One day, we might be able to attend conferences of copyeditors virtually, with multiple cameras in every room transmitting conference proceedings and picking up bits of conversation as copyeditors meet over coffee, tea, or wine, depending on the time of day. Until then, we at least have Twitter, and I’ve already created a TweetDeck column for #SfEP14, the hashtag for the Society for Editors and Proofreaders conference in Royal Holloway, just west of London.
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.
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 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?
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.
Headline writers love to pile up nouns to get as much information as possible into limited space. But many words in English are the same whether nouns, verbs or adjectives, often leading to ambiguous results.
That’s where the copyeditor comes in—when there is a copyeditor handy to come in.
Every profession has its hazards, some more serious than others. Professional drivers know that if they drive too long, they risk falling asleep at the wheel and causing an accident.
Last week, a few examples of the hazards of being a professional copyeditor were on display. I don’t mean there were copyeditors charged with vandalizing public signs. Instead, there were cases of editors missing the forest for the trees and of editors judging harshly without thinking or researching.
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.