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.
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.
I long ago professed love and appreciation for the semicolon. It might not be the most useful punctuation mark, and it’s certainly not the most emphatic. But it is the most optional, and that makes it interesting.
I recently and unexpectedly acquired a Butterfly, a 12-foot sailing dinghy, and immediately signed up for lessons at a nearby sailing club. I’ve always had an interest, but now I need to learn my sheet from my stay and my bow from my aft.
It’s unlikely that copyeditors and and other word lovers escaped the release this week of Word Crimes, a grammar lesson in the form of a comedy song and video by “Weird Al” Yankovic. It showed up dozens of times in my Twitter stream. I was tagged on Facebook, got links through email discussion groups and read about it on LinkedIn. Several people suggested Weird Al ought to be invited to deliver the keynote address at an American Copy Editors Society conference.