Clear and to the Point

10 November, 2011

Indefinite pronouns

Filed under: language — monado @ 18:06
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Dinosaur comics takes on the problem of gender-neutral singular pronouns in English. See if you like their solution.

6 September, 2011

Consistency is key

Filed under: accuracy,editing — monado @ 12:50
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As an editor, you don’t always need to be an expert to know that something is wrong.

The owl family

If a piece contains internal contradictions, query it.

Strigi- or Stringi- ?

Often you can just check public references to find the correct form.

The "Strigis" have it

“”Strix” was the Latin word for owl. Ironically, it comes from the Greek word “strinx,” or screecher.

13 October, 2010

The “Pencil Hardness Test”

Filed under: communication — monado @ 09:29
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From the title of this article I thought that I’d find out how to tell how hard were random pencils from around the house. This shows the danger of lumping nouns together and leaving the reader to sort them out. It isn’t “testing the hardness of pencils,” it’s “testing the hardness of things using pencils.”

If you are thinking of using a paint or plastic coating, you can test how hard it is by using a graded set of pencils. See “The Pencil Hardness Test” by Mac Simmons. You test the coating over wood.

…the pencil hardness test is only one of many tests used to evaluate coatings. There is obviously more than the hardness of any coating to be considered, so do not judge a finish entirely on the basis of this test.The test is very simple to do, will give uniform results, and is dependable because the pencils are graded. The grade of the pencil is determined by the amount of baked graphite and clay in its composition.

3 September, 2010

Word of the day: truthiness

Filed under: language — monado @ 20:01
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From Wikipedia:

In satire, truthiness is a “truth” that a person claims to know intuitively “from the gut” without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts.

Colbert satirized the misuse of appeal to emotion and “gut feeling” as a rhetorical device in contemporaneous socio-political discourse.

Colbert elaborated on the critique he intended to convey with the word:[3]

Truthiness is tearing apart our country, and I don’t mean the argument over who came up with the word…It used to be, everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. But that’s not the case anymore. Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything. It’s certainty. People love the President because he’s certain of his choices as a leader, even if the facts that back him up don’t seem to exist. It’s the fact that he’s certain that is very appealing to a certain section of the country. I really feel a dichotomy in the American populace. What is important? What you want to be true, or what is true?…

Truthiness is ‘What I say is right, and [nothing] anyone else says could possibly be true.’ It’s not only that I feel it to be true, but that I feel it to be true. There’s not only an emotional quality, but there’s a selfish quality.

Colbert chose the word truthiness just moments before taping the premiere episode of The Colbert Report on October 17, 2005, after deciding that the originally scripted word – “truth” – was not absolutely ridiculous enough. “We’re not talking about truth, we’re talking about something that seems like truth – the truth we want to exist”, he explained

Frank Rich referenced truthiness… in The New York Times in 2008, describing the strategy of John McCain’s presidential campaign as being “to envelop the entire presidential race in a thick fog of truthiness.”[21] Rich explained that the campaign was based on truthiness because “McCain, Sarah Palin and their surrogates keep repeating the same lies over and over not just to smear their opponents and not just to mask their own record. Their larger aim is to construct a bogus alternative reality so relentless it can overwhelm any haphazard journalistic stabs at puncturing it.”[21] Rich also noted, “You know the press is impotent at unmasking this truthiness when the hardest-hitting interrogation McCain has yet faced on television came on The View‘. Barbara Walters and Joy Behar called him on several falsehoods, including his endlessly repeated fantasy that Palin opposed earmarks for Alaska. Behar used the word “lies” to his face.”[21]

In 2006, Liberal Party of Canada leadership contender Ken Dryden used truthiness as an extensive theme in a speech in the House of Commons. The speech dealt critically with the current government’s Universal Child Care Plan.[39] Dryden defined truthiness as “something that is spoken as if true that one wants others to believe is true, that said often enough with enough voices orchestrated in behind it, might even sound true, but is not true.”

11 October, 2008

Online Writing Lab handouts

Filed under: writing — monado @ 22:28
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The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University has handouts in grammar, spelling, and punctuation:

In this section of our site, we offer you handouts and exercises on grammar, spelling, and punctuation. We also have PowerPoint presentations related to grammar, and we have an entire section of handouts and resources for English as a Second Language learners that might also prove useful.

We now have printer friendly versions and Adobe PDF versions of all of these handouts available. Visit our printer-friendly grammar, spelling, and punctuation index to download and print any of these handouts, or click on the link on any of the handouts to visit the printer-friendly version.

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