You Don't Say

You Don't Say John E. McIntyre writes about language, usage, journalism & arbitrarily chosen subjects.
If you are an editor, the world is in need of you

On May 25 the national conference of Editors Canada will convene in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Unable to disentangle myself from the paragraph factory, I can’t be with them this year. Wish I were there. But I offer the text of the keynote address I delivered last year in Ottawa.

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I'm always at the desk

One of the readers of my workday “at the desk” dispatches suggested this evening that I should collect them into a book or a calendar. And a former colleague chimed into suggest “a  calendar with pics of copy editors in Speedos,” a prospect at which the mind’s eye closes in horror.

I don’t  sense a clamor for a book, and I don’t have an inclination to make a calendar.

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English without shame

Karen Conlin, fellow editor and winner of this year’s Robinson Prize at ACES: The Society of Editing, tweeted today in exasperation:

“Grammar-shaming and -policing is why people say idiotic things to ALL of us when they find out we either teach English or are editors.

 “ ‘Oh, I'll have to watch what I say around you!’

 “Don't. IDGAF how you talk or write unless I'm PAID for it.”

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I'm throwing down again

If you have been following this blog, you know that I am not one of the I-learned-it-once-and-it’s-forever-true editors.

In June 2007 I posted that I favored maintaining the gauntlet/gantlet distinction in the Associated Press Stylebook­­—that a gauntlet is a glove thrown down as a challenge and a gantlet is a flogging ordeal, even though the history of the two words is muddy.

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Nobody enjoys being edited

I saw a tweet this morning from the proprietor of an editing service who said, “Editing should be a positive experience! Never settle for less.” A prompt response came from @paulwiggins: “Never hire me if all you seek is a positive experience.”

I agree with Mr. Wiggins. Nobody enjoys being edited. You don’t enjoy being edited. I don’t enjoy being edited.

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A bogus rule collides with the English language

When the editors of the Associated Press Stylebook announced this year’s revisions at the national conference of ACES: The Society for Editing last week, there were no bombshells.

But there was one deeply satisfying change: abandonment of the collide/collision entry. It held that only two objects in motion can collide, that a moving object could not collide with a stationary one.

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