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Cassie Tuttle has been a freelance copyeditor and proofreader since 2007/2008, but was writing, editing, and proofreading for years before that as part of her 26-year paralegal career. Cassie will be our instructor for Copyediting: Legal Style on Wednesday, January 15. Sign up now for this overview of legal text editing and learn Cassie’s helpful tips on Bluebook style and legal citation.
How did your work as a paralegal prepare you for your eventual career as a freelance copyeditor?
My daily tasks included writing, proofreading, editing, and rewriting attorney work products such as...Read More »
Copyeditors have many more chances these days to improve their skills and share with peers than they did a few years ago. But the most reinvigorating of these training opportunities remain the national conferences put on each year by copyediting societies.
From experience, I can say the conferences in the United States and England are very similar. A gathering of several hundred people who share a background in language and a love for a well-crafted sentence looks the same in either country. I’m sure this is true for the annual conference in Canada and the every-two-year conference in Australia.
In March, I’ll be at the American Copy Editors Society annual conference in Las Vegas. I should...Read More »
Featured Topic: Usable Usage
Today’s News Roundup examines the usage of amid, the tenterhooks metaphor, and the difference between a rule and a convention.
- “Stuck in Amid Hell with You”: Amid has become a “universal connector” in journalism. That’s not a good thing. (Mind Your Language )
- “Tenterhooks or Tenderhooks?”: There’s nothing tender about this figure. (Grammar Girl)
- “Just the Way We Do This Now”: There’s a difference between a rule and a convention. Proper usage demands the ability to identify the two. (You Don’t Say) ...
What are the depths of winter good for if not reflection — and word play. In a bit of meta fun, today’s game takes us through the secret dream of writers everywhere: to go from playing around with words to having a megahit in a mere seven steps.
Use the clue to complete the word or phrase; the last part of each word or phrase is the first part of the next. [Difficulty level: easy-moderate]
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[_ _ _ _] [_ _ _ _] the morpheme-play’s the thing
[_ _ _ _] [_ _ _ _] strategy
[_ _ _ _] [_ _] [_ _ _ _ _ _] more vigorous strategy
[_ _ _ _ _ _] [_ _ _ _ _ _] a...
An exciting word-of-the-year season closed last week with the somewhat surprising selection of because as the American Dialect Society 2013 Word of the Year in a usage no doubt destined for banishment by the Lake Superior State University banished words list next year.
You might think back to before 2013, say 2012, when because was already a fairly popular word. In fact, it's usually somewhere between 90 and 150 on lists of the most commonly used words in English, and it has been around since the 14th century at least. But what distinguishes it in 2013 is the new, informal usage in which it is followed by perhaps a single word or idea: “because language.”...Read More »
Featured Topic: Style
Every document has to have style, but which rules do you follow? In today’s News Roundup, some pointers on The Chicago Manual of Style, a different temperature measure, and one British policy on using titles.
- “New Questions and Answers”: This month, one of our favorite style guides answers questions about comma splices, different than, and transcription styles. (The Chicago Manual of Style)
- “Better Bundle Up--It’s 244* Outside!”: Another way to measure temperature. (The American Heritage Dictionary)
- “The Style Guide Editor on …...
An Afghan willing to spend the afghanis can buy an afghan for an Afghan. Afghan refers to the people of Afghanistan (if they’re not referred to by ethnicity) or a breed of dog, the Afghan hound; afghani is the unit of money in Afghanistan; an afghan is a type of blanket.
The afghani has been the basic unit of money in Afghanistan since 1925. Pluralize it by adding s.
Usage guides suggest keepting afghani for the money and Afghan to describe the people, but Afghani shows up a lot in reference to the people. The word Afghan was probably applied to the people of the area that is now Afghanistan by others, maybe Persians. Things get murky when you go back 1500 years or more...Read More »
Featured Topic: Increase Your Vocab Cred
Today’s News Roundup looks at amazeballs, novel coronavirus, and more.
- “Is ‘Amazeballs’ Still Amaze?”: Or should it be placed on a banned-words list? (Macmillan Dictionary Blog)
- “New Words – 6 January 2014”: If you’re feeling under the weather, you might have one of these newly named maladies. (About Words)
- “Elevation and Escalation”: One of these is a backformation. Do you know which one? (The American Heritage Dictionary)
Today, earning your editing credentials can be expensive. EAC’s student editor scholarship can help (that’s the Editors’ Association of Canada).
Back in the day, an editor got paid while she learned the trade on-the-job. It was the only way to learn to edit. Maybe she struggled alone, haphazardly discovering guides such as Chicago and On Writing Well. Maybe she was lucky (or persistent) enough to convince an experienced editor to mentor her—I was.
Today, we are luckier on the...Read More »
In the United States, sherbet and sorbet usually differ in dairy content, but the French word sorbet once was just a variation of the Turkish word sherbet. Think of sorbet to remember that there is but one r in sherbet, despite half a million Google hits for sherbert.
Oxford Dictionaries reports that a quarter of the sherbet citations in its corpus have the sherbert spelling.
The word is a direct borrowing from Turkish, where sherbet was a sweetened drink. The Oxford English Dictionary says this drink was often chilled with snow. The word seems to come from an Arabic word that means to drink; the same root gives us syrup....Read More »