There is a great sense of energy and optimism when scores of word lovers get together to talk about their craft over various hot and cool drinks. On Sunday and Monday, the venue was the University of Exeter for the 24th annual conference of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders. The theme this year was "Editing at the Crossroads."
Last week, former intelligence analyst Bradley Manning announced through his lawyer that he identifies as a woman and wants to be called Chelsea Manning.
For the media outlets, the immediate challenge was whether to refer to Manning as Bradley or Chelsea. Should they use masculine or feminine pronouns?
I don’t envy the reporters or editors who had to deal with this question on deadline. There’s little enough time in daily journalism to write and edit before you have to publish. There’s no time to discuss the finer points of pronoun usage.
American novelist Elmore Leonard died on Tuesday. The event provided a chance to review his life’s work, which started with dime westerns and included laconic crime novels and movies. It also included his influential "10 Rules of Writing," first published in a New York Times essay in 2001.
The Web figuratively exploded this week with an uproar over the sudden realization that dictionaries acknowledge the figurative use of literally.
The figurative tidal wave of vitriol and subsequent calls for calm moved quickly from Reddit to Twitter to the language blogs to CNN. If you were literally under a rock all week, my apologies. Here is what you missed.
The Wall Street Journal’s iconic Style & Substance blog is now under the direction of editors Bill Power and Jennifer Hicks. The July 1 edition was the last for Paul Martin, longtime defender of proper usage and good sense.
Martin created the house bulletin 27 years ago. He retired as a full-time staff member in 2001, but remained WSJ's point man on style. Thursday’s Style & Substance was the first produced by Power and Hicks, who wrote: