, which is sometimes rendered incorrectly as tremblor (both tremble and temblor trace their roots to the Latin tremulus).
Scrabble is a game of strategy, probability, mathematics, and knowledge of obscure words—probably ill-suited to most copyeditors, who focus on the practical use of words. No matter. Copyeditors love anything to do with words, and so one of the great sporting events on a copyeditors calendar took place last week in Buffalo, N.Y.
In the era of Facebook and Twitter we’re reposting all the time, so it’s no surprise a fellow editor would see someone refer to a clever repost instead of a clever riposte.
The word repost is a natural formation that goes back hundreds of years: To repost is simply to post again. Post, as in mail, referred originally to travel by relay of horses. But you could probably ask someone in the 17th century to repost a sign that fell down and you’d be understood.
In the same week Oxford Dictionaries announced the inclusion of amazeballs, binge-watch, clickbait and many other new words into its online edition, the Toronto Globe and Mail asked a compelling question: Who is speaking up for Canadian English?
We’ve gotten the phrase “God be with you” down to three letters over the years, with bye retaining the b from be and ye, the old plural pronoun. It’s unclear when we took the God out of goodbye, but we’ve been saying bye for at least 300 years.
When Winky the house elf was found unconscious in a field after the Quidditch World Cup, her employer raised his wand and said “Ennervate!”
Those familiar with the word enervate might expect Winky to continue to sleep it off, but the spell had the opposite effect, causing Winky to wake. If the elf from from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire were enervated, she would feel drained of energy.
Now, now, let’s not go throwing around words like plagiarism. There could be a very innocent (or cultural) explanation of why you’ve spotted text in the manuscript that was copied from a source. I get it a lot in curriculum correlations and teacher guides because the ministry of education wording was copied from their PDF to make sure the wording was exact and the workflow was efficient.