Saturday, January 30, 2010

Copy Edit du Jour

The club's 40-foot-high ceilings provide ample room for dancing.

Changed to:

The club's 40-foot-high ceilings add to the spacious feel on the dance floor.

Then again, maybe I'm just stuck in the days when club-goers obeyed the laws of gravity.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Words I Don't Hear Much Anymore


Don't know why I just thought of that word. But I just realized that I used to hear it all the time. Kind of scary.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Policing Parallels

Just came across this in my copy editing:

Joe’s is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday and Sunday brunch.

Call me cynical, but I don't buy that they're "open for dinner Sunday brunch." I changed it to:

Joe’s is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday and for Sunday brunch.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sign Me Up, New York Times. I'll Pay.

Next year, the New York Times will begin charging frequent users of its website. A certain number of stories every month will be free. After that, there will be a charge.

I don't want to pay for something I'm used to getting for free. But the alternative is even less appealing: further erosion of the quality of news-gathering.

Some years ago, when we first started to see warning signs for the newspaper industry, I wasn't too worried. People will always need information gatherers, so the market will always support information gatherers. But I wasn't thinking about the quality question.

There's big money out there for bloggers and pundits who riff off news stories gathered by AP and major newspapers. Because it's more cost effective to talk about the news without gathering it, the pool of news gatherers could shrink even further -- so far that quality and reliability could fall to unacceptable levels.

So sign me up, New York Times. I'm ready to pay.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Words I Love to Hate


If you don't see what's so horrible about this word, try copy editing marketing pieces for a couple of years. Right around the one-thousandth time you read "our menu will satiate your every culinary desire," you, too, will want to grab the copywriter by the shoulders and yell: "How about 'satisfy,' boy? What's wrong with 'satisfy'?"

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Oh, for the love of Pete ...

Two weeks ago the SF Chronicle ran an article telling us how to pronounce 2010, according to a certain association. That any association is issuing such dictates is bad enough. That they put it in a press release is worse. That the SF Chronicle actually ran with the story is worse yet.

But, worst of all: The "certain association" is basically one guy with some oversized cojones. (He calls himself and his chums the National Association of Good Grammar, or NAGG.)

Here's the article.

Here's LanguageLog's response.

I'm offended not just as a language lover but as a journalist.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Word I Just Realized I Love and Other Cranial Flotsam


What a word.

Completely unrelated: We're doing a major renovation on our house (see photo and/or clumps of hair on my pillow). The pardon-our-dust situation is getting tiresome. We hauled our mattress downstairs and slept on the living room floor last night. But worse than that, it's getting expensive. Unforeseen costs that should have been foreseen are adding up and pushing us past an important psychological boundary: the was-this-worth-the-money? boundary.

It's been kind of consuming us mentally, so I haven't been thinking about words or language as much as, say, what kind of cat food I'll find tastiest in my golden years and whether drywall dust is sufficiently carcinogenic to render the cat food question moot.
So that's just a long, convoluted, me-centric way of saying sorry I haven't been around here more.

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