New Chicago Style Q&A posted

For those of you who don’t know, every month the good people at the Chicago Manual of Style publish a series of Q&A about Chicago style–providing As to readers’ Qs, obviously. Reading through the Q&A is a good way to refresh your knowledge on a wide variety of Chicago style points. It also provides an opportunity to laugh evilly at …

I Love My Clients, part 2

Working with a client in Germany this week on a white paper about m-payment systems — that is, systems that give your mobile phone the same functionality as a credit card, so that you can literally wave it in front of a merchant’s credit card terminal and charge something automatically to your card. I’ve been writing a lot of original …

I Love My Clients

I have to share a recent email exchange between me and one of my clients. Client: … wanted to pass along to you a comment by a senior manger here about the write-up that Bethany did. The manager said that the package submitted was one of the top five that he had ever seen. Congratulations. Please let Bethany know. Me: …

Chicago Manual of Style, now on CD-ROM

A.P. writes to say that the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition, is now available on CD-ROM. This is in addition to the print edition (of course) and the online version, which is available to paying subscribers only. I find Chicago’s index easier to use than I used to–and I don’t know if that’s because I’m a more experienced editor, …

Understanding “which” versus “that”

Just ran across a nice summary of when to use which and when to use that … which I always find hard to explain. From the Dayton PRSA website: The difference between “that” and “which” can be vague until you get the hang of it. “Which” sets off parenthetical information: stuff that can be lifted right out of the sentence …

Attention classics lovers: Oxford University Press has a book club

OMG! OUP has a book club! And it’s about classics! (Sound of me fainting dead away). (Sound of me picking self up.) OK, ANYWAY, last month’s book was Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent. I’ve never read this and have just ordered it from the library. The current book, the one for June, is Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Now, …

David Foster Wallace on Bryan Garner

Some of you (well, my mom) may know about my obsessions with David Foster Wallace and Bryan Garner. Wallace is an essayist (A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, Consider the Lobster) and fiction writer (e.g., Infinite Jest); Garner is the author of the definitive and comprehensive Garner’s Modern American Usage. The two men are very different writers, but …

Does your work have backup?

Oh, goodness. Husband has just sent me this reminder of why writers, editors, designers — well, everyone — must have a system in place for backing up files regularly (ideally, automatically). An entire issue of Business 2.0 magazine was accidentally deleted before going to print. Much of the content had to be recreated from scratch — and still make the …

Sweet vindication: How to pronounce “forte”

Friends of mine may know about the infamous editor who once “corrected” me during a job interview–when I was doing the interviewing, mind you–on my pronunciation of the word forte. I pronounced it FOR-tay, only to have said editor, after a few minutes of conversation, mention that “the word should actually be pronounced FORT, because it’s actually a French word.” …

For the New York Public Library, Love is Unhappiness and Death

I must pause in my editing this morning to ask an important question. Are the people at the New York Public Library crazy? Reuters reports that the NYPL has just released a list of its “10 greatest love stories of all time.” Although I completely agree that “Instead of trying to glean wisdom from Britney’s (Spears) latest meltdown,” it’s better …