“There is a satisfactory boniness about grammar which the flesh of sheer vocabulary requires before it can become a vertebrate and walk the earth.” ~Anthony Burgess

The very model of an amateur grammarian (Tom Freeman, The Stroppy Editor, with apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan). Apropos grammarians, you may enjoy Lisa McLendon's Fussbudgets and Freewheelers blog post.

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity [ignorance, incompetence]." -- adage known as Hanlon's Razor

You call that irony? (Jon Winokur, Los Angeles Times, 2-11-07) Sacha Baron Cohen gets it; Alanis Morissette doesn't.


In Defense of Cursive (Judith Thurman, New Yorker, 7-5-12). Where handwriting, capitalization, and politics meet.

The past, the present and the future walked into a bar. It was tense.
~a joke for editors


Goodbye, cruel words: English. It's dead to me. (Gene Weingarten, Washington Post, 9-19-10)

Three Books for the Grammar Lover in Your Life. Robert Lane Greene, for NPR, recommends The Power Of Babel: A Natural History Of Language by John McWhorter; The Lexicographer's Dilemma: The Evolution Of 'Proper' English, From Shakespeare To 'South Park' by Jack W. Lynch; and A Dictionary Of Modern English Usage by H. W. Fowler and David Crystal, an update of the classic by a linguist.

How to Write a (Good) Sentence. Adam Haslett on Stanley Fish (Slate, from Financial Times, 1-23-11), on whether in following Strunk & White's injunction to write succinctly we haven't lost something.

Space Invaders: Why you should never, ever use two spaces after a period. (Farhad Manjoo, Slate, 1-13-11). Check out the 1800 comments, and counting, this article elicited.

Twitter lists for editors (KOK Edit). Save time and sign up to follow the tweeters on Katharine O'Moore-Klopf's lists of good Twitter feeds. By category: Health and medicine, news media, science resources, scientists, freelancing resources, and edit-Long-Islanders.

"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock."
~ Thomas Jefferson

"When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but kill most of them--then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice."
~ Mark Twain, Letter to D. W. Bowser, 3/​20/​1880, on a fabulous site, Mark Twain quotations

Advice for Writers: Preparing Your E-Manuscript (Subversive Copy Editor, 7-5-10)

Education Fails (signs with grammar errors, Huffington Post slideshow)




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Most Frequently Looked-Up Words on NYTimes.com, 2009 and what Zachary M. Seward has to say about that list on
Nieman Journalism Lab

The Maven, Nevermore (Ben Zimmer's tribute to the late William Safire and his language column in the New York Times). Here's Safire's How to Read a Column

"You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what's burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke."
~ Arthur Plotkin, author of The Elements of Editing

Association for the Abolition of the Aberrant Apostrophe. Read Richard Littlejohn's tribute to Keith Waterhouse , the legend of Fleet Street, then scroll down and read read a reprint of the classic column in which, more than 20 years ago, he launched the Association for the Abolition of the Aberrant Apostrophe. To quote from that: "The AAAA has two simple goals. Its first is to round up and confiscate superfluous apostrophes from, for example, fruit and vegetable stalls where potato's, tomatoe's and apple's are openly on sale.
"Its second is to redistribute as many as possible of these impounded apostrophes, restoring missing apostrophes where they have been lost, mislaid or deliberately hijacked - as for instance by British Rail, which as part of its refurbishment programme is dismantling the apostrophes from such stations as King's Cross and shunting them off at dead of night to a secret apostrophe siding at Crewe."



Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter and other headlines to make you smile or wince (favorites: Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge. Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges. Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead. Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors. Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half)

Which words make you wince? Michelle Pauli asks poets for their most hated words, in the Guardian. Which are yours? Read the comments!

"During the Middle Ages, everybody was middle aged. Church and state were co-operatic. Middle Evil society was made up of monks, lords, and surfs." That's an excerpt from Anders Henriksson's delightful piece in Wilson Quarterly:A History of the Past: 'Life Reeked With Joy', which the editors describe thus:
Possibly as an act of vengeance, a history professor--compiling, verbatim, several decades' worth of freshman papers--offers some of his students’ more striking insights into European history from the Middle Ages to the present.




"I do hope you realize that every time you use disinterested to mean uninterested, an angel dies, and every time you write very unique, or 'We will hire whomever is more qualified,' thousands of literate people lose yet another little smidgen of hope. And please promise me you will never lose your grip on the subjunctive to the extent that someone did in this sentence from USA Today: 'If Ramirez stayed in Cleveland, the Indians may not be seven victories shy of their first World Series title since 1948.' "
~ From Alphabet Juice by Roy Blount, Jr. (You can read the first chapter here, thanks to the New York Times First Pages series. Thanks to Wendalyn Nichols of Copyediting for this lead and for this link to a conversation with Blount on A Way With Words.



Those who are irked by spelling errors as well as those who can't spell should be interested in Everybody Wants to Be a Spelling Cop, a blog about a talk about the changing nature of language given by David Wolman, author of Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, the Tangled History of English Spelling at the CASE conference.

If the term "CamelCase" or "camel-capping" is unfamiliar, you might find this Wikipedia entry of interest. McNees is camel-cased. So is AstroTurf and NaCl.

"Abandon hopefully all ye who enter here."

"Indian" or "Native American"? '...most of the time we use the term "Native American" to describe the first inhabitants of this continent. Sometimes, however, we use the term "Indian. " While most scholars prefer to use Native American most of the time, sometimes the term "Indian" is more appropriate. Native Americans sometimes use the term "Indian" or "American Indian" to describe themselves. We often use terms like "Indian schools" or "Indian officials" for two reasons: one, because that is the language people at the time used, both Native Americans and whites, and two, these things are also often proper names or titles, as in the case of "Holy Childhood Indian School" or the "Bureau of Indian Affairs." '
~From the useful website Native Americans

HOMOPHONES are words that sound the same but are spelled differently (e.g., "steal, steel"). HOMONYMS are words that sound and are spelled the same, but have different meanings (e.g., "right" as correct and "right" as opposite of left).

"Word has somehow got around that the split infinitive is always wrong. That is of a piece with the outworn notion that it is always wrong to strike a lady."
~ James Thurber



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"Grammar is a piano I play by ear."
~ Joan Didion

"Changing the world one apostrophe at a time."
~ Gary D. Shapiro

"English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment, and education — sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across a street."
~ E.B. White

"Everything bows to success, even grammar."
~ Victor Hugo


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Style, grammar, and word choice


BASIC STYLE GUIDES


To begin with, the comma: If you are writing for magazines and newspapers, you will typically not use the serial comma (so it will be "apples, oranges and bananas") but if you are writing for books you will (hence "apples,oranges, and bananas"). What's the best source for this kind of information on style & usage? Here are some of the staples of the editor's desk, American style (British style being different), especially the first three:

FOR GENERAL PURPOSES:
The styles clients, publishers, and authors may expect you to know (or have access to the style manual for) are primarily: Chicago, AP, APA, AMA, MLA, Microsoft, CBE/​CSE
• The Chicago Manual of Style , 16th Edition (the style Bible for books and some magazines, and many professional copyeditors use the online edition). The Subversive Copy Editor offers a sneak peek at changes from the 16th edition. Free, online: Proofreaders' marks. You may also sign up for FREE Q&A alerts (a free subscription to an informative monthly e-mail).

• AP Style Guide (The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing in Media Law, also available online , is standard for publication style in newspapers and some magazines). John McIntyre feelsAP has not improved in its 2013 edition. The blog AP vs. Chicago compares Associated Press style and Chicago style. If you learn from taking tests, consider AP Style Quiz Book: 101 Questions with Answers to Test your AP Stylebook Knowledge (Kindle, 28 pages).

• Garner's Modern American Usage by Bryan A. Garner (VERY useful--in the print edition--not so easy to use in Kindle edition). Not sure which of two words is appropriate in a given context? Go to Garner. An excellent gift to a wordsmith.

• The Oxford Essential Guide to Writing by Thomas S. Kane

**************
Also useful:

• Words into Type, 3rd Edition (how a book is put together, supplements Chicago)

• Wired Style (online style guide)

• The Careful Writer (or anything) by Theodore M. Bernstein, including Miss Thistlebottom's Hobgoblins: The Careful Writer's Guide to the Taboos, Bugbears, and Outmoded Rules of English Usage, Dos, Don'ts & Maybes of English Usage

If budget allows, consider subscribing to Copyediting: Language News for the Publishing Profession

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DISCIPLINE- AND SITUATION-SPECIFIC
STYLE GUIDES and DICTIONARIES:

(print and online listed together)

• The ACS Style Guide: Effective Communication of Scientific Information, 3rd edition, ed. Anne M. Coghill and Lorrin R. Garson (American Chemical Society)
• AMA Style Guide (American Medical Association Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors, 10th Edition) and now also available online, by subscription. Check out Frequently asked questions and searchable online PDF of the index.
• AP Style Guide (The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing in Media Law, for journalism)
• APA Style Guide (Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition), now available on KINDLE, used in psychology and the social sciences. (The 6th edition seems geared to needs of students, for essays, and academics, for theses, and its first printing is full of errors, so get the second printing. The 5th edition may be better suited to professional editors in book and journal publishing, report some editors.)
• American Sociological Association Style Guide
• Apple Style Guide (excellent free style guide for software documentation and other technical writing) pdf format
• Buzzwords (recent, Macmillan Dictionary)
• CSE Manual, (formerly CBE) Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers, Council of Biology Editors (look for 8th edition in 2013)
• The COPS Office Editorial Style Manual (Community Oriented Policing Services, U.S. Dept. of Justice)
• A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage by Bryan Garner (essential for law students)
• The Economist Style Guide. See also The Economist Style Guide, online (free). Sensible explanations of British punctuation (under P).
• The Elements of Legal Style by Bryan A. Garner
• ‘The Finkbeiner Test’, Seven rules to avoid gratuitous gender profiles of female scientists (Curtis Brainard, Columbia Journalism Review, 3-22-13)
• GLAAD Media Reference Guide(free PDF, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation--includes transgender glossary of terms, An Ally's Guide to Terminology: Talking About LGBT People & Equality , and other "talking about" guides, so we can in particular call members of groups what they want to be called. Here's a concise guide to trans terms (such as "cis" and "ally," FAAB and MAAB, CAFAB and CAMAB).
• Global English Style Guide: Writing Clear, Translatable Documentation for a Global Market, by John R. Kohl, supplemented by the Global English Style Guide website. (For example, the serial comma is useful to translators because it clarifies the relationship between items on a list.)
• Guardian Style, by David Marsh and Amelia Hodsdon, British journalism style guide
• Handbook of Writing for the Mathematical Sciences, published by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics; helpful on math typography and style questions
• IEEE Computer Society Style Guide, online
• The Jargon File (hacker slang, interpreted). Sample from the glossary: "[404: /​/​, n. from the HTTP error “file not found on server”] Extended to humans to convey that the subject has no idea or no clue -- sapience not found. May be used reflexively; “Uh, I'm 404ing” means “I'm drawing a blank”."
• Lifehacker Tech Dictionary (once over lightly guide to internet as a whole)
• Medical English Usage And Abusage by Edith Schwager
• Microsoft Manual of Style (4th edition, for content creators, journalists, technical writers, editors, and everyone else who writes about computer technology). Read an interview with the two editors, Valerie Woolley and Elizabeth Whitmire (newsletter, Puget Sound chapter, STC April-May 2012)
• Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications, explains a convention, then lists correct and incorrect examples of it
• MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th edition, 3-09, for academic writing in English and the humanities -- no longer requires URLs for Web citations, and print is no longer primary format)
• A Molecular Biology Glossary ( Robert H. Lyons, University of Michigan DNA Sequencing Core)
• Numbers Guide: The Essentials of Business Numeracy by Richard Stutely
• The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Jan Chivers). See also The Oxford Companion to Art (Harold Osborne)
• The Oxford Style Manual (combines The Oxford Guide to Style, The Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors, the new Hart's Rules, and a list of 500 American words and their British equivalents)
• Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , but also take a look at APA the Easy Way, which reduces the anguish of dealing with the APA style manual.
• Read Me First! A Style Guide for the Computer Industry, from Sun Technical Publications
• Recipes Into Type: A Handbook for Cookbook Writers and Editors by Joan Whitman and Dolores Simon (out of print; often available through www.ecookbooks.com
• The Recipe Writer's Handbook by Barbara Gibbs Ostmann and Jane L. Baker
• Scientific Style And Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, And Publishers
• Smashwords Style Guide eBook by Mark Coker. HWell-illustrated, step-by-step instructions for producing and publishing an eBook through Smashwords (free download)
• Japan Style Sheet: The SWET Guide for Writers, Editors, and Translators, most useful perhaps for translators
• Ten Speed Press Cookbook Style Sheet (handout provided at 2003 BAEF meeting by Lorena Jones)
• Turabian (as it is called) (A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 7th Edition: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers, ed. Kate L. Turabian, Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams, University of Chicago Press
• Urban Dictionary (helpful with really current slang)
• WHO House Style (PDF; uses British spelling)
• Wikipedia Manual of Style
• The Yahoo! Style Guide: The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing, and Creating Content for the Digital World, in both print and digital (for Kindle) editions. A guide to providing online content, with sections on making site accessible to all and search-engine optimized. Click here for supporting website, with entries on such online concerns as eye-tracking (where readers look first) and user-interface basics. See also Differences Between 'The Yahoo! Style Guide' and 'The Associated Press Stylebook'
• Style Sheets—The Setup and the Benefits . Fiction editor Beth Hill's advice on setting up a style sheet for a book of fiction (The Editor's Blog, 7-12-11).
• Diana Hacker and Barbara Fister's list of style manuals for various academic disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, history, and sciences


CONSIDER ALSO, FOR THE FULLER LIBRARY:

Mathematics into Type, updated, by Ellen Swanson, Arlene O'Sean, Antoinette Schleyer (American Mathematical Society)
Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style, by Virginia Tufte
Style: Toward Clarity and Grace, by Joseph M. Williams (on the internal logic of effective writing)
The Sense of Structure: Writing from the Reader's Perspective by George Gopen

Wendalyn Nichols of Copyediting Newsletter (the publication has made "copyediting" one word now) turns to dictionaries for people learning English to find the proper collocation for prepositions--words that "go with" other words, that co-locate in identifiable patterns. Her example: "X is a comfort to Y" is correct, and "X is a comfort for Y" is not, but sometimes what "sounds right" will be different for Brits and for Americans. The books she refers to when checking out collocators can often be found where ESL (English as a second language) is taught:
The Cambridge Dictionary of American English
The Longman Advanced Dictionary of American English
The Macmillan English Dictionary
The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary
Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) now complete. Listen to audio samples of how we speak . Read the story of how it was compiled (over five decades). And take this quiz (based on the final volume, V) -- don't you love how the quiz works!?? Listen to radio program about this 50-year project on the Diane Rehm show (WAMU, NPR, rebroadcast 7-4-12).
Full dictionary now available, in five volumes:
• Dictionary of American Regional English, Vol. I: Introduction and A-C, ed. Frederic Gomes Cassidy and Joan Houston Hall
• Dictionary of American Regional English: Volume 2: D-H
• Dictionary of American Regional English, Volume III: I-O
• Dictionary of American Regional English, Volume IV: P-Sk (Joan Houston Hall)
• Dictionary of American Regional English, Volume V: Sl-Z (Joan Houston Hall)


I've provided links to some style "crib sheets" to get you going while you wait for those books you ordered to come. Nothing worse than having a deadline and not knowing how to do your commas or references, and not knowing the difference between when to use "caretaker" (when you're taking care of property) and when to use "caregiver" (when you're taking care of someone who's ill).

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Online Style Guides

(and scroll down for pronunciation guides)

• Age Beat survey on style (phrases aging people hate) and Glossary and Tips on Usage (e.g., avoid "geezer")
• AMA Style Guide (paid subscription, with user interface that could be better)
• American vs. British spelling (Susan Jones)
• Apple style guide (excellent style guide for technical publications, related to computers), free PDF download
• AP Stylebook Online ($, Associated Press style, for newspapers and some magazines, continually updated to include new "acceptable" usage), and recent Ask the Editor Q&As. This is interesting, also: Differences Between 'The Yahoo! Style Guide' and 'The Associated Press Stylebook'
• AP style via FreelanceStarCompany (the Associated Press style guide is the standard one for journalism and is also good for bloggers)
• Association of Art Editors Style Guide (AAE on accents, ellipses, and various kinds of formatting, among other things)
• BBC News Styleguide. Look around for their online training, too.
• British and American English (the Queen's English Society on differences in British and American spelling, grammar, and vocabulary)
• British vs. American spelling (Jones)
• Buzzfeed style guide (standards for the internet and social media--note lowercase internet)
• CDC Style Guide (PDF, Centers for Disease Control). See also the CDC Clear Communications Index (20 research-based items to build on and expand plain language techniques described in the Federal Plain Language Guidelines--I especially like the good and bad examples of graphics).
• Chicago Manual of Style Q&A (free, but not complete)
• Chicago Manual of Style, online (not free; use search function to find the section you want in book version of CMS; it isn't always easy to find what you want in the book version)
• Differences between British and American English (English as a second language)
• Differences between various forms of English spelling (Wikipedia)
• Economist style guide, with good general style guidance on, for example, Singular or Plural? (British style, but sensible)
• Electronic style (George H. Hoemann, dated)
• FAQs on Style (NYTimes.com)
• Online consistency checker (Intelligent Editing, free, Beta version, powered by PerfectIt). Upload a PDF, DOCX, DOC or TXT file (maximum file size is 10 MB, for best results use DOCX) and it will check for consistency. There are free and paid versions.
• Guardian (U.K.) Style Guide
• How to Learn a Style Guide in 10 Days (PDF, Colleen Barron's presentation at ACES)
• IEEE Computer Society Style Guide, online
• MLA Formatting and Style Guide (OWL)
• MLA style crib sheet (Abel Scribe)
• National Geographical Style Manual (especially useful for place names)
• Online Stylebooks, by subject, Alphabetically arranged, and Indexed by the Search Engine. Very handy!
• Plain English handbook (Securities & Exchange Commission)
• Style Guide for the Computer Industry (Sun,online), also available as a book, updated and with missing parts: Read Me First! A Style Guide for the Computer Industry (Sun Publications)
• Religion Stylebook (a guide for journalists, a service of the Religion Newswriters Association)
• Reuters Style Guide (an A-to-Z newspaper style guide that leans toward British style but often shows both Brit and American style, as in "temblor: An American word for earthquake, not trembler")
• Royal College of Surgeons (UK) College Style Guide. Example: If there is a rise from eight percent to ten percent, the rise is not two percent but two percentage points (or a two-point increase).
• Style and Substance (monthly bulletin of Paul R. Martin, stylebook editor at the Wall Street Journal, with searchable archives)
• Times (U.K.) Style and Usage Guide
• Videogame Style Guide and Reference Manual (IGJA wiki)
• Web Style Guide, 3rd ed. (Patrick Lynch and Sarah Horton)
• Web Editorial Style Guide (PDF file downloadable free from E-Write, prepared with examples for the Energy Information Administration)
• Wikipedia Manual of Style
• Writing headlines for Google and e-media, by Steffen Fjaervik, Poynter online
• Yahoo! Word List (for online writing)
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Pronunciation Guides
• Pronunciation Guide for Plant Names in Latin (it's CLE muh tis, not Cle MAH tis, for clematis)
• Forvo (pronunciation in many foreign languages)
• VOA's guide to pronouncing names and places (especially those tough foreign names you see in newspapers)
• Oxford pronunciation guide (gives both British and North American pronunciations)
• Encyclopedia Mythica (the names of the ancient gods and goddesses -- for English speakers)
• Biblical words (Net Ministries)
To find pronunciation of words in foreign languages, do a search for, say, "pronunciation in German"
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Respecting diversity, difference, and disability,


• Diversity Style Guide (News Watch) (PDF, Center for Integration & Improvement of Journalism, CIIJ). Guide to unbiased language for terms referring to aspects of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, country of origin, sexual preference, class, or disability--Asian American Journalists Association; National Association of Black Journalists; National Association of Hispanic Journalists; National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association; the Native American Journalists Association; the National Center on Disability and Journalism; the South Asian Journalists Association; and "100 Questions and Answers About Arabs: A Journalist's Guide" by the Detroit Free Press.
• Disability Style Guide (online, free, National Center on Disability and Journalism) General, physical disability, visually impaired, hearing impaired, mental and cognitive disability/​seizure disorders. See also Tip sheets for reporters and ADA.gov (information and technical assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division)
• Disability and Mental Health Hot Topics at ACES Convention (part 1) Anya Weber (4-24-14, two-part series of her report on Community Inclusion, disability-related sessions at the annual convention of the American Copy Editors Society. Part 2: Editors Learn About Person-First Language.
• Guidelines: How to Write and Report About People with Disabilities (based on a national survey of disability organizations)
• Journalist's Toolbox (SPJ, resources on disability and accessibility)
• NLGJA Stylebook Supplement on LGBT Terminology (The Association of LGBT Journalists)
• Reporting on Suicide: Recommendations for the Media (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Mental Health) Sensitive reporting can save lives.
• Representing Disability in an Ableist World: Essays on Mass Media by Beth A. Haller (see Haller's links to disability resources)
• Social Media Guidelines for Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention (PDF, TEAMup)
• 100 Questions about Arab Americans: A Journalist's Guide (Arab Media, credited elsewhere to Detroit Free Press)
• Style Guide: Reporting on Mental Health (TEAMup)
• Words of Respect: Speaking of Disability (slideshow for presentation by Doug Ward and Val Alexander Renault, University of Kansas, for the American Copy Editors Society.) Language influences perception and attitudes.
• Your Words, Our Image (Research and Training Center on Independent Living, Kansas University), a two-column guide to "do say" and "don't say" alternatives--e.g., "burn survivor" rather than "burn victim"; "has a learning disability" rather than "slow learner," "has X" rather than "suffers from X." (Download brochure and poster here.)
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Grammar and style books
for writers who wince at the idea of grammar and for popular reading


•
The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language by Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K. Pullum ($172 to $200, for those who can take descriptive grammar straight, and can afford it), and by the same authors: A Student's Introduction to English Grammar
• Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss (British-style grammar and humor)
• The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White (aka Strunk & White), considered a great primer on good writing by many, but a bad influence on grammar by others (50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice by Geoffrey K.Pullum, Chronicle of Higher Education, 4-17-09).
• Engrish.com (examples of terrible English, often on Japanese signs and packages)
*** The Elephants of Style and Lapsing Into a Comma: A Curmudgeon's Guide to the Many Things That Can Go Wrong in Print--and How to Avoid Them by Bill Walsh (Washington Post copy editor -- two words, AP Style -- Walsh explains reasoning behind rules, so you can see when it's okay to break them)
• The Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar by Bas Aarts, Sylvia Chalker, Edmund Weiner. Web URLs appear on interesting supplement pages .
• The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English by Roy Peter Clark, author of Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer. He captures essences in a few words.
• The Grammar Devotional: Daily Tips for Successful Writing from Grammar Girl by Mignon Fogarty, author of Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. See also Fogarty's shorter, more focused, titles: Grammar Girl's 101 Misused Words You'll Never Confuse Again (know the difference between purposely and purposefully, hilarious and hysterical, affect and effect?); Grammar Girl's 101 Words to Sound Smart (for those who want to learn some new 50-cent words, as Twain would call them); Grammar Girl's 101 Words Every High School Graduate Needs to Know. Some of her works are available as ebooks.
• How English Works: A Grammar Practice Book by Michael Swan and Catherine Walter (too few exercises for an ESL text, but good explanations and illustrations for teachers and ESL students)
• Line by Line: How to Edit Your Own Writing by Claire Kehrwald Cook (full of examples of bad sentences and how to improve them)
• New York Public Library Writer's Guide to Style and Usage by Andrea Sutcliffe
• Painless Grammar by Rebecca Elliott (part of a series that includes Painless Writing (Jeffrey Strausser), Painless Vocabulary (Michael Greenberg), Painless Spelling (Mary Elizabeth)--a series for junior and senior high school students
• Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose by Constance Hale
• Things That Make Us (Sic): The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar Takes on Madison Avenue, Hollywood, the White House, and the World by Martha Brockenbrough, whose blog will make you chuckle: SPOGG (Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar)
• The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed by Karen Elizabeth Gordon--stories keep you reading and illustrate grammatical principles in passing.
• Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English by Patrica T. O'Conner
• Word Court: Wherein Verbal Virtue Is Rewarded, Crimes Against the Language Are Punished, and Poetic Justice Is Done by Barbara Wallraff, author of the popular Atlantic Monthly column, the language maven who wittily establishes rules for turns of phrase, slang, name usage, punctuation, newly coined vocabulary -- e.g., is it "a historical" or "an historical"? How long does someone have to be dead before you stop calling her "the late" etc.

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Citations and References (guides to various documentation styles)


• The Best Style Guide Resources for MLA, APA, Chicago, and CSE (links to key style-guide sites, a few bibliography generators, and other resources useful in academia)
• Purdue/​OWL Overview on Documenting Sources
• Research and Documentation Online (Diana Hacker on how to document print and online sources in the humanities, the social sciences, history, and the hard sciences)
• Diane Hacker's list of style manuals for humanities, social sciences, history, and the sciences
• Style Guide Resources (informED, Open College, links to material related to four main style guides for academic writing: MLA. APA. CSE. Chicago)
• APA style resources (crib sheets) University of Minnesota crib sheet on American Psychological Association style
• APA Style on Documentation (Purdue/​OWL on American Psychological Association style on citations)
• Chicago style citation quick guide
• Chicago/​Turabian Style on Documentation (University of Wisconsin Writing Center)
• Citation styles (Online Education Database)
• Citing Electronic Editions. Copyediting Tip of the Week, 1-18-11 (not everyone has figured out how to proceed)
• Citing Records in the National Archives of the United States (PDF, leaflet 17, especially for genealogists and the like)
• The End Matter: The Nightmare of Citation (Louis Menand, The New Yorker, 10-6-03)
• How Do I Cite a Kindle? (Chelse Lee, American Psychological Association, on how to cite e-book readers
• IEEE Computer Society Style on References
• KnightCite (an online citation generator service provided by the Hekman Library of Calvin College)
• MLA Style on References (Purdue/​OWL on Modern Language Association style) . See also MLA citation style for academic citations: Print no longer default citation style and URLs no longer necessary for Web citations, with 7th edition (Nate Anderson, Ars Technica, 4-12-09)
• Research and Documentation Online, Diana Hacker's guide to four styles of academic documentation: MLA style (for English and some humanities classes), APA style (American Psychological Association, for the social sciences), Chicago style, for history and other humanities classes, and CSE style (for biology and the other sciences).
• Reference Checker. Copyeditors: "If you work on Word documents with name+date (APA /​ Harvard style) or number (Vancouver) references, ReferenceChecker will save you time in checking the reference items and citations. It will not perform any other copy-editing checks for such things as spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. You can use the program free of charge for 10 days from installation. To continue using ReferenceChecker after the 10-day trial period, you must purchase a licence."
Citation Indexing Databases (to learn which articles have cited a particular citation):
• Which citation database: Web of Science, Scopus, or Google Scholar?. Lokman I. Meho's evaluation of three major citation indexing databases for the Special Libraries Association, 2009. Meho also lists other specialized databases useful for citation searching.
• Scopus (now called SciVerse Scopus (huge abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature and solid web sources). Here are interactive tutorials for Scopus.
• Google Scholar (free)
• ISI Web of Knowledge and a FAQ that explains that Web of Science is part of Thomson Reuters' larger Web of Knowledge database. The Web of Science database includes among other things the
-Arts & Humanities Citation Index, a/​k/​a Arts & Humanities Search
–Science Citation Index
–Social Sciences Citation Index
"The American Psychological Association (APA) style is often used in the social sciences. The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) is used in business, communications, economics, and social sciences. The CMS style uses footnotes at the bottom of page to help readers locate the sources. The Modern Language Association (MLA) style is widely used in the humanities."~ from an excellent article, Academic Publishing: An Overview (Charles Henry editing blog)
For additional resources check out Wikipedia's list of academic databases and search engines
• Footnotes, Endnotes, & References: Uses & Abuses (Rich Adin, An American Editor 3-29-10)
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[Go Top]
ONLINE DICTIONARIES AND DICTIONARY-STYLE REFERENCES (Both General and Specialized)

Do not assume that a reference work is good because it's called Webster's or Roget's. Those labels are public domain now, so anyone can use them.

• *Abbreviations.com Abbreviations, acronyms, and initialisms, by category
• Acronym Finder -— to find what an acronym, abbreviation, or initialism stands for. An acronym is a string of initial letters pronounced as a word — e.g., NATO, EPCOT. For a great explanation of the complexities of acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms, look at this Wikipedia entry, at the end of which are links to more acronym databases. See also GovSpeak (a guide to U.S. government acronyms and abbreviations) and The Internet Acronym Server (a searchable database)
• Affixes (the building blocks of English (1,250 entries and 10,000 examples of prefixes, suffixes, combining forms and infixes--the four types of affixes that appear in English). See for example the thematic affixes . Drawn from Michael Quinion's book, Ologies and Isms: A Dictionary of Word Beginnings and Endings
• alphaDictionary (directory of online dictionaries for about 300 languages)
• All That JAS: Journal Abbreviation Sources (Abbreviations.com — by field)
• AllWords (search for words containing, starting, or ending with certain letters, with multilingual search)
• American Sign Language Browser (find a word, the find the video showing how it's signed in ASL)
• AskOxford.com (Compact Oxford English Dictionary, Little Oxford Dictionary of Quotations), and Concise Dictionary of First Names
• Astronomy and Particle Physics Dictionary (diclib.com)
• Auditing Dictionary of Terms (Accounting Institute Seminars)
• A-Z list of English idioms
• Bartleby, reference books online, free
• BBC Food Glossary
• The BBI Combinatory Dictionary of English (diclib.com, a guide to collocations and grammar--especially helpful for ESL students: how to combine words to form phrases that sound right to the English ear: "mortgaged to the hilt." Here's the preface to the original book, explaining what collocations are
• Biopharmaceutical glossary, taxonomies (and guide to 21st century therapeutics, technologies and trends)
• Buzzwhack (demystifying buzzwords)
• Common Chat Slang (e.g., AFAIK means "As far as I know" -- plus Common Emoticons)
• Common Medical Abbreviations (GlobalRPh, the clinician's reference)
• Generic and genericized trademarks, List of (Wikipedia)
• CONSORT statement. Guidelines in the CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) statement are used worldwide to improve the transparent reporting of randomized, controlled trials.
• Construction Dictionary
• Cultural Objects Name Authority Online (CONA, Getty)
• Dictionarist (talking dictionary that translates with pronunciation and sound in several languages)
• Dictionary of Medical Acronyms & Abbreviations /a> (Health.am)
•
Dictionary of Law (diclib.com)
• Electric Power Industry Glossary
• Encyclopedia Brittanica online (paid subscription, though free to journalists, users of social media such as Twitter, etc.
• Energy Acronyms (California Energy Commission)
• Energy Terms and Definitions (Energy Information Administration)
• Financial Dictionary and Financial Quiz
• Financial terminology and other quizzes (for ESL students, about.com)
• Findlaw Law Dictionary
• FreeDictionary Legal Dictionary
• Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names ฎ Online
• Glossarist (very useful, searchable dictionary of glossaries and topical dictionaries, from the general to the arcane--e.g., English to Hindi food terms)
• Glossary of Energy Terms (California Energy Commission)
• Glossary of political economy terms (Paul M. Johnson, Auburn University)
• Glossary of spiritual and religious terms
• Grammars and Language Courses in many languages--great links at YourDictionary.com
• Howjsay.com (a free online talking dictionary of English pronunciation--both British and American versions of words)
• Hutchinson dictionary of difficult words (from literati to verbigerative)
• InternetSlang.com (Internet slang and common Web abbreviations)
• Investor Words
• JaLingo (a free cross-platform dictionary tool) and JaLingo Wiki (where users and developers of JaLingo can report bugs, discuss formats, etc.)
• Kids Open Dictionary Builder (anyone can contribute to this free, simple, open dictionary for kids)
• Law.com Legal Dictionary
• Lexicon of New Media Terms
• Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (popular dictionary for English as a Second (or Foreign) Language, ESL or EFL)
• LookWayUp (dictionary, thesaurus and translation with spelling correction)
• Medline-Plus Medical Dictionary
• Memidex.com (online dictionary and thesaurus, with definitions, etymology, audio pronunciation guides, extensive cross-referencing, complete inflections, and frequent updates)
• Netlingo (online dictionary of Internet and computer terms, including text and chat acroynms)
• 100 most commonly mispelled (oops misspelled) words in English (yourdictionary.com)
• 100 most often mispronounced words and phrases in English (yourdictionary.com)
• Onelook Dictionary (searches online dictionaries for definitions or translations)
• OneLook Reverse Dictionary
• Online dictionaries (Your Dictionary, scroll down and link free to dictionaries in special fields and word games)
• Online dictionaries and encyclopedias (diclib.com, includes many foreign language dictionaries)
• Online Etymology Dictionary
• Oxford English Dictionary (now available for both Windows and Mac, on CD-ROM), displaying both the second edition (1989) and the gradually accumulating third edition, about which, and about whether the online edition will spell the end of the print OED, be sure to read Charlotte Brewer's long essay for The Wilson Quarterly, Only Words. See What's new for the latest changes in the online dictionary (you can join their mailing list).
• The Phrase Finder (UK site--find meaning, source of colloquial and literary phrases, sayings, idioms)
• Plain Language Offenders (and simple words to replace them)
• The Phrase Finder (meanings and origins of 1,200 English sayings, phrases, and idioms, UK)
• Roget's II: The New Thesaurus, at Bartleby's
• Stedman's Online Medical Dictionary
• Techtionary (an “animated magazine of technical terms”)
• Top 100 Brands Synonymous With Their Product Category (Rob Kelly, but next list is fuller)
• Trademark checklist (International Trademark Association). Trademark hotlines: tmhotline@​inta.org or phone: (212) 768-9886
• Translators' resources (Dictionaries, Glossaries, & Tech Resources, on site of New England Translators Association)
• Unicode Standard, Unicode Character Code Charts (scripts), and Unicode Character Code Charts (punctuation, symbols, and notational systems)-- links to the formulas for Unicode characters in many languages
• Union List of Artist Names Online (ULAN, Getty)
• Urban dictionary (slang and online terms, such as YMMV). Diverting and, for those new to OMG, helpful.
• The Visual Dictonary (infovisual.info) Click on arrows to change volumes (vegetal biology, animal biology, human body, music, transport, clothing).
• Visual Dictionary Online (Merriam-Webster) Search within 15 themes.
• **Visualizing data (fabulous site)
• Visual Thesaurus (online version, $subscription only--2-week free trial available). Online interactive dictionary and thesaurus, creates word maps that blossom with meanings and branch to related words. See this Visual Thesaurus blog entry for "fanboy" to get flavor of exchanges.
• Visuwords (online graphical dictionary) get image maps of words
• whatamieating.com (a searchable online international food dictionary)
• Word.Com (Merriam-Webster's online newsletter
• Wiktionary (English-language Wiktionary, a free-content multilingual dictionary, with etymologies, pronunciations, sample quotations, synonyms, antonyms and translations)
• Wordnik (beta: dictionary, thesaurus, word community -- examples, words in context, pronunciation)
• World Wide Words (Michael Quinion writes on international English from a British standpoint)
• World Wide Words' helpful links to other words sites
• Yiddish Dictionary Online



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THE PROCESS OF EDITING (AND BEING EDITED)



Advice for Writers: Preparing Your E-Manuscript (Subversive Copy Editor, 7-5-10)

Book Doctors: What They Do

Editing and proofreading marks:
• Copyediting and Proofreading Symbols (PDF, SUNY)
• Editing and Proofreading Marks (English Teachers' Friend)
• Proofreaders' Marks (University of Chicago Style Manual)
• Proofreaders' Marks (EEI)

Dear Writer: Reasons to Love and Fear Your Copyeditor (Sally Fisher Saller, the Subversive Copy Editor, in Prime Number)

Dictionaries, clarity, and the Supreme Court:
• Skip The Legalese And Keep It Short, Justices Say (Nina Totenberg, NPR's Morning Edition, 6-13-11, audio and transcript). Worth reading for the concluding anecdote alone.
• Justices Turning More Frequently to Dictionary, and Not Just for Big Words by Adam Liptak (NY Times 6-13-11).

Do editorial style guides matter in the digital world? (Edelweiss Arnold, The Publishing Training Centre, 2-23-12). Yes, for consistency. Advice here on what to include.

Editors on Editing: What Writers Need to Know About What Editors Do ed. Gerald Gross

Edit Yourself (Bruce Ross-Larson's brief manual, good for technocrats who need to learn to trim their own verbal flab and write briefly)

The Fine Art of Copyediting by Elsie Myers Stanton

The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time by Jeff Deck and Benjamin D. Herson

Levels of Edit, simplified (Clarity for Editing), by Justin Baker, STC

Line by Line: How to Edit Your Own Writing by Claire Kehrwald Cook (out of print, but you can buy used copies)

Panel talks about new roles for copy editors at Breakfast of Editing Champions (ACES discussion on how the copyeditor's role is changing. What are we now? Content editors (ugh). Reader advocates? Communicators? The people who make messages clear, online or off? We have to perform on multiple platforms.

Process diagrams (Chicago Style--diagrams for book publishing and journal publishing processes)

Significant Rule Changes in The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition. For example, Chicago now prefers web, website, web page with a lowercase w, but World Wide Web and Internet.

The Westing Game. A Web exhibit of the various manuscript drafts of Ellen Raskin's Newbery Medal-winning novel The Westing Game, plus sample pages from the page and jacket design process (thanks to Harold Underdown for this link!)

• What editors and copyeditors do (links to many excellent explanations, essays, and how-to articles)

More books for editors

More resources for editors

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RULES OF WRITING

FROM THE GUARDIAN

“You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality," writes Margaret Atwood in the Guardian's wonderful potpourri, Ten Rules For Writing Fiction. "This latter means: there's no free lunch. Writing is work. It's also gambling. You don't get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but ญessentially you're on your own. ญNobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don't whine."

Authors included in Part 1 of the Guardian Rules are Elmore Leonard, Diana Athill, Margaret Atwood, Roddy Doyle, Helen Dunmore, Geoff Dyer, Anne Enright, Richard Ford, Jonathan Franzen, Esther Freud, Neil Gaiman, David Hare, PD James, AL Kennedy

One of Roddy Doyle's rules: "Do give the work a name as quickly as possible. Own it, and see it. Dickens knew Bleak House was going to be called Bleak House before he started writing it. The rest must have been easy."

One of Elmore Leonard's: "Never use the words 'suddenly' or 'all hell broke loose.' This rule doesn't require an explanation. I have noticed that writers who use 'suddenly' tend to exercise less control in the application of exclamation points."

Authors included in Guardian Rules, Part 2 : Hilary Mantel, Michael Moorcock, Michael Morpurgo, Andrew Motion, Joyce Carol Oates, Annie Proulx, Philip Pullman, Ian Rankin, Will Self, Helen Simpson, Zadie Smith, Colm T๓ibํn, Rose Tremain, Sarah Waters, and Jeanette Winterson.

"Keep a light, hopeful heart," writes Joyce Carol Oates. "But ญexpect the worst."

In her blog entry, How to Break the Rules, Cameron McClure of the Donald Maass Literary Agency includes Kurt Vonnegut's 8 Rules of Writing and Elmore Leonard's rules, and gives examples of writers who have successfully broken some of the rules. McClure's blog, Book Cannibal, is about fiction.

William Safe's Delightful Rules for Writers

• Remember to never split an infinitive.
• The passive voice should never be used.
• Do not put statements in the negative form.
• Verbs have to agree with their subjects.
• Proofread carefully to see if you words out.
• If you reread your work, you can find on rereading agreat deal of repetition can be by rereading andediting.
• A writer must not shift your point of view.
• And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.(Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.)
• Don't overuse exclamation marks!!
• Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
• Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
• If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
• Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
• Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
• Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
• Always pick on the correct idiom.
• The adverb always follows the verb.
• Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; seek viable alternatives

For an entirely different approach to teaching better writing, check out two books that many nonfiction writing teachers swear by: Expectations: Teaching Writing from the Reader's Perspective and The Sense of Structure: Writing from the Reader's Perspective by George Gopen.

Forty-Six Writing Wrongs (Jerome Doolittle, Bad Attitudes--a list he used to hand out to his students at Harvard)

"The data are": How fetishism makes us stupid (Geoff Nunberg, Language Log, 1-1-13). What happens when you pedantically apply a grammar rule to "big data."

To Split or Not to Split Infinitives? (from the very helpful Get It Write site). Here are more tips and there is a searchable PDF book with the first fifty tips .

The true history of the split verb rule (Mark Liberman, Language Log, 12-23-12)

Would you correct this (for grammar)? "I don't think everyone should write like me." (Mark Liberman, Language Log, on "Write Like Me" 7-24-09)

[Go Top]

GRAMMAR AND STYLE WEBSITES, BLOGS, ARTICLES, QUIZZES, EXERCISES

ACES discussion board (American Copy Editors Society)

ACES interactive online quizzes, testing knowledge in many subject areas

After Deadline (excerpts from the weekly newsroom critique of usage errors, including overused phrases, in The New York Times)

AP vs. Chicago (a guide-and-blog comparing the two major style guides)

Arnold Zwicky’s blog (for a deeper look at language)

Ask the English Teacher (Crawford Kilian, and check his excellent links)

The best misplaced and dangling modifiers of all time , a sidebar in Twelve Common Errors, an editing checklist (good for self-teaching) from the University of Wisconsin Writing Center's Writer's Handbook

Book Mistakes, help authors and publishers catch their mistakes, and read which mistakes appeared in print

British and American English (the Queen's English Society on differences in British and American spelling, grammar, and vocabulary)

British and American Spelling (Oxford Dictionaries). There are also variations within British style--e.g., British style spelling (Oxford on -ize, -ise, or -yse?). And see Spelling Rules and Tips.

***Capital Community College's excellent Guide to Grammar and Writing. Here's the text only version of the front page.

CheckDog (automatically spellcheck your website)

Check Your Spelling

Colorado State University writing resources

Conjugate an English verb (Verbix)

Conjugate Visits (check out Copy Edits du Jour).Blog of June Casagrande, author of It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: A Writer's Guide to Crafting Killer Sentences

Copyediting's Tip of the Week, a freebie even nonsubscribers can use. Working with Absolute [Participial] Phrases by Erin Brenner is a particularly clear explanation of something editors should know and most writers don't get.

***Council of Science Editors’ excellent links for wordsmiths

Dangling Participles (beautifully explained by Mignon Fogarty, Grammar Girl)

Diagramming Practice (St. Albans School)

Do you have what it takes to join the Word Police? Barbara Wallraff (requires registering with Atlantic online)

Do you make these mistakes when you write? (Copyblogger)

Elements of Style (Strunk & White) (beware banner ads) and you may want to read this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education first: 50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice by Geoffrey K. Pullum (4-17-09 issue of Chronicle Review)

Englishforums.com (learn English with online help from volunteer teachers all over the world)

Everything Language and Grammar (Paul Yeager and Sherry Coven)
Five grammatical errors that make you look dumb, by Brian Clark (Copyblogger)

50 Coolest Online Tools for Word Nerds (Katheryn Rivas, Online Universities blog, 5-24-10). Check out their other X best lists.)

Free Interactive Grammar Quizzes, Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, which has a blog, too.

Economist Style Guide of the Week

50 Best Blogs for Grammar Geeks (Online University Reviews)

Fuzzmail (silly fun for the typo-aware)

Games to test your knowledge (for example, try “How well can you read a world map?”)

Get It Write (articles on English grammar and usage)

Grammar and Punctuation (explanations and a quiz-checklist, The Writer's Handbook, The Writing Center, University of Wisconsin at Madison)

Grammar Bytes! interactive grammar review (active learning exercises)

Grammar Hotline Directory (by state)


***Grammar Girl's Quick & Dirty Tricks for Better Writing (Mignon Fogarty)

Grammar Gang

**Grammarphobia (Stewart Kellerman's blog)

Grammar Police

Grammar Myths (Grammarphobia site, on grammar myths: Don't split an infinitive, Don't end a sentence with a preposition, Data as a plural now always takes a plural verb, None is always singular, Don't start a sentence with "and" or "but," Don't split the parts of a verb phrase (such as "has been"), Don't use "who" when the rules call for "whom," Never use a double negative, and Use "have got" and not "have gotten."

Grammar Revolution, learning English grammar the easy way. See especially, for example, Thomas Edison Quotes, Diagrammed

Grammar rules everyone should follow (Thomas Jones, The Guardian, 5-9-13). Following the inaugural Bad Grammar awards, Thomas Jones lists nine grammatical conventions that, depending on context, you may – sorry, might – as well adhere to

Grammar Slammer
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Grammatical terms, explained (Oxford Dictionaries Jargon Buster)

Grammar Theory and Practice (St. Albans School, punctuation, parts of speech, clauses, diagramming, verb tenses, practice exercises)

Guide to Grammar and Style (Jack Lynch--very handy!)

Hit Parade of Errors in Style, Grammar, and Punctuation (University of Toronto Health Sciences Writing Centre)

Index of Banned Words, the continually updated edition (Carl Zimmer, Discover, on clich้s to avoid in science writing)

Interactive Grammar and Writing Quizzes (CCC)

It's okay to split infinitives (Steven Pinker, "Oaf of Office," NY Times). "To boldly go where no one has gone before"

Language Corner (Columbia Journalism Review blog by Merrill Perlman, former manager of copy desks for NY Times; blogs worth reading) and if you like that, check out her page on Talk to the Newsroom (a feature in the Times--and then check out talks with editors in other sections of the paper)

Language Log (popular linguistics Weblog run by University of Pennsylvania phonetician Mark Liberman, with many guest linguists)

Language Log (archives of the blogs before April 8, 2008)

Learn English Today Free English resources and materials for ESL-EFL learners of all levels (including good idiom lists, A-Z and by theme)

Learning to Speak American (Tim Parks, NY Review of Books, 12-14-12). "...house style is a much more common occurrence in the US and more aggressively enforced, to the point that when one rereads work one has written for The New Yorker it no longer seems like your voice at all. I can think of no similar experience with English or European magazines, as I can remember no experience quite like my tussle over tense changes for the American edition of my book Medici Money. Not that good editing is not precious. One has been saved a thousand stupid mistakes and much ugly phrasing by good editors; it is the desire to fix style in an unchanging standard that is noxious."

Links for writers (Northwestern University)

Links to lists of grammar items for use by ESL/​EFL teachers (Pat Byrd, Georgia State University)

Madam Grammar (Lisa McLendon on Words, language, editing)

Mighty Red Pen (Grammar, word nerds, and the editorial way)

Most of What You Think You Know About Grammar Is Wrong ( Patricia T. O’Conner and Stewart Kellarman, Smithsonian, Feb. 2013). And ending sentences with a preposition is nothing worth worrying about.

The myth of English as a global language (Tom Shippey, Times Literary Supplement, an interesting essay/​review of two books). "Some say that there are only a few hundred deeply irregular words, but the trouble is that most of them are common." See also The History of English Spelling

Newsroom training (no train, no gain)

New York Times, Grammar and Usage page (a news aggregator)

Nonsexist language (U of Minnesota)

100 most commonly mispelled (oops misspelled) words in English (yourdictionary.com)

100 most often mispronounced words and phrases in English (yourdictionary.com)

The Online Dictionary of Language Terminology (ODLT) (concise explanations of the words English speakers use to discuss language -- e.g., accent grave, adverbial genitive, allophone, anapest)

Online English grammar (EduFind)

Online grammar tutorials (Englishpage.com)

Online spelling bee (Visual Thesaurus -- not easy!)

Online technical writing course (David A. McMurrey)

OWL Exercises (exercises to do on your own to improve your grammar, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure, sentence style, and number writing--plus when to paraphrase, not plagiarize!), from Purdue's excellent Online Writing Lab

OxfordWords blog (from the people at Oxford Dictionaries)

Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab), excellent on most aspects of style, grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Got an afternoon? Check out OWL's site map

Paradigm Online Writing Assistant (Chuck Guildford). Download printable PDF for $7.

Plainlanguage.gov

Poynteronline writing and editing tips

Prepositions: The super-handy and horribly confusing widgets of language (James Harbeck, The Week, 5-28-13). To, from, of, by: The little linguistic bits that we use to fit in gaps and hold things together or keep them apart. But it's all rather arbitrary. See for example Differences between British and American use of prepositions

Pronoun Case (CliffsNotes explanation of subjective, objective, and possessive "case")

Pronunciation links (Karen's ESL Partyland)

The Tongue Untied (guide to grammar, punctuation & style for journalists--turn the pages!)

Resources for ESL students (students for whom English is a second language)

Roane State OWL (another online writing lab)

Rogue's Gallery (Queen's English Society, and guess who's featured here)

Rules That Aren't (Bill Walsh, The Slot, for ACES 2005). Myths such as "Never split an infinitive" and "Never begin a sentence with a conjunction."

SchoolHouse Rock-type grammar lessons (set to music and animation, mostly YouTube videos):
• Conjunction Junction
• Grammar Rock: Verb
• Grammar Rock: Adjective
• Grammar Rock: Preposition
• Grammar Rock: Adverb
• SchoolHouse Rock: Grammar The Tale of Mr. Morton
• Schoolhouse Rock: Interjections

Self-study quizzes for students of ESL

Slip-ups archive (errors in books, bloopers in movies and on tv)

Spelling Bee (Visual Thesaurus, which says word aloud)

Spelling test (Mindy McAdams' test, using 50 commonly misspelled words)

Starting a sentence with a conjunction (and, but, etc.)

Style and Substance (monthly bulletin of Paul R. Martin, stylebook editor at the Wall Street Journal, with searchable archives)

Style guide for technical writing (Ronald B. Standler)

Ten Mistakes Writers Don't See But Can Easily Fix (Holt Uncensored)

Tips on writing and editing (Poynter)

Top 20 website for learning English as a second language (post on Urduworld.com)

Triangle grammar guide (Pam Nelson's blog on use and misuse of language)

Triangle Grammar Guide quizzes

24 rules of English grammar, (spelling, and punctuation): The rock-bottom basics for writers (Linda Aragoni, You Can Teach Writing)

UsingEnglish.com (Resources for English as a Second Language), incredibly useful site

Using verbs of attribution accurately and objectively (Douglas Perret Starr, Copyediting, on when to use which variations on "he said")

The Vocabula Review (TVR, striving to combat the degradation of our language); check out listings for TVR's essay archives (for paid subscribers only)

A Way with Words (NPR's lively program about language, with Martha Barnett and Grant Barrett

Word Count (Visual Thesaurus column, Writers Talk About Writing)

Word Frequency Counter and Phrase Frequency Counter (WriteWords)

You Don't Say John McIntyre's blog on language and the craft of editing, his new site now that he's departed the Baltimore Sun, on whose site you can still find his old entries: You Don't Say — Language and Usage Blog



[Go Top]
MASTERING COMMA ABUSE AND OTHER PUNCTUATION PROBLEMS
"I'm exhausted.
I spent all morning putting in a comma and all afternoon taking it out."
~ Oscar Wilde


Where punctuation matters:
A woman, without her man, is nothing.
A woman: without her, man is nothing.


Acronyms and initialisms
• Acronym and initialism. From an informative Wikipedia entry: "...The New York Times’ guide recommends following each segment with a period when the letters are pronounced individually, as in K.G.B., but not when pronounced as a word, as in NATO. The logic of this style is that the pronunciation is reflected graphically by the punctuation scheme."
• Because It’s Korrect Taddle Creek, On initialisms and acronyms
• Acronym (helpful Wikipedia entry, with initialism discussed briefly under "Nomenclature")

Apostrophes
• Apostrophe Index (Quintessential Stuff)
• Apostrophe abuse (visual examples)
• “Apostrophes ’n’ Quote Marks” (Taddle Creek)
• Apostrophe Catastrophes: The Worlds' Worst. Punctuation;
• Association for the Abolition of the Aberrant Apostrophe. Read Richard Littlejohn's tribute to Keith Waterhouse , the legend of Fleet Street, then scroll down and read read a reprint of the classic column in which, more than 20 years ago, he launched the Association for the Abolition of the Aberrant Apostrophe.
• The Dreaded Apostrophe (where you can download a PDF file of this tutorial)
• Grammar Girl on Apostrophe Usage (especially for terms such as homeowners association, farmers market, teachers strike, writers center)
• How to Use an Apostrophe (Oatmeal's delicious decision chart)
• It's vs. its (Gary D. Shapiro, "changing the world one apostrophe at a time")
• Possessive apostrophes (Michael Quinion, World Wide Words)
• Problems with Apostrophes and other English language issues (Paul Doherty)
• Sharon Colon's Erring Apostrophe Picture Gallery (images of signs that drive the grammar police crazy: Sign's of the Time's, sausage sandwich's, tattoo's, jet ski's, entertainment at it's best, up-do's, water taxi's, and the like)
• Taming the Apostrophe (Write101.com)
• Smart Quotes (Ilene Strizver, Fonts.com, on smart and dumb quotation marks and their parallel, smart and dumb apostrophes -- that is, straight vs. curly or slanted)
• Apostrophes in Place Names Are Practically Against the Law , published as "Theres a Question Mark Hanging Over the Apostrophes Future." (Barry Newman, WSJ, 5-16-13). The U.S. Board on Geographic Names has a policy against possessive apostrophes in place names, because the apostrophe quote implies private ownership of a public space. Martha Brockenbrough, the founder of National Grammar Day and the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar, says "When it comes to the history of how things are named, when you take out the apostrophe, you strip away a bit of its history." (How Possessive: The Apostrophe's Place In Space (talking with host Rachel Martin, NPR Weekend Edition, 5-19-13) "Its Practically Against the Law to Use the Mark in a Places Name; Sorry, Pikes Peak."

British versus American punctuation:
• British versus American Style (The Punctuation Guide)
• Punctuating Around Quotation Marks (Quizzical, American Psychological Association blog, 8-11-11)
• Correct punctuation, British style
• Oxford English says goodbye to 16,000 hyphens (Reuters, IBN Live, 9-22-07, but American style was never "ice-cream" or "Bumble-bee" anyway)
• 'The British style'? 'The American way?' They are not so different (David Marsh, The Guardian, 5-19-11
• The Rise of "Logical Punctuation". The period outside the quotation marks is not a copy error. (Ben Yagoda, Slate, 5-12-11)
• Lickety splits: two nations divided by a common language. Are there too many 'Americanisms' in the Guardian? (David Marsh, Guardian, 11-26-10) Notice all the comments? This (albeit not about punctuation) is a hot topic!

Capitalization
• A Little Help with Capitals (OWL, the excellent Purdue Online Writing Lab)
• Capitalization (Colorado style)
• Capitalizing Titles (test yourself in this column by Pat McNees, APH newsletter) "To Be or Not to Be"
• Automatically Capitalize Your Title (this is a handy but not foolproof tool -- it came up with Checking My Mother-in-Law's by-Laws, but otherwise does a pretty good job!)
• Quiz Bowl: To Capitalize or Not to Capitalize (AMA Style Insider 10-7-11). Which letters would you capitalize in this sample title: "tolcapone in patients with parkinson disease: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial"
• Capitalization (Dr. Abel Scribe's Guide to Chicago Style Research Papers--but of course you will HAVE the The Chicago Manual of Style
• Capitalization in Academia (Capitalization, University of Texas at Austin -- Is she a Physics Professor, a Physics professor, a physics Professor, or a physics professor?
• To Be Or Not To Be In Capitals: That Is The Question (Intelligent Editing). The rule is NOT "Capitalize all the big words." One of the most annoying common errors I find in titles is "be" and "is" and "am" in lower case. All forms of the verb "to be" should be capitalized in titles!
• Grammar Is Not Dead (Taddle Creek). Should "god" be capitalized, if you don't believe there is such a thing?

Commas, including serial commas
Arguments can be made for and against the serial comma, as these two popular examples illustrate (see the possibilities for confusion in each):
“I'd like to thank my father, the Pope, and Mother Theresa”
“I'd like to thank my parents, Jesus and Mother Theresa.”
• To comma or not to comma (OWL)
• That, which, and commas (test yourself on setting off nonrestrictive phrases, Pat McNees's column for APH newsletter)
• The Most Comma Mistakes (Ben Yagoda, Opinionator, NY Times, 5-21-12). An excellent survey and explanation of the comma mistakes I find most often when editing even good writers. See also Fanfare for the Comma Man (4-9-12).
• Cartoon about the Oxford comma (Imgur's excellent illustration)
• The case for and against the Oxford comma (Warren Clements, 'Word Play,' Globe & Mail 7-18-11, with 118 comments on that date).
• CommaRules (Alisa Miller's excellent comma tweets)
• Commas, Turning Up, Everywhere (The Onion, newsbrief)
• Going, Going, And Gone?: No, The Oxford Comma Is Safe ... For Now (Linda Holmes, NPR, 6-30-11).
• The Comma (Brazilian Press Association spot: "This one, Judge, is corrupt")
• The Comma That Costs 1 Million Dollars (Canadian) (Ian Austen, NY Times, 10-25-06)
• A Comma You Should Cull (Marcus Trower's Be Your Own Copy Editor series #4), which he wrote a follow-up entry for: ‘Be Your Own Copy Editor’ Post Changes Course of Publishing History . about taking out commas before final conjunctions in compound predicates. (This may be more than some of you want to know.)
• CommaRules (via Twitter, for short-form learners)
• The Oxford Comma Debate (TedEd, animated cartoon, explains both sides of the argument about whether to use the serial comma)

Dashes, em dashes, ellipses, colons, slashes, and commas
• Mad Dash (Ben Yagoda, Opinionator, NY Times 10-22-12)
• Getting to Know the Em Dash (Dictionary.com, 4-28-14) Google Books treats hyphens, en dashes, and em dashes as the same character, translating them all into “–”. but Google Books is wrong!
• What the ... (Matthew J.X. Malady, Slate) Why everyone and your mother started using ellipses ... everywhere.
• Dashes, Colons, and Commas (Grammar Girl, Mignon Fogarty, 4-19-12)
• Em Dashes and Ellipses: Closed or Spaced Out? (AP vs. Chicago, 5-10-11)
• Mind Your En And Em Dashes: Typographic Etiquette (David Kadavy, Smashing, 8-15-11). A must-read on typographic etiquette, for designers and editors.
• Ode to the En Dash (Conan Tobias, editor, Taddle Creek)
• Discretionary Hyphens , invisible unless needed (Ilene Strizver, Fonts.com)
• The Relentless Rise of the Dot Dot Dot (Marcus Trower, copyeditor for fiction authors, Be Your Own Copy Editor series #7, 2-27-13)
• Slash: Not Just a Punctuation Mark Anymore (Anne Curzan, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 4-24-13)

Editing and proofreading marks (believe me, many of these will be to fix misplaced commas, apostrophes, and other punctuation marks)
• Copyediting and Proofreading Symbols (PDF, SUNY)
• Editing and Proofreading Marks (English Teachers' Friend)
• Proofreaders' Marks (University of Chicago Style Manual)
• Proofreaders' Marks (EEI)

Exclamation points
• The point of exclamation (Ben Yagoda, Opinionator, NY Times, 8-6-12).
• Excessive Exclamation!! (chronicling the excessive and unnecessary use of this punctuation mark in everyday life)
• Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle (Elmore Leonard, NY Times, 7-16-01)

Quotation marks and italics
• Smart Quotes (Ilene Strizver, Fonts.com, on those irritating straight quotation marks ("dumb quotes") that editors spend so much time changing to "smart" quotes, aka "curly" or slanted quotes)
• Gallery of Unnecessary Quotation Marks
• The "blog" of "unnecessary" quotation marks (misinterpreting bad punctuation since 2005)
• Game Over (on italicizing, or not italicizing, the titles of video games, or games generally)
• Punctuating Titles: When to Use Italics, Underlining, and "Quotation Marks" (handout on MLA style)
• Titles of Works (useful chart, The Punctuation Guide)

Umlaut and diaeresis
• The Diaeresis Divide (Conan Tobias, Taddle Creek) What's the deal with the New Yorker’s umlaut?
• The Curse of the Diaeresis (Mary Norris, The New Yorker, 4-26-12) "The special tool we use here at The New Yorker for punching out the two dots that we then center carefully over the second vowel in such words as “na๏ve” and “Laoco๖n” will be getting a workout this year, as the Democrats co๖perate to re๋lect the President." The New Yorker's umlaut is actually a diaeresis. Umlauts indicate a sound shift in German, explains this Wikipedia entry.

Punctuation generally
• McSweeey's Field Guide to Common Punctuation (Peter Kispert's humorous take on common punctuation errors--for example: "The most common of the genus ellipses, the Actual Ellipsis (AE) [not to be confused with “..,” the Moron’s Ellipses (ME)] finds regular use in correspondence meant to suggest a sense of impending doom, especially with regard to tasks that require urgent completion."
• The Period Is Pissed When did our plainest punctuation mark become so aggressive? (Ben Crair, New Republic, 11-25-13) A good discussion of irony and of this book:
• Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, and Other Typographical Marks by Keith Houston. Here are excerpts:
---Irony & Sarcasm marks, part 1 of 3 (9-4-11)
---Irony & Sarcasm marks, part 2 of 3 (9-18-11)
---Irony & Sarcasm marks, part 3 of 3 (10-9-11)
• Punctuation is dead because we're tweeting like teenagers (Jess Zimmerman, Daily Dot, 11-25-13) And a few words on Uptalk and sounding cool.
•
A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation by Noah Lukeman
• The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time by Jeff Deck and Benjamin D. Herson (a book I found disappointing)
• 8 symbols that we turned into words (Arika Okrent, The Week, 5-3-13). Slash, heart, hashtag, dot dot dot, period, quote-unquote, blankety blank, Z's.
• Is This the Future of Punctuation!? (Henry Hitchings, author of The Language Wars: A History of Proper English, WSJ, 10-22-11). On the misuse of apostrophe's (did your eye just twitch?) and our increasingly rhetorical language. "Graphic designers, who favor an uncluttered aesthetic, dislike hyphens. They are also partly responsible for the disappearance of the apostrophe....Defenders of the apostrophe insist that it minimizes ambiguity, but there are few situations in which its omission can lead to real misunderstanding. The apostrophe is mainly a device for the eye, not the ear. And while I plan to keep handling apostrophes in accordance with the principles I was shown as a child, I am confident that they will either disappear or be reduced to little baubles of orthographic bling."
• Punctuated Equilibrium (John McIntyre’s excellent synthesis of the most common punctuation problems)
• Punctuation (overview, OWL, Purdue Online Writing Lab)
• Punctuation Games
• Punctuation Made Simple (Gary A. Olsen)
• Seven Punctuation Errors That Make You Look Stupid, Bill Walsh's Blogslot
• Punctuating Titles: When to Use
Italics, Underlining, and "Quotation Marks"
(handout on MLA style)
• 76 Online Opportunities to Build Your Punctuation Skills (Writing Matters blog provides links to Purdue University's Online Writing Lab's exercises and quizzes on specific punctuation practices)
• The Rise of "Logical Punctuation". (Ben Yagoda, Slate, 3-12-11). "For at least two centuries, it has been standard practice in the United States to place commas and periods inside of quotation marks....But in copy-editor-free zones—the Web and emails, student papers, business memos—with increasing frequency, commas and periods find themselves on the outside of quotation marks, looking in. "
• The Tongue Untied (guide to grammar, punctuation & style for journalists--turn the pages!)
• The Alot Is Better Than You at Everything (Hyperbole and a Half)

"Punctuation to the writer is like anatomy to the artist...." ~ Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves, quoting Thomas J. McCormack


The Importance of Punctuation
Dear John, (version 1)

I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy - will you let me be yours?
Gloria

Dear John, (version 2)
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we're apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?
Yours,
Gloria

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Hyphenating compounds and other common usage problems


• To Hyphenate or Not-to-Hyphenate (Pat McNees, a quiz-based survey of appropriate hyphenation, Grammar Corner, APH)
• Hyphens and compound words (U of Minnesota style guide)
• Chicago Manual of Style hyphenation table
• Dealing with Compounds, Part 1 (permanent compounds, Erin Brenner, Copyediting, 4-17-12)
• Compounds Ending with a Preposition or Adverb: Open, Hyphenated, or Solid? (handy chart, comparing AP vs. Chicago style, 4-5-12)
• Dealing with Compounds, Part 2 (temporary compounds, Erin Brenner, Copyediting, 4-24-12)
• Compound Words (CCCF Guide to Grammar and Writing). Explains three forms: the closed form (firefly, childlike), the hyphenated form (daughter-in-law, master-at-arms), and the open form (post office, real estate, middle class).

• Numbers: Spell Out or Use Numerals? (Number Style 101) (AP vs. Chicago, 5-18-11)
• Split Infinitives (Grammar Girl, Mignon Fogarty, 8-20-10)
• State Abbreviations: Use Traditional or Go Postal? (AP vs. Chicago, 5-1-11)
• Titles: Quote Marks, Italics, Underlining, or Naked? (AP vs. Chicago, 4-18-11)
• Top Ten Grammar Myths (Grammar Girl, Mignon Fogarty, 3-4-12)
• Who Versus Whom (Grammar Girl, Mignon Fogarty, 3-9-07)

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THE RIGHT (AND WRONG) WORDS — CONFUSABLES, MIXED-UP HOMONYMS AND HOMOPHONES, AND OTHER ERROR SPOTS IN DICTION

Affixes, the building blocks of English (Michael Quinion's World Wide Words on everything from ab- (off, away, or from) to zygo- (joining or pairing) to zym(o)- (enzymes or fermentation).

Alan Cooper's Homonym List (except those are really "homophones")

A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg
(with pronunciation!)

Ten Words You Need to Stop Misspelling (an Oatmeal diagram)

Banished words list (clich้s banished for misuse, overuse, and general uselessness)

British Isles naming dispute(s) (Wikipedia)

Boston.com word columnists Jan Freeman and Erin McKean

Treat The English Language Well. Everyday. "Red Cap" Herschel Weiner takes on Coca Cola's misuse of a word in its Dasani commercial.

**Common Errors in English Usage (Paul Brians). If you're just learning to edit (or write properly), start here. Here are the words most often misused, also available as a text-only version of Paul Brians' site, useful if you want to read Brians' explanations as a book. See also Paul Brians' blog entries. (Brians, who has retired from teaching at Washington State University, prefers the possessive form Brians' to Brians's.)

Grammarist (lots of useful entries on confusable and misused words, including Easily confused words and Varieties of English (e.gl, glamour vs. glamor, percent vs. per cent, Crayfish, crawfish, crawdad, etc.

Commonly confused words (AskOxford.com)

Common stumbling blocks for authors, from A to X (Benjamin Dreyer, VP Executive Managing Editor & Copy Chief of Random House Publishing Group, on Bioibgraphile's Good Prose Month, 1-10-13)

Confessions of a Word Snob (Alex Beam, Opinion, NY Times, 4-29-13).

Confusing Words (3,000 of them)

Don’t Use “Pants” for “Pantaloons”: 19 Surprising Rules Copyeditors Used to Enforce (Arika Okrent, Mental Floss).

Down with Provided That (attention: lawyers)

Easily Confused or Misused Words (Infoplease)

50 of Your Favourite Words (for sesquipedalians) (BBC Magazine)

Fun with Words

Grammatically Speaking: Have You Got a Grasp of Grammar?. Handy grammar quiz hosted by Staples. Great promotion idea.

Homophones (Cuesta College's excellent site)

Irregular Plurals (English Zone)

It's vs. its (Gary D. Shapiro, "changing the world one apostrophe at a time")

Language corner (Columbia Journalism Review)

Language identifiers (when you don't know which language a word comes from)

Language Log, for linguists and language buffs

Medlinguistics' Medlingtweets (excellent distinctions and fine points)

Misused Words (blog category on DailyWritingTips)

Notorious Confusables (on CCC's very practical learning site)

One Word or Two? (Erin Brenner, Copyediting, on a lot/​alot, all ready/​already, all together/​altogether, all ways/​always, anyone/​any one, a while/​awhile, every day/​everyday, may be/​maybe, some day, someday, straight forward/​straightforward, under way/​underway, up on/​upon

Spelling, Vocabulary, and Confusing Words (Grammarbook.com, a site with many free or subscription quizzes)

The Story of Ain't: America, Its Language, and the Most Controversial Dictionary Ever Published by David Skinner. James Kelly's review in the Wall Street Journal You Say Prescriptive, I Say Proper talks about how Webster's Third dictionary sparked a national debate about which words were acceptable and which were "illiterate." Many word people still mourn the lost of Webster's II, which let you know which choices were preferable!

Towards a Fuller Understanding of Usage (Jonathon Owen, Visual Thesaurus, 3-19-13). Which do you use: toward or towards? Is "towards" British English or American English? Owen may give editors pause.

Use the (Right, Rite, Wright, Write) Word (Pat McNees, Grammar Corner, APH). Spellcheckers reveal many errors, but they fail to detect wrong words that sound almost right. Circle the incorrect words.

Visual thesaurus

The Vocabula Review ($)

Washington Post’s Outlook section avoids these words and phrases (Jim Romenesko, 3-20-13).

What’s in a name? In Myanmar – or Burma – it’s political (Emily Alpert, Los Angeles Times, 7-3-12)

The Word Detective (Evan Morris answers readers' questions about words and language)

Word Traps

WordReference forums (translation)

Wordsmith.org (the magic of words)

World Wide Words (Brit Michael Quinian on international English) -- a site to linger upon (in? on?), with such features as amusing verse illustrating that English is difficult and WWW's e-magazine,which features words in the news, weird words, new(ish) words, old words, words people ask questions about, and even the occasional grovelling correction.

The Wrong Word Dictionary: 2,000 Most Commonly Confused Words by Dave Dowling

Writing Tools, the musical (Roy Peter Clark, Poynter)

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FOR EDITORS, MAINLY

After Deadline, public version of the NY Times in-house critique

Assignment Editor (home page, with links, for newsroom)

Bechtel, The Editor's Desk (blog)

Bob Baker's Newsthinking

Books for Editors and Publishing Professionals (followed by books on design and on indexing)

A Capital Idea (a newspaper copyeditor's blog)

Copy Editing Resources (American Press Institute, excellent links)

Copyediting (a newsletter and job board, pricey but good) and Tip of the Week (the free new Copyediting blog)

Copyediting-L (CELery listserv, subscribe, free, excellent for getting the opinions of others on editing quandaries). Started by Beth Goelzer Lyons and Carol Roberts, it numbers 2000+ members (many of whom merely lurk). See also The CELery on Facebook.


Copyeditors' Knowledge Base (KOK Edit, Katharine O'Moore-Klopf)

Courses on Book Publishing, Editing, and Proofreading

Editors' Association of Earth (a Facebook group)

Essential grammar identification: Errors lists pinpoint must-teach rules (Linda Aragoni, You Can Teach Writing)

Grammar and Usage (New York Times) articles)

Grammar Monkeys (Wichita Eagle, language tips from the copy desk) and @​grammarmoneys

Headsup: The Blog

Language Log

Online spelling bee (Visual Thesaurus)

Organizations and resources for editors

Phrase Frequency Counter for Writers (WriteWords)

Regret the Error reports on media corrections, retractions, apologies, clarifications and trends regarding accuracy and honesty in the press

Resources and tips for editors and publishing professionals

The Slot (Bill Walsh, Washington Post)

SPOGG (The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar)

Style and Substance (monthly bulletin of Paul R. Martin, stylebook editor at the Wall Street Journal)

What Business People Think About Grammar and Usage (Maxine C. Hairston, adapted from Successful Writing by Maxine Hairston and Michael Keene)



Humor for editors


The Purist


I give you now Professor Twist,
A conscientious scientist.
Trustees exclaimed, "He never bungles!"
And sent him off to distant jungles.
Camped on a tropic riverside,
One day he missed his loving bride.
She had, the guide informed him later,
Been eaten by an alligator.
Professor Twist could not but smile.
"You mean," he said, "a crocodile."
~ Ogden Nash


Online editing humor:
• The Alot is Better Than You at Everything (Hyperbole and a Half)
• Weird Al Yankovich on Word Crimes (YouTube video, part musical parody, part put-down of people who don't talk right)
• A Diagrammatical Dissertation on Opening Lines of Notable Novels (poster from Pop Chart Labs). Easier to see here: Famous Novels' First Sentences, Mapped /a> [Infographic] Coin Lecher, Popular Science 2-24-14

If You Can Raed Tihs, You Msut Be Raelly Smrat (Snopes.com) Matt Davis of Cambridge University's Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, explains the real origin of the following letter-transposition example:
Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Owed to My Spell Checker

I have a spelling checker.
It came with my PC.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks aye can knot sea.

Eye ran this poem threw it,
Your sure reel glad two no.
Its vary polished in it's weigh,
My checker tolled me sew.

A checker is a bless sing,
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me right awl stiles two reed,
And aides me when aye rime.

Each frays come posed up on my screen
Eye trussed to bee a joule
The checker poured o'er every word
To cheque sum spelling rule.

Be fore a veiling checkers
Hour spelling mite decline,
And if were lacks or have a laps,
We wood be maid to wine.

Butt now bee cause my spelling
Is checked with such grate flare,
Their are know faults within my cite,
Of none eye am a wear.

Now spelling does knot phase me,
It does knot bring a tier.
My pay purrs awl due glad den
With wrapped words fare as hear.

To rite with care is quite a feet
Of witch won should be proud.
And wee mussed dew the best wee can,
Sew flaws are knot aloud.

Sow ewe can sea why aye dew prays
Such soft ware for pea seas,
And why I brake in two averse
When righting what eye pleas.

(Author Unknown)
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Websites, organizations, and other resources

A GREAT READ
Blog roll, too
and communities of book lovers
Best reads and most "discussable"
Fact-finding, fact-checking, conversion tables, and news and info resources
Recommended reading
long-form journalism, e-singles, online aggregators
BOOK AND MAGAZINE PUBLISHING
New, used, and rare books, Amazon.com and elsewhere
Blogs, social media, podcasts, ezines, survey tools and online games
How much to charge and so on (for creative entrepreneurs)
And finding freelance gigs
Blogs, video promotion, intelligent radio programs
See also Self-Publishing
Indie publishing, digital publishing, POD, how-to sources
Includes original text by Sarah Wernick
WRITERS AND CREATORS
Multimedia, cartoons, maps, charts and so on
Plus contests, other sources of funds for creators
Copywriting, speechwriting, marketing, training, and writing for government
Literary and commercial (including genre)
Writing, reporting, multimedia, equipment, software
Translators, indexers, designers, photographers, artists, illustrators, animators, cartoonists, image professionals, composers
including academic writing
Groups for writers who specialize in animals, children's books, food, gardens, family history, resumes, sports, travel, Webwriting, and wine (etc.)
Writers on offices, standing desks, rejection, procrastination, and other features of the writing life
ETHICS, RIGHTS, AND OTHER ISSUES
Contracts, reversion of rights, Google Books settlement
Plus privacy, plagiarism, libel, media watchdogs, FOIA, protection for whistleblowers
EDITORS AND EDITING
And views on the author-editor relationship