John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and random topics. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. The original site, http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/, at www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/, and now at https://www.baltimoresun.com/opinion/columnists/mcintyre/
Monday, November 30, 2009
Only another copy editor would understand
It is an obscure craft, but there are those who love it.
The Times leads a sheltered life
Don’t show us the money shot.
Just one word: plastic
Once more, with feeling: Foam plastic plates and cups are not made of Styrofoam. You should know this.
These are the rules
Precepts to guide your behavior.
You can run this stuff — many do — but it’s still shallow and stupid.
Don’t you ever talk about what’s RIGHT with America?
This just in: Copy editors tell you what is wrong with writing.
RED ALERT! RED ALERT!
You may still have time to decide against running that inane story about how much the gifts of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” would cost today. ABC and Today, I’m told, have already done so. But if you paid any attention to the strained banter during the broadcast of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, you know that broadcast television has no shame.
AND SOME TOPICS UNDER CONSIDERATION
Item: Oxford University Press is republishing H.W. Fowler’s original Modern English Usage, which should stimulate discussion of descriptivism, prescriptivism, and peevology.
Item: A comment by Tom Gara — “Aren't readers flocking in droves to online news sources that have no copy editing and drip with average grammar, inconsistent spelling etc?” — has me wondering whether people are posing a false dichotomy between thorough editing and no editing.
Item: College names and upward academic mobility.