Usage

Damn these danglers to hell

April 17, 2004
By

How to identify a dangling modifier: Held at the Dupont Circle town house of Peter Bergen, the CNN terrorism expert, the party’s heavily mediacentric guest list included Michael Isikoff of Newsweek; a former Clinton mouthpiece, Joe Lockhart; the political blogger Mickey Kaus; and a former Howard Dean spokeswoman, Tricia Enright. The verb has to...

Read more »

The punctuation enforcer

March 31, 2004
By

Reuters reports on a U.K. writer who is defending those apostrophes with her last breath.

Read more »

Why I hate pressure groups

February 26, 2004
By

Because of their idiotic insistence on their preferred terminology. From Clay’s post on the proper terminology on the gay-people-getting-married dustup. “Gay marriage” is a stupid thing to call it. Gay people can get married now. Just not to other gay people of the same gender. Thus, “same-sex marriage” can be used as an alternative....

Read more »

Bail, bond, etc.

February 9, 2004
By

See Nicole’s refresher.

Read more »

OK, now I’ve officially had it …

January 30, 2004
By

… with “kinder, gentler.” Can we please toss this one out of the airlock, please? The vacuum of space would do it some good. The tipping-point passage: Toner notes that the candidates as a whole are appealing “to a far more polarized, us-against-them electorate” than existed during the centrist Clinton administration and the kinder,...

Read more »

Like vs. such as

January 19, 2004
By

They’re wondering what to do about it in Philly.

Read more »

Death to redundancy

January 8, 2004
By

Clay rails against “future plans,” which reminds me of something I’ve been meaning to do: compile an exhaustive list of redundancies. Here’s one that bugs me immensely: “Different.” As in “Fourteen different choices present themselves…” With all redundancies, the rule must be: does the meaning survive if the word disappears? Click on “comments” to...

Read more »

The last thing I will ever write about hyphenation

January 2, 2004
By

As Phillip Blanchard would say, this is simple: If adding a hyphen to a compound modifier makes something more clear or more accurate, then add it. If leaving the hyphen out makes it inaccurate, then for God’s sake put it in there. The key point is: adding a hyphen must add meaning. If it’s...

Read more »

Nominations for Banned Words of 2004

December 24, 2003
By

The Testy Copy Editors are taking them. And sharing timeless laments. Why can’t we persuade the reporters that the best word for “said” is “said.”

Read more »

Anti-anti

December 15, 2003
By

Nicole Stockdale points out changes to the curent AP Stylebook.

Read more »