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Here is an office memo I have never seen, but would like to. I give you full permission to use it in your workplace:
Despite their popularity in the office this summer, especially among our new millennial associates and interns, please be advised that the wearing of thongs is not approved under the corporate dress code. Anyone wearing thongs will be asked to change into more suitable attire.
In the innocence of my youth, a thong was an item of footwear held onto the foot by a strip of plastic (we’re talking Kmart thongs here) joined at the sides and between the first and second toe. We also called it a flip-flop, and that seems to be the polite term for it still.
If your mind...Read More »
Knowing the right people is helpful in any business venture, but possibly especially so in freelancing, where you often feel isolated and alone, especially at the beginning. You can turn to your Facebook community, of course, but most freelancers need some professional associations, places to network, places to get help, places to feel like there really is such a thing as a virtual water cooler.
In no particular order, here are a few you might want to consider joining. Some are official organizations, with membership fees and perks; others are email lists and other more informal groups. Take a look and see which ones might work for you!
- Copyediting-L: This was the first group that I joined when I went freelance, and I’m still an...
Belonging to a professional association has been the traditional way to meet colleagues, access training, and support professional standards. Some people find mentorship and jobs there too. A large number of members feel it shows professionalism.
In Canada, our national professional organization is the Editors’ Association of Canada (EAC). There are regional branches of EAC (and smaller local twigs) across the country. There are also associations not associated with EAC. Check them out:
- Calgary Association of Freelance Editors (CAFE)
- Professional Editors Association of Vancouver Island (PEAVI...
Imagine you were charged with keeping English tidy for users and had to follow these rules:
- A word must have only one meaning.
- It must have only its oldest meaning.
- It must have only the meaning related to its etymology.
- It must not be a synonym.
- Its prefix and suffix must not duplicate meaning.
- It must not shift its meaning.
- It must not shift its part of speech.
About now, you’re shaking your head, thinking, “That’s impossible! Of course a word can have more than one meaning. Of course its meaning might shift over time. Of course we can have synonyms.” And on and on.
When you start looking at all the rules peevers have proclaimed over time, you start...Read More »
Today’s News Roundup collects grammar and usage rules that we’ve often grasped the wrong end of. Get on the right side of these rules, and improve today’s editing!
- “Steven Pinker: 10 ‘Grammar Rules’ It’s OK to Break (Sometimes)”: “Ten items or less” is OK. Really. (The Guardian)
- “Same Difference”: Uncommon needn't mean “wrong.” (The Stroppy Editor)
- “Can ‘Wrong’ Be an Adverb?”: It can, and here’s why. (Grammar Underground blog)
Last day to camp or boat, first day to indulge in pumpkin spice lattes, end of the summer season, beginning of the fall semester, a celebration of industry, a day of rest -- no matter what it means to you, Labor Day weekend is upon us here in the U.S.
Many of my fellow freelancers will join me in making it another working weekend. Others will join our office-dwelling mates in the enjoyment of a long holiday weekend. Whichever your schedule allows this year, take a moment to reflect on projects well done, to treasure colleagues well met, and to appreciate the sometimes anonymous workers in both familiar and unfamiliar industries that keep our world moving forward.
To correctly solve our Labor Day Wordoku, make...Read More »
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.
Now, she’ll give some of that confidence to college journalism students. Fogarty started this week as the Reynolds Chair in Media Entrepreneurship at the Reynolds School of Journalism and Advanced Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno.
“I taught my first class Monday and the students were great,” she said in an email. “After working from home for many years, I'm also enjoying having colleagues I see in person.”...Read More »
The 6.0 earthquake that hit the Napa Valley and destroyed some barrels of wine had a predictable aftereffect: the trotting out of the uncommon word temblor. Temblor is the favorite second-reference word among journalists for earthquake, and it seems to have little utility elsewhere.
I tweeted this bit of advice on the word, which is sometimes rendered incorrectly as tremblor (both tremble and temblor trace their roots to the Latin tremulus).
Temblor means earthquake. It’s Spanish (temblor de tierra) for tremble or shake. Tremblor is a variant that’s best avoided.
To this, linguist Neal Whitman...Read More »
Etymological fallacies, colorful phrases, and new words: all in today’s News Roundup.
- “Guest Post: The Lord, the Bishop, and the Harlot: An Etymological Fallacy”: The true meaning of a word is what it originally meant. Right? (A Thing About Words)
- “Mad as a Box of Frogs? Phrases That Suddenly Become Popular”: Don’t miss the memo on these colorful phrases. (About Words)
- “Adorbs New Words Added to OxfordDictionaries.com – WDYT?”: Did a millennial write that novel you’re editing? Oxford Dictionaries has a translation for you. (OxfordWords)
If you’ve been reading my columns for a while, you’ll know of my love for checklists. The Canadian Style says a checklist “will help you to cover all pertinent facets of the writing process and to meet your deadlines.”Read More »