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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 »
If you over-imbibed on all the Grammar Day activities, posts, chats, and contests this week, here’s the perfect chaser: a Wordoku puzzle. It keeps things verbal by using letters instead of numbers, but it provides the same calming, orderly fun of traditional Sudoku.
To correctly solve the Wordoku, make sure that every row, column, and 3x3 box contains the following letters exactly once:
...Read More »
National Grammar Day is hard to contain in just one day or within the borders of one nation. Of course, every day is grammar day to a copyeditor
National Grammar Day is March 4, easy to remember because it can be said as “march forth,” which is a sentence in itself with imperative verb and implied subject. Of course, “march fourth” also is a sentence, theoretically useful for establishing the order of bands in a parade.
There is, as yet, no parade for National Grammar Day, but there is a lot of buzz and contests and baked goods. Three simultaneous grammar-related discussions occurred at 2 p.m. EST on Tuesday. Copyediting hosted a...Read More »
There is certainly something poetic about the word ellipsis, which figured in several entries to the National Grammar Day Tweeted Haiku Contest. Two of the top 10 winners featured the punctuation mark.
Birdseed scattered on
melting snow. Ellipsis points
between winter and spring.
Julie Linden (@julieatlife) won third place with that one. And Lisa Cherett (@LCherrett) earned fifth-place honors with:
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three little dots unfettered
The file was in a right hot mess. Cue editing stage sub-1: panic. The publisher wanted end notes created using Word’s built-in End Note feature. Numbering was to restart with each chapter. The author submitted this:
- footnotes numbered using Word’s feature, but with no content in the linked footnote area at the bottom of each page
- separate file of 633 footnotes, numbered using Word’s numbered list feature
- one more numbered note than there were footnote numbers in the file
The books I work on do not have footnotes or end notes, so you might imagine how paralyzed I felt with this first introduction. It's enought to make you strip the keys off your keyboard.
"To the interweb!"
On Facebook, I asked my network of colleagues if there...Read More »
One of the signs of maturity in an editor is the realization that she imposes different sets of “rules” depending on the client’s preference. There are few indisputable rules, the editor realizes, as she is exposed to more and more sets of preferences.
Yesterday I blogged about the that/which distinction being a choice rather than a hard-and-fast rule. A judge emailed me directly to say that “folks whose readers depend on precision (as do those in my field) ignore the rule at their peril.” It’s hard to take issue with a group who focuses on language as much as we do. Though lawyers may want to structure their writing so that meaning doesn’t hinge on defining a single word—or on a “rule” that is not universally observed...Read More »
Don’t fear me.
A Daily Mail story from the other day contains a quote from a 1964 letter between two TV executives discussing the interviewer David Frost. The controller for BBC1 at the time wrote:
His option to continue beyond the initial six weeks should not be taken up without further discussion between you and I.
Ugh. From a senior staff member at the BBC no less.
The between you and I construction is one that makes me particularly cringe, as widespread as it is. It scratches my peevish...Read More »
Featured Topic: Grammar
Hung over from yesterday’s National Grammar Day festivities? Try a little hair of the dog.
- “#GrammarChat 2014”: We had a great Twitter chat yesterday. Check out the highlights! (Storify)
- “Why It’s Hard to Talk About Substituting One Thing for Another”: And two pieces of advice for introducing clarity. (Grammar Girl)
- “Like-Minded”: The many shades of like can result in unintended meanings. Keep a sharp eye out! (Language Corner)