Feb 20

No Trespassing sign

photo by Julie Jor­dan Scott https://​www​.flickr​.com/​p​e​o​p​l​e​/​j​u​l​i​e​j​o​r​d​a​n​s​c​ott/

Mary Nor­ris, a query proof­reader at The New Yorker mag­a­zine, writes in the Feb­ru­ary 23, 2015, issue:

There is a fancy word for “going beyond your province”: “ultra­crep­i­date.” So much of copy edit­ing is about not going beyond your province. Anti-ultracrepidationism. Writ­ers might think we’re apply­ing rules and stick­ing it to their prose in order to make it fit some stan­dard, but just as often we’re back­ing off, mak­ing excep­tions, or at least try­ing to find a bal­ance between doing too much and doing too lit­tle. A lot of the deci­sions you have to make as a copy edi­tor are sub­jec­tive. For instance, an issue that comes up all the time, whether to use “that” or “which,” depends on what the writer means. It’s inter­pre­tive, not mechanical.…

This is so true! As I copy­edit someone’s work, I con­sider my job, first and fore­most, not to be mak­ing all gram­mar and punc­tu­a­tion rigidly cor­rect. In the first place, how — or whether — punc­tu­a­tion is used is, as Nor­ris states, inter­pre­tive, so I’m always striv­ing to under­stand what the author wants read­ers to under­stand. If an author’s comma will lead read­ers to under­stand a sen­tence dif­fer­ently than what I believe the author intends, it’s my job to remove that comma — even if the author really likes that comma! If I’m not sure what the author intends in a sen­tence, it’s my job to query him or her and double-check. Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 8

My “Gram­mar Grad­u­a­tion certificate”!

This was fun! Take this gram­mar quiz and see how you do! Gram­mar hap­pens to be “my thing”; if it’s not yours — and you are in need of some writ­ing assis­tance — shame­less plug: be in touch, and let’s see if we’re a good fit to work on your piece together! ~Heidi


Jun 21

Accord­ing to a June 19, 2012, arti­cle in The Wall Street Jour­nal, “This Embar­rasses You and I*: Gram­mar Gaffes Invade the Office in an Age of Infor­mal Email, Tex­ting and Twit­ter. (The arti­cle includes an inter­ac­tive Gram­mar Quiz; check it out!)  “Man­agers are fight­ing an epi­demic of gram­mar gaffes in the work­place. Many of them attribute slip­ping skills to the infor­mal­ity of email, tex­ting and Twit­ter where slang and short­cuts are com­mon. Such loose­ness with lan­guage can cre­ate bad impres­sions with clients, ruin mar­ket­ing mate­ri­als and cause com­mu­ni­ca­tions errors, many man­agers say.”

It will be no sur­prise to any­one that,. as a pro­fes­sional edi­tor, I whole­heart­edly agree! What’s even worse, how­ever, Read the rest of this entry »

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