More Blog Posts
It was a loss for the book authors who sued, but a victory for free use of information. A ruling in Google’s favor in a complicated lawsuit over its digitization of millions of books may be more of a boon to authors than a royalty check would have been had they won.
Things were different eight years ago when the Author’s Guild first sued Google over its move to create searchable, digital versions of 20 million books from major libraries. It was easy to see how authors would feel threatened and upset that a for-profit corporation was using their efforts. But, today, it all seems a bit 2005. We’re used to having...Read More »
Featured Topic: Changing Usage
Copyeditors have the nearly impossible job of pinning down language long enough to share meaning between writer and reader. In today’s News Roundup, lessons in changing usage.
- “‘Because’ Has Become a Preposition, Because Grammar”: Is because + noun Standard English? No, but it’s worth understanding how it works. (Sentence First)
- “Johnson: The Impossibility of Being Literal”: If the metaphorical usage of literal irritates you, this article might cause you to rethink your position. Or make your head spin. (Johnson)
Moby-Dick, one of the great novels of American literature, was first published November 14, 1851. And copyeditors have been inserting that hyphen ever since. To celebrate the publication—and the hyphen—we have a moderately difficult Sudoku sans Numbers game for you. With a dose of Ahab-like determination and your arsenal of copyeditor strengths (logical thinking, pattern recognition, respect for the hyphen, etc.), we’re sure you can bring this puzzle down.
Desperate for a Moby-Dick-themed break but Sudoku just isn’t your style? For a more lightheartedly gruesome game that has nothing to do with hyphens (though the spears are rather em-dash-like), you can check out the...Read More »
If you tell someone you’re going to have to raze a barn, they may assume you’re going to build one rather than destroy one. Raze and raise are among those wonderful words that are both homonyms and antonyms. One is from Latin (one is always from Latin) and the other is Scandinavian.
I suspect raze is more common in written speech than in spoken. It’s interesting that the word persists in the face of possible confusion, but it is useful. Leveled is close. Destroyed doesn't quite fit. Completely destroyed is considered a redundancy, though some accept the completely as a useful modifier. Most near-synonyms fail to convey the idea that nothing will be left standing after the razing, that the razed area will be...Read More »
Featured Topic: The Future of Publishing
In today’s News Roundup: the news isn’t good for print devotees, while digital readership is growing slowly. But the news isn’t all bad.
- “A Snapshot of the Scientific and Technical Publishing Market”: Although e-books are on the rise in these markets, they aren’t rising fast enough to make up for print’s decline. (The Scholarly Kitchen)
- “Scripps Howard News Service Will Cease Operation After 96 Years”: McClatchy-Tribune will take over Scripps’ existing clients. (Bloomberg News)
- “In Germany Digital Publishing Is No Longer Satan, But...
When you sell “correcting” services, it's easy to be seen as judgmental. But editors know they are imperfect too. Come see the lighter side of editors and unburden yourself anonymously.
A new confession site was set up by editors in Canada, inviting anonymous submissions from editors everywhere around the world. Inspired by a popular librarian confessional site, Editor Sins was set up as a place to come clean, reveal your soft underbelly, and laugh with colleagues.
Each post consists of a handwritten confession, photographed so that they obscure the face of the guilty editor. Other than the handwriting and the occasional peeking eye,...Read More »
Writing a correction was one of the least pleasant aspects of my job as a newspaper copyeditor. If I was writing one, it was probably because I was responsible for inserting a mistake while copyediting a story.
When you’re in the business of telling the truth, it's painful to admit that you didn’t do your job in checking the informaton given or that you misinterpreted something and inserted an error. But part of telling the truth is admitting when you are wrong, not circling the wagons and defending something indefensible. Philosophers and screenwriters may see truth as a nuanced thing, but journalists don’t get to shrug off questions and insist that their work is truthy enough. If it’s wrong, it has to be corrected.
The CBS...Read More »
Featured Topic: Revising Usage
Today’s News Roundup looks at several usage rules that aren’t. Let them go, and edit easier.
- “Steer Clear of the Purity People”: Avoid the temptation to sneer and other language users. (You Don’t Say)
- “Let’s Stop Perpetuating Grammar Myths”: Instead, let’s focus on real rules. (Madam Grammar)
- “‘They’: A Singular Pronoun”: While people still resist singular they, their numbers are dwindling. (The American Heritage Dictionary)
I’ve talked before about how to define an editing project before you take it on. Inspired by questions from my copyediting students, in this new series, I’ll break down that process into more detail.
Getting to Know the Project
After all these years, I still find it a joy when someone expresses interest in hiring me to edit a project. No matter how I get to that point, once I’m there, it’s like Christmas. Someone wants to pay me for doing something I love!
When this happens to you, dance around in your office, sing, shout, whatever. But then sit down and get serious. It’s time to act like a business.
In that initial meeting, whether it’s online, in person, or on the...Read More »
Featured Topic: From Old to New Words
Today’s News Roundup features new words, old words transformed into new words, and the study of regional words.
- “New Words - 11 November 2013”: Feeling tense? Check out the Slow Web and zenware for help. (Cambridge Dictionaries Online)
- “Guest Post: ‘Synergy’”: Does synergy seem like vague business jargon to you? Read on! (A Thing About Words)
- “‘Soda’ or ‘Pop’? Scholars Plan to Map All of America’s Regional English, Again”: DARE sets out to prove that American English is not homogenized. (Time...