Editors with attitude? No thanks

Been thinking about an article I read a couple of weeks ago about the so-called “Typo Eradication Advancement League (TEAL).” TEAL is nothing but two guys, Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson, who’ve spent the past summer traveling the United States and correcting typos on public signage. Things you see all the time, like “Bobs Donuts” instead of “Bob’s Donuts.” The …

Ode to “The Elements of Style”

Jonathan Yardley of the Washington Post reflects on a half-century with Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. Good reading for anyone who cherishes this volume — not necessarily as a style guide — but as an embodiment of concise writing.

Princeton learns the high cost of cheap copyediting

Oh, dear. Princeton University Press is recalling all copies of one of its spring titles after discovering more than 90 spelling and grammar errors in the 245-page work. The book, Cop in the Hood: My Year Policing Baltimore’s Eastern District, by Peter Moskos, was published May 1 in an initial press run of 4,000 copies. Believe it or not, the …

A writer in the making?

My mom recently found this essay I wrote back in 1977, apparently just for fun. Typos, odd spellings, etc., left intact. “Summer of ’77” After school was out (june i0) I had decided to go to day camp. It was not like I expected it to be. The first day it sprinkled, so we could not go swiming. THen we …

New York Times: Celebrating the Semicolon

The New York Times writes on the New York Public Transit System’s proper use of the semicolon. The relevant sentence: “Please put it [your newspaper] in a trash can; that’s good news for everyone.” The use of a semicolon in this instance is indeed correct, but I would prefer a period or an em dash. Either would add more punch …

The Joy of Finishing (or Starting?) a Writing Project

Correspondent M.C. sends this quote he ran across today: Writing the last page of the first draft is the most enjoyable moment in writing. It’s one of the most enjoyable moments in life, period. — Nicholas Sparks, author (1965-) M.C. notes that “this may be true for Mr. Sparks, but just getting that first sentence onto paper is one heck …

Creative Competitions (and not-so-creative scams)

Everyone in the creative biz knows that part of the game is entering (and winning) creative contests–like the American Advertising Federation’s Addy Awards or IABC’s Gold Quill Awards. Some of these contests (including these two) are legit, and truly do reward excellence in communications, writing, and design. Receiving such an award is an honor — even if you have to …

Fixing broken cross-references in Word

I.K. writes to say that we recently edited some files in which the cross-references had become broken. For example, a pointer in Section 2 to Section 9 had became a pointer to Section 0; other references simply displayed as “Error! Reference not found.” The references had “broken” when we split the original file into three sections for editing, and then …

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 …