More Blog Posts
One of the signs of maturity in an editor is the realization that she imposes different sets of “rules” depending on the client’s preference. There are few indisputable rules, the editor realizes, as she is exposed to more and more sets of preferences.
Yesterday I blogged about the that/which distinction being a choice rather than a hard-and-fast rule. A judge emailed me directly to say that “folks whose readers depend on precision (as do those in my field) ignore the rule at their peril.” It’s hard to take issue with a group who focuses on language as much as we do. Though lawyers may want to structure their writing so that meaning doesn’t hinge on defining a single word—or on a “rule” that is not universally observed...Read More »
Don’t fear me.
A Daily Mail story from the other day contains a quote from a 1964 letter between two TV executives discussing the interviewer David Frost. The controller for BBC1 at the time wrote:
His option to continue beyond the initial six weeks should not be taken up without further discussion between you and I.
Ugh. From a senior staff member at the BBC no less.
The between you and I construction is one that makes me particularly cringe, as widespread as it is. It scratches my peevish...Read More »
Featured Topic: Grammar
Hung over from yesterday’s National Grammar Day festivities? Try a little hair of the dog.
- “#GrammarChat 2014”: We had a great Twitter chat yesterday. Check out the highlights! (Storify)
- “Why It’s Hard to Talk About Substituting One Thing for Another”: And two pieces of advice for introducing clarity. (Grammar Girl)
- “Like-Minded”: The many shades of like can result in unintended meanings. Keep a sharp eye out! (Language Corner)
Thanks for joining us for National Grammar Day today! We had a great time hanging out in #GrammarChat and posting special Grammar Day posts on grammar’s double identity, the prescriptivist and descriptivist straw men, and the that/which camps. And, of course, we enjoyed holding our annual AnaGrammar contest.
We had more people than ever enter...Read More »
In the one camp are people who think that and which should be used in different circumstances, exclusively. They feel those differences are vital.
In this camp, that is a word that restricts meaning; which does not. Which adds information but is not necessary to understanding the main clause. Satellites will fall from the sky if the spec docs use which where that applies.
The other camp contains what Editing Canadian English calls “language authorities [who] increasingly concede that which can introduce either type of clause.” ECE is a publication of the Editor's Association of...Read More »
Today, National Grammar Day, is a day to celebrate the language we share, its structure and its quirks. Along with the grammartinis and grammar-themed baked goods comes an old debate over how much we should meddle with the language.
It's a tiresome debate, between prescriptivism and. descriptivism, a battle between two straw men. It’s not a real debate, because as with many areas of dispute, no one really subscribes to the absolutist view they are accused of holding.
Every descriptivist is describing a norm, and no matter what disinterest researchers might profess in outcomes, descriptions of our language shape how we use the language. We don't observe language because it's there.
Those who find fault with...Read More »
Happy National Grammar Day, everyone!
In our February–March newsletter, Grammar on the Edge columnist, Jonathon Owen, discusses the fact that there are two definitions of grammar: one that language professionals use and one laypeople use.
This sometimes happens with industry-related terms: within the industry, the term has a very specific meaning. But in the general language, the meaning is broader, no matter whether the term started in common or industry usage.
For example, in the medical field, critical means:
Read More »
Giant Creative Strategy is seeking an editor and assistant editor to join its team in San Francisco. Established in 2002, Giant is a healthcare advertising agency that specializes in creative development, branding, and positioning for biotech, medical device and diagnostic, and pharmaceutical companies.
The editor and associate editor will copyedit, fact-check, and proofread promotional materials, including complex medical text, through all stages of production; annotate layouts and references for FDA submission; develop and maintain style guides; and manage the editorial workload for clients [editor only].
These full-time positions require a bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, or a related field; 1 year [...Read More »
Whither the subjunctive? The subjunctive mood is what we use—what we sometimes use—when we are expressing what is possible, what we wish to be true or imagine to be true but is not. If it is true, the mood is not subjunctive.
The thing is, not everyone uses it, and most people are OK with ignoring it in casual writing. The subjunctive may be going the way of thou and thither and whence and whither.
Ellen Degeneres organized an Oscar-telecast selfie with a bunch of front-row celebrities, and she tweeted it, asking viewers to break the record for retweets. The photo soon broke a 16-month-old record set by President Obama when he tweeted a photo of himself with the first lady and the words “Four more years.”...Read More »
Update: The winner has been chosen and the answers have been posted. Thanks to all the participants!
What would National Grammar Day (Tuesday, March 4) be without fun contests and prizes? Mark Allen has the scoop on the tweeted haiku contest. And here’s everything you need to know to win a basic membership to Copyediting.com (includes a 12-month subscription to the Copyediting...Read More »