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Featured Topic: Flexibility of Language
English is a wonderfully, frustratingly flexible language. Three articles that look at how far it can bend before it breaks.
- “(Not So) Tidy, (Not So) Little Boxes: Finding Parts of Speech”: So you think you know what a noun is, eh? (A Thing About Words)
- “Slipping Private Boundaries: How the Web Is Changing Language”: What editors should watch for and why it’s not all bad. (Yahoo News South Africa)
- “Let’s Retire the Word Bro”: When a term becomes empty, should you delete it?(New Republic)
Have you properly marveled at how many words of Shakespeare (whose birthday we celebrated this week) are now a part of your everyday English? It’s not just household words that the Bard contributed; he also coined a number of common phrases.
To solve the gallimaufry, unscramble these six words coined by Shakespeare. Use the letters in the X’d spaces to form the Shakespearean phrase that answers the clue for the final puzzle.
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m y l o g o = ...
Featured Topic: Words, Words, Words
In today’s News Roundup: how words get into the Oxford English Dictionary, nine ways to avoid singular they, and fancy-dancy reduplicative compounds.
- “An Exit Interview with the Man Who Transformed the Oxford English Dictionary”: How does a word get into the OED? “Widespread currency,” says outgoing editor. (Time)
- “Plain Language: The Tricky Aspects of Gender-Neutral Language”: Don’t want to use singular they? Nine more ways to get around sexist language. (The Media Online)
The A.M. Best Company is seeking a senior associate editor/writer to join its news division and the staff of its insurance trade journal, Best’s Review, in central New Jersey. Established in 1899, A.M. Best Company is an international credit-rating organization that produces in-depth reports and ratings for and about the insurance industry.
The senior associate editor will write business news features for print, audio, and video; manage contributed columns; build a news beat; and report breaking news.
This full-time, onsite position requires 5 years’ work experience in a deadline-driven environment; ability and accuracy in...Read More »
Featured Topic: Getting Work
Do cover letters work? Should you subcontract? And how does information about your competitors help you find freelance work? Find out in today’s News Roundup.
- “Three Secrets of Writing Attention-Grabbing Cover Letters”: (Fast Company)
- “When Should You Consider Subcontracting?”: Judging when it’s time to take on a subcontractor and when to become one. (Freelance Advisor)
- “How Your Competition Can Help You Find New Work”: (Write to Done)
But what care I for words? Yet words do well
When he that speaks them pleases those that hear.
As You Like It, Act 3, Scene 5
Yesterday was William Shakespeare’s birthday (observed). That he was baptized on April 26, 1564 (making it likely that he was born sometime this week), is among the few facts we know about his life. April 23 has been celebrated as Shakespeare’s birthday since the late 1700s. It is possible that date was chosen because it’s also the date Shakespeare died in 1616 and the opportunity for poetic symmetry was too good to pass up. April 23 is also St. George’s Day, however, so it could have been a choice governed by logistics -- it seems sensible to use the...Read More »
Featured Topic: Usage Problems
Today’s News Roundup tackles the questions of whom, split infinitives, born vs. borne, and the historical present.
- “Out with Whom, in with the Split Infinitive”: The death of whom may not be as imminent as we think. (Bridging the Unbridgeable)
- “Natal Gazing”: The lives of born and borne. (Language Corner)
- “Ben Yagoda Gets Sick of the Historical Present”: Why the historical present is over. (Lingua Franca)
Which sentence would you write:
All the examples are drawn from published works.
All of the examples are drawn from published works.
A lot of fuss is made over whether of is included after all. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage (DEU) lists several early-twentieth century usage guides that want to excise all instances of of after all, while modern guides dictate of before a pronoun. Where we once might have said “all us,” we now say “all of us.” Occasionally you’ll see the likes of “She gets tired of all us men” (The Snow Child, Eowyn Ivey), but these instances are usually restricted to fiction or informal speech.
There’s...Read More »
Featured Topic: Words in the News
It’s not often that a copyeditor’s stock in trade makes mainstream news. In today’s News Roundup: the words we used to discuss the Boston marathon bombings*, the possible dark fate of DARE*, and how immigration enriches English.
- “Words from a ‘Surreal’ Week in Boston”: What words did we use in connection with last week’s bombings? Which should not have been? (Word Routes)
- “UW’s Dictionary of American Regional English in Financial Peril”: Has the last word in regional English been documented at the University of Wisconsin-Madison? (JS Online)
PerfectIt, a consistency checker by Intelligent Edit and one of my favorite Word add-ons, just got even more useful, especially for editors who need to bridge the divide between U.S. and UK English.
A “What’s New in PerfectIt 2” video gives you the gist of what the new version has to offer. In addition, several recent updates to version 2 have fixed minor bugs and improved the accuracy and performance for typos, spelling, citations, and custom style sheets. On top of that, free style sheets are now available to help convert documents from U.S. to UK style or UK to U.S. The U.S. style sheet, for example, “will convert over 900 words that are...Read More »