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I grew up speaking two languages, the British English of my parents and the American English of my friends and teachers at school. This has made me more aware of some differences between the two forms of English, but ignorant of others. Although I focus more on language differences than most people, I also don’t always recognize what is different.
This week in Las Vegas, I’ll be speaking about editing across the Atlantic with copyeditor Laura Cameron at the American Copy Editors Society national conference (4:30 p.m. Friday, followed by sherry). We’ll talk about some of the challenges in editing in a nonnative dialect, and we’ll explore some of the language differences that might trip...Read More »
With 34.7 million Americans claiming Irish ancestry and 122 million being Irish enough at heart to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, this seems like a good opportunity to indulge my Scots-Irish side. Happy St. Patrick’s Day weekend, everyone!
May the road rise up to meet you whether you’re in Dublin, CA, or Shamrock, ME, or somewhere in between. May the corned beef and the cabbage sit well with you. May the rivers of green usher in the greening of the land. And may you enjoy the luck of the Irish as you search for the 17 St. Patrick’s Day words in the puzzle below.
Words can go in any direction—including backwards and diagonally....Read More »
Announcements about new ways to widely distribute creative works simultaneously thrill us and worry us. Those who work with writers and other artists tend to favor access to information and the broad exposure such moves create. But we worry about the further surrender of individual control.
This is true for written works, but the focus in the past week was on the library of photographs owned by Getty Images. Getty announced its images could be shared and used on noncommercial websites.
The Getty Images website says:
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Getty Images is leading the way in creating a more visual world. Our new embed feature makes it easy, legal, and free for...
My New Oxford American Dictionary blames “complex historical reasons” for English having two past participles of prove: proved and proven.
The verbs are the subject of usage notes in dictionaries and preferences in style guides. Garner’s Dictionary of Legal Usage claims “proved is the universally preferred past participle of prove.” But in edited usage, you are just as likely to have been proven innocent as...Read More »
To run your career or your freelance business, and to make authoritative suggestions to your clients, I hope you’re bossy.
Bossy is getting a bad rap lately. There’s a campaign against bossy because of its negative connotations, and because it is disproportionately used to describe—to put down—female leadership.
I was a child during the height of the “political correctness” movement, I dare say. While everyone around me was trying to impose gender-neutral terms that roll off the tongue—such as underground access cover—I was wondering two things: who ever thought man hole was a good descriptor, and who ever thought...Read More »
Last week in this space I revealed which error particularly causes me to shudder: the hypercorrected substitution of I (subject pronoun) for me (object pronoun), as in between you and I. But a Twitter friend from Scotland had to take it one step further. Tricia Murphy-Black said:
For most readers of Copyediting, correct use of myself is not an issue. But I am hearing more of the reflexive myself, especially in office settings, among celebrities, and among young people (for young people, I mean my age...Read More »
Featured Topic: Word News
Word lovers, rejoice! Both Merriam-Webster Unabridged and Cambridge Dictionaries Online have added new words for your reading pleasure. Plus, we have some practical advice on using literally.
- “Merriam-Webster Unabridged, 2.0”: Search the online MWU and you’ll find about 2,000 more entries and examples from the likes of David Foster Wallace. (A Thing About Words)
- “Move Over Yuppies – the Magpies Have Arrived!”: The 1980’s yuppie has spawned a brood of class-related acronyms, including Bananas. (About Words)
It’s a basic rule of grammar that a subject and its verb must agree in number:
The cake is delicious. The pies are delicious. None are calorie free.
You were probably taught, as I was, that none is a singular pronoun because it stands for “no one” and as such takes a singular verb. Yet in the examples, none clearly refers to the cake and the pies, or “not any.” How can none, and other indefinite pronouns, sometimes be singular and sometimes plural?
Because of a little thing called notional agreement.
We’re all familiar with grammatical agreement (a.k.a., structural or simple agreement). That’s the rule that says the subject and verb...Read More »
Aspen Art Museum is seeking an editor to join its team in Colorado. Opened in 1979, Aspen Art Museum is a noncollecting, global contemporary art museum on a mission to provide engaging, thought-provoking experiences of art through ten or more exhibitions each year. A new downtown building, designed by architect Shigeru Ban, will quadruple the exhibition space and is on pace for completion this summer.
The editor will coordinate and edit both print and digital content for the museum. Content will include exhibition catalogs, brochures, and didactic materials; marketing and advertising materials; the member’s magazine; internal office documents; and website and other digital content. Coordination activities will include...Read More »
The American Copy Editors Society annual conference is 10 days away, and it will be informative, invigorating and enjoyable for hundreds of copyeditors honing their skills and making connections. I’ve been to six ACES conferences (which is not a great many among conference regulars) and three or four similar conferences.
I have wisdom from attending these as a novice and as a board member doing my bit to keep things running smoothly. The Las Vegas conference is my focus, but the following tips should apply to your conference in Toronto, Runnymede,...Read More »