More Blog Posts

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - 1:07pm
Dawn McIlvain Stahl
1
Job opening: Editor for ‘Critical Decisions in Emergency Medicine’

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is seeking an editor to join its education products team and manage Critical Decisions in Emergency Medicine. ACEP represents more than 30,000 emergency doctors, residents, and students, providing professional development, advocacy, and continuing education. ACEP is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, and Critical Decisions in Emergency Medicine is its official, monthly CME publication.

The editor will manage the editorial board and the publication of Critical Decisions in Emergency Medicine and other education products. Tasks will include leading annual...

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - 8:35am
Erin Brenner
1
Tip of the Week: Weird Al’s “Word Crimes” and the Hazards of Copyediting

Every profession has its hazards, some more serious than others. Professional drivers know that if they drive too long, they risk falling asleep at the wheel and causing an accident.

Last week, a few examples of the hazards of being a professional copyeditor were on display. I don’t mean there were copyeditors charged with vandalizing public signs. Instead, there were cases of editors missing the forest for the trees and of editors judging harshly without thinking or researching.

Context Matters

Copyeditors are trained to focus on the details: Is that comma necessary here? Does that word mean what you think it means? We’re so used to looking at the details that we sometimes...

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - 5:35am
Erin Brenner
1
07/22/14 News Roundup: Usable Usage

Today’s News Roundup teaches you how to fix dangling modifiers, demonstrates proper usage of got, and discovers what we don’t know about usage guides.

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Monday, July 21, 2014 - 9:02am
Adrienne Montgomerie
1
How to Find Out What a Character Is in Word

Is that a dash or a minus sign? (– or −) A superscript o or a true degree symbol? (o or °) Can you tell? Sometimes the font is revealing because the characters can look drastically different; usually they do not. (You may see a clear difference here, depending on your browser's font settings.) Sometimes, it matters which character is being used.

Word's "reveal formatting" function will tell you what font the character is in and about the line formatting, but not much else (see the screen shot below). In this post, I present a couple of macros that will tell you what a character is: one reveals the ASCII code and the other reveals the Unicode.

To use the macros, copy the code (from “sub” to “end sub”) and paste it into the VBA in Word. Then,...

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Saturday, July 19, 2014 - 4:43pm
Dawn McIlvain Stahl
2
Vacation-Season Doublets: A Work-to-Recreation Word Game

Developed by renowned word-player and Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll, doublets are a word pair linked by a chain of words formed by changing only one letter at a time. For Carroll, the object was to get from the first word to the last using the shortest possible chain of words in between. Carroll’s 1879 Doublets: A Word-Puzzle is available as a free Google eBook.

Our doublets don’t always strive for the shortest chain, but today’s theme motivated me to be expeditious. With summer-vacation season in full swing, our doublets game takes us from steady hard work to recreation in just five short steps.

To solve the doublets puzzle, use the first clue to solve the first four-letter word. For the...

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Friday, July 18, 2014 - 9:34am
Mark Allen
3
It's OK to Love 'Word Crimes' as a Comedic Effort

It’s unlikely that copyeditors and and other word lovers escaped the release this week of Word Crimes, a grammar lesson in the form of a comedy song and video by “Weird Al” Yankovic. It showed up dozens of times in my Twitter stream. I was tagged on Facebook, got links through email discussion groups and read about it on LinkedIn. Several people suggested Weird Al ought to be invited to deliver the keynote address at an American Copy Editors Society conference.

The song is catchy parody of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines with much better lyrics and video. Still, Word Crimes leaves me and other copyeditors a bit uncomfortable. It’s too easy...

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Editing, News
Thursday, July 17, 2014 - 10:49am
Mark Allen
2
A Horde Can Have a Hoard, Not Vice Versa

I don’t casually browse dictionaries as often as I once did, but I’m still thrilled at moment of serendipity, when the dictionary yields a new word and distracts me from what I was supposed to be doing.

Today, I discovered wordhoard, a store of words and, therefore, the vocabulary of a person, group of people or an entire language. It may be an obvious compound, but it existed (without the a) in Old English.

The Metres of Boethius, a ninth-century translation of the work of a sixth-century Roman statesman, speaks of the personification of wisdom unlocking her wordhord. According to the blog of the Twitter account,...

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Thursday, July 17, 2014 - 5:20am
Erin Brenner
1
07/17/14 News Roundup: Freelancing

In today’s News Roundup: understanding your freelance paycheck, transition from full-time work to freelancing, and setting up Twitter to market your business.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - 11:20am
Adrienne Montgomerie
1
6 Points for Eliminating Gender Bias in Reporting

“Sexist language, stereotypes and references have no more place in sports pages than in any other part of the newspaper.” So says The Canadian Press Stylebook (CP16). Eliminating gender bias from all word use may be a tall order, but CP16 offers the following guidance:

  • The most competitive, exciting race deserves the lead—and that’s not always the men’s event.
  • Female athletes are no more ladies than males are gentlemen.
  • Prefer police officer or constable, firefighter, mail carrier, and flight attendant over the gender-linked terms.
  • Avoid feminine variants of terms unless a substitute sounds false. Fisher and fishing...
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Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - 2:23pm
Dawn McIlvain Stahl
9
Screen shots from "Word Crimes," a parody by Weird Al Yankovic

There’s a new grammar/language parody in town and editors are hitting “share” and “retweet” at near-record speeds.*

Pop culture and copyediting matters rarely intersect. When they do, they tend to register large on our radar. Some are particularly helpful and have surprising staying power. Hyperbole and a Half’s “Alot” hit the web more than four years ago, and I’m happy that people are still discovering it. I’m not sure whether...

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