Questions for a Gamma-Radiated Editor: GRAMMARHULK
GRAMMARHULK, one of a community of Hulk personas on Twitter and an even larger community of language lovers, has been delighting us with grammar, spelling, usage, and editing advice and observations for two and a half years.
WOW, IT REALLY BEEN THAT LONG?
How did your puny human alter ego, a mild-mannered Manhattan editor, get into editing? How long have you been editing and for what sorts of materials?
NOW THAT HULK THINK ABOUT IT, HULK BEEN EDITING SINCE HULK WAS YOUNG ENOUGH TO THINK “GRAMMAR NAZI” PRETTY FUNNY! HULK KIND OF EMBARRASSED ABOUT THAT NOW.
LIKE MANY EDITORS, HULK START ON STUDENT PUBLICATIONS AND JUST NEVER STOP. IN PAST FEW DECADES, HULK EDIT FICTION AND NONFICTION FOR MAGAZINES AND BOOK PUBLISHERS AND SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS. IT ALL FUN! HULK LIKE VARIETY!
Some may assume that GRAMMARHULK is an error-smashing prescriptivist who becomes enraged at the slightest provocation. What’s the real story?
IF KINSEY SCORE WERE 0 = PRESCRIPTIVIST AND 6 = DESCRIPTIVIST, HULK WOULD BE ABOUT A KINSEY 4.8! THERE MANY SITUATIONS IN WHICH “WRONG” USED TO MEAN “DIFFERENT FROM HOW I DO IT.” HULK SMASH DISREGARD FOR SITUATIONAL NATURE OF CORRECTNESS! ON OTHER HAND, WITHIN CONTEXT, IT ABSOLUTELY REASONABLE TO SAY SOME USAGE RIGHT AND OTHER USAGE WRONG. AND ON SMASHING HAND, SOME THINGS JUST MAKE HULK UNREASONABLY ANGRY!
Other than impactful, does any choice or usage make you more smashingly angry than others?
HULK HATE ALL FORMS OF CORP-SPEAK! NEVER “CIRCLE BACK” WITH HULK! ESPECIALLY NOT “ON A GOING-FORWARD BASIS!” RAAAAR!
In a very early Tweet (your first?), you said,
HULK DEFEND HULK'S RIGHT TO REFRAIN FROM USING PRONOUNS. HULK FIND THIS EXCELLENT WAY TO AVOID THORNY GENDERED PRONOUN DEBATE.
— GRAMMARHULK (@GRAMMARHULK) July 27, 2010
But Copyediting readers want to know (at least this one does): Has your use of Hulk as a gender-neutral pronoun encouraged you to champion the singular they as a gender-neutral for humans?
HULK NOT NEED PERSONAL REASON TO CHAMPION SINGULAR THEY! IT CLEARLY BEST OPTION WE HAVE: IT ARISE SPONTANEOUSLY, EVERYONE KNOW HOW TO SAY IT AND SPELL IT, AND IT LACK DEHUMANIZING CONNOTATIONS OF “IT” (WHICH CAN BE VERY OFFENSIVE TO TRANS* PEOPLE). IT MAKE VERB CONJUGATION KIND OF AWKWARD SOMETIMES, BUT WHEN IN DOUBT, REPHRASE!
Any funny stories of recent adventures in editing?
NONE HULK CAN REPEAT WITHOUT COMPROMISING HULKONYMITY!
Do you ever collect examples of writing that is greatly in need of smashing and rebuilding? Any you’d like to share?
HONESTLY, THAT SOUND KIND OF PETTY TO HULK! HULK RATHER FOCUS ON GREAT CORRECTIONS, EDITORIAL FIXES, AND OTHER EXAMPLES OF VERBAL NIFTINESS AND JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY! HULK’S FAVORITE PROBABLY POYNTER’S “REGRET THE ERROR” SITE; HULK ALSO LIKE ADAM MARCUS AND IVAN ORANSKY’S “RETRACTION WATCH,” WHICH COVER RETRACTIONS OF PAPERS PUBLISHED IN PEER-REVIEWED JOURNALS. ON TWITTER, HULK ENJOY FOLLOWING @ABCMEDIAWATCH AND @CJR; HULK NOT IN AUSTRALIA OR AT COLUMBIA, BUT IT STILL REALLY INTERESTING TO SEE HOW MEDIA REPORT ON MEDIA. SINCE MEDIA ACT AS WATCHDOGS, IT OUR COLLECTIVE JOB TO POLICE OURSELVES! EDITORS VALUABLE PART OF THAT BUT EVERYONE SHARE RESPONSIBILITY!
See more of GRAMMARHULK’s editing world, including grammar help and Hulkisms, on Twitter @GRAMMARHULK.