Monday, June 28, 2004

Never, Ever, Ever Use This Word

I was driving around St. Petersburg today, looking for apartments and listening to the radio. I shouldn't do this. I always regret it later. (Listening to the radio, that is. The living quarters remain a necessity.)

Anyway, a talk show host used a word that nearly drove me off the road through sheer revulsion.


As in, "I'm efforting to get that done." "We're efforting to call him up." "I'm efforting to come up with the most offensive, needless word ever."

What drives me batty about this is substituting a jargony, verbed noun for the simple, wonderful, economical "try." "I'm trying to get that done." "We're trying to call him up." "I'm trying to make my word choices less offensive."

If you hear anyone use this word, slap them. They must pay.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Inspirational Thought for the Day

Thank goodness we don't have to do this on typewriters.

Where They Come From

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Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Quote Addendum

A couple of comments rattled into the old Copy Massage mailbox addressing last month's post about quotes.

"Asphaire" wrote --

"on number three.. GREAT to know.. at least i can stop feeling like I have to justify every little two word tango with an oxford quoted explanation.. like i always say when i'm at a loss for any sort of explanation.. if it ain't pleasing to the ear, then it's best to paraphrase. that probably the best grammar rule i know. :o/"

I think the point being referred to is actually my fourth, in which I spoke against parentheticals in quotes. It's stupid. I mean, why are we quoting someone if we don't let them speak for themselves?

The parentheticals I hate most are the condescending ones.

"'I hate that dadratted [U.S. President George] Bush,' Kerry said."

At least the [going to the park] example I created below tries to help the reader. The example above exists merely to show off how intelligent the writer thinks she is and how dumb she thinks the reader is.

"Peter" chimed in --

"I agree with the point of the first example, but adding the "old chap" part is a needlessly hyperbolic flourish. Who does that? Or have you noticed recurring problems with editors turning hillbillies into upper-crust Englishmen?"

Yes. All the time.

Friday, June 4, 2004

A Horse is a Horse

Thanks to Romenesko, I ran across this article about the blog and column of Smarty Jones.

That's right, Smarty Jones. A horse.

I don't want to judge anyone here, but that's stupid. Even for a tabloid (and an entertaining, well-written one), that's stupid.

It should be a gut-level test of all things journalistic. Will publishing this article or printing this photograph make the newspaper look stupid? If the answer is yes -- or even possibly -- let's rethink.

Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Farewell to Tom

Mr. Mangan closes up Prints the Chaff.

Although I must say I'm crushed not to be one of his favorite editor-bloggers, it has been a pleasure to inhabit the same general niche of the blogosphere. I'll miss the site.

Yes, yes, I know, he's keeping the personal blog going. But it's not the same, is it? In any event, best of luck to him.