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.
Do you ever mark up changes to a document using the old-school hieroglyphics once common to proofreaders? You know, those secret symbols written in the page margins that tell the designer to set a word in italics, indent a line, add a comma, stuff like that?
There is little debate with the statement that academic writing is too often bad writing. Academicians sometimes rail against the state of scholarly prose, and their fellow academics nod and shrug and go back to publishing thick pieces read by peer reviewers and few others.
There are dozens of species of marsupials in North America that we collectively call opossums. More likely, we call them possums, but that’s generally considered colloquial. It seems that possum is more common than opossum, which brings up the question, at what point does popular usage trump specificity?