2.28.2008

"Interesting" Copy Editor Facts of the day:

Well, I'm a little bit of a nerd. And to be honest, I'm a mildly proud of that fact which may make it not so little of a bit. Everyone has their own nerd indulgences--an unhealthy skill-level for video games, profound excitement for prime numbers, freakish knowledge of facts and statistics, a cult-following type of love for certain books or movies, a guilty delight in punning and other forms of narrowly-accepted humor, a tendency to take the long way in order to catch 15 extra minutes of NPR. Sigh, we usually have more than one. My favorite nerd indulgences usually have something to do with either maps or, more often, WORDS.

Therefore, the profession of copy editing has opened me up to a veritable word playground with limitless joys to discover.

So, here's a little joy to share with you today. (all from the Chicago Manual of Style)

My first interesting fact holds particular interest because in less than two months I will have on of these in the modern sense of the word:

in 1220 the noun husband meant one who tilled and cultivated the earth {the husband has worked hard to produce this crop}. About 1420 it became a verb meaning to till, cultivate, and tend crops {you must husband your land thoughtfully}. (and actually this seems to be closely connected with adam's punishment for the fall. Which I also find super-interesting.)

The next fun fact is a common mistake. I had no idea until yesterday:

home in. This phrase is frequently misrendered hone in. (Hone means "to sharpen.") Home in refers to what homing pigeons do; the meaning is "to come closer and closer to a target."

And finally, a great misconception. One that my editor called an "evil lie..."

5.169Ending a sentence with a preposition

The traditional caveat of yesteryear against ending sentences with prepositions is, for most writers, an unnecessary and pedantic restriction. As Winston Churchill famously said, "That is the type of arrant pedantry up with which I shall not put." A sentence that ends in a preposition may sound more natural than a sentence carefully constructed to avoid a final preposition. Compare Those are the guidelines an author should adhere to with Those are the guidelines to which an author should adhere. The "rule" prohibiting terminal prepositions was an ill-founded superstition.

well, I hope that was fraction as fun for you as it was for me! Back to copy-editor land.

2 comments:

Matthew said...

woah! those are GREAT! give me more!!!

and quit trying to make your job sound fun. i don't buy it.

Mrs. BrownAbles said...

Did you know they make a visual, art-filled version of the Chicago Manual of Style?
Matthew's just saying that because all of the copy editors I've worked for (in publishing, VERY different than nonprofit work) all were mean and smoked all the time.