The Nitpicker’s Nook: January’s linguistic links roundup

The Nitpicker’s Nook is a monthly collection of language-related articles, interviews, and blog posts from around the Web. If you read something that would make a good addition, email your suggestion to [email protected].

By Laura GodfreyThe Nitpicker's Nook

  • If you know a new author too timid to say no to a copy editor’s suggestions, share this article by YA author Chantel Guertin that emphasizes the difference between being a difficult author to work with and politely asserting your own artistic vision. (Open Book: Toronto)
  • Earlier this month at the “Super Bowl of linguistics,” linguists at the American Dialect Society voted on 2014’s Word of the Year. What they chose—the influential Twitter hashtag #blacklivesmatter—stretches the definition of what constitutes a “word,” but speaks to the importance of recognizing the racial injustice that drew global attention in Ferguson, Mo. (The New York Times)
  • If you have recently launched your own freelance editorial business, you know that spending time on marketing to potential clients is vital to your success. Check out this article on four marketing mistakes to avoid. (An American Editor)
  • How long would it have taken you to notice that this rug in a sheriff’s office in Florida actually says “In Dog We Trust”? That rug manufacturer’s misprint went unnoticed for two months. Click the link to see a photo of the rug in question. (The Washington Post)

  • Which books would you deem truly worthy of your time, given that you’ll have only a limited number of hours to spend reading a small percentage of them over the rest of your lifetime? The author of this article declares that life is too short for Martin Amis, Ayn Rand, and 1000-plus pages of Infinite Jest. (The Guardian)
  • If a writer uses the singular they in their work, would you consider that to be a mistake? This issue has been dividing editors for decades, and John E. McIntyre argues it’s time stylebooks recognized the singular they as a simple, commonly used solution to a linguistic problem. (The Baltimore Sun)
  • Magazine editors may have a few weeks to fact-check stories, but at daily newspapers, the pace is so fast that copy editors are the last line of defence. When there isn’t enough time to fact-check everything, this article suggests a series of “red flags” to quickly identify potential problems. (American Society of Business Publication Editors)

Laura Godfrey is a Toronto-based copy editor, Canadian correspondent for Publishers Weekly magazine, and editor-in-chief of BoldFace, the blog of EAC’s Toronto branch.

This article was copy edited by Alanna Brousseau.

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