When I was very young, my sister and I observed May Day by making paper baskets filled with violets and dandelions or lilacs and apple blossoms. We would hang them on neighbors’ and relatives’ doors and then ring or knock and run away. It was delightful.
One of those shibboleths that make one part of the newspaper copyeditors’ club is that Champagne is capitalized, as it is named after the region in France, and that if it’s not from the Champagne region, it’s simply a sparkling wine.
I’m giving a presentation tomorrow in Columbus, and the setup contract includes a “standing podium.” I knew that meant we’ll be getting a lectern on which to put our notes as we speak, and not a small stage or a soap box to stand on.
Two hundred and fortyyears ago, April 18 and 19, 1775, the American Revolution began with a British order to seize or destroy weapons, a nighttime ride to warn Massachusetts patriots, and a morning confrontation on a village green.
Peruse is one of those words with at least two meanings, thanks to evolution and confusion. The subtlety of the word is lost when we use it to describe a quick or light read instead of a close examination, but context is important whenever we use it.
The word is often used without involving either a thorough or cursory read: It conveys the idea of spending time to look for something, but not necessarily an urgency. These days, we are more likely to peruse paintings in a gallery on a lazy afternoon than spreadsheets while trying to balance a budget.
With March break, Easter, and Passover holidays behind us, Canadians start looking forward to May two-four—the cultural marker of springtime, the day on which it is safe to start planting the garden and when the black flies are out in full force, and a paid day off from work.
I’ve long espoused the utility of the singular they as a handy pronoun for when the sex of the subject is hypothetical or unknown. But as a copyeditor, I’m beholden to convention—it’s not for me to tell an author they should use a form that some people consider ungrammatical. My job is to provide clarity and avoid bumps along the way.