Fact checking is a vital part of any copy editor’s job. Copy editors should check not only authors’ facts; they should also check their own facts when replying to authors in comments or queries. Because even copy editors can hold mistaken presumptions.
For example, I recently was preparing a reply to another editor’s blog post, in which I meant to illuminate the difference between homonyms and homophones (a difference I had not long before seen someone else point out in a LinkedIn discussion). Before I clicked “Post,” however, I did something important. I looked up the definition of “homonym.” Read the rest of this entry »
OK, so a mistake here isn’t going to make or break you, but there is a difference between “between” and “among,” so why not learn it? If all of the following sentences sound right to your ears, read on.
|A.||It came down to a contest between Sally, Greg, and Consuelo for class president.|
|B.||I couldn’t decide between lavender and strawberry scented air freshener.|
|C.||Neil Armstrong truly was a giant among men.|
|D.||Katniss decided that the forest was the safest place; she could easily hide among the trees.|
I’m not one of those grammar fascists who corrects other people’s speech. I don’t point out when a speaker should use “whom” instead of “who.”
Or at least, I don’t do it that often, and not to people’s faces. That would just be obnoxious. (I’m not saying I haven’t done it in the past.) I feel that people coming up with language on the fly should be given more latitude than if they were writing it down, where it had a chance to be analyzed. Colloquialisms are okay when they are uttered and forgotten, when they don’t exist for longer than the seven seconds of a listener’s short-term aural memory. If you use “me” instead of “I” in conversation, I probably won’t chastise you—although, for my amusement, I can and will imagine you talking with a Jamaican accent. If you say, “Me and John are going to get a beer,” my mind will superimpose dredlocks on you and play, “Me gwan to get a Red Stripe, mon.”
When you’re writing, on the other hand, you have the chance to look over your work and make it as clear and correct as it can be. So there I hold you to a higher standard. That includes speechwriting, copywriting, and songwriting. Read the rest of this entry »