In my copyediting class, we’ve been talking about the Typographic Oath, a list of 10 commandments I wrote to guide copyeditors in their work. My students are enthusiastic about it (think of that what you will), but the first rule—“Do no harm”—worries them.
During last week’s audio conference on web editing, I discussed the F-shaped reading pattern users have when reading webpages. One participant wanted to know if this pattern held true for mobile devices as well. I hadn’t explored that avenue in preparing for the presentation, so I didn’t have a good answer.
Now I do, but I’m not sure anyone will like it: I don’t know. Still, there’s some information out there that copyeditors can make use of.
Subject-verb agreement is a notoriously tricky problem. As Geoffrey Pullum, a professor of linguistics at the University of Edinburgh, pointed out in a Lingua Franca blog post, it’s easy to say that verbs should agree with their subjects, but it’s a lot harder to draw up a foolproof list of rules that one can follow to ensure grammatical agreement. There are simply too many gray areas and exceptions to the rules.
At the ninth annual Communication Central conference this past weekend, I attended Working Well in Word, presented by Editorial Inspirations’ Ben Davis, a certified Microsoft Word specialist. In Word, it seems there at least three ways to do things, and both Davis and attendees shared a lot of little-used features and shortcuts with each other.