Editorializing

A Monthly Meditation on Branding and Language
From Your Favorite Copy Shop, Editorial Emergency

#59 (June 2012): Modification Consternation

Well, we're back. Sorry about the disappearing act, but we had to put new batteries in our website. Thanks to those of you who stayed in touch via our Facebook page (kindly like us there if you haven't already). In this issue we cut loose the dangling participle; raise a shot to some brand new honky-tonk; and visit a Not Our Clients in intensive care.

Flash Card: Please Refrain From Dangling

"The voice of a generation, Dylan's albums hit the airwaves at a time when protest songs could actually influence the national discourse."

I was confronted by this sentence when I sat down to take a copyediting test that would determine whether or not I got a job as an assistant editor on a biographical reference series.

I understood that it was Dylan himself who was the voice of a generation, not his albums (though the distinction is subtle as Dylan's albums had everything to do with establishing that voice). So I changed the subject of the sentence from "Dylan's albums" to "Dylan" to make it work. (I got the job.) Which brings us to the dreaded "dangling modifier."

 

 

Read the rest here.

Round and Shiny: Andy Vaughan Finds the Song

My favorite happy accidents have been musical ones. During our epic Civil War field trip last year (yep, we're nerds), we were wandering through Richmond, Va., when a band flyer caught my eye. A be-Stetsoned dude was hoisting a double-necked guitar in the photo. That was enough for me.

So to our otherwise airtight itinerary was added an impromptu visit to a down-home nightspot called the Camel. The headliner featured on the flyer turned out to be from Van Nuys. But opening act Andy Vaughan & the Driveline was the honky-tonkin' pride of Richmond.

The party vibe of the Camel was fully percolating by the time Andy and the boys hit the stage. The liquor flowed, the pedal-steel wailed and by the end of the Driveline's set, we were fans.


Read the rest here.

Not Our Clients: Chamber of Horrors Edition

It's bad enough when an egregious mistake screws up a quotidian announcement, sign or story, evoking giggles instead of, say, the impulse to buy. But when such an error intrudes on a tragic tale, it's simply appalling.



It's a serious story; there's no need for hyperbole.
(Thanks to Esther Dyson for making sure we had one in the chamber.)

That should read "hyperbaric," of course. Spell-check likely Cupertino'd this ghastly humor — and nobody noticed.  At the risk of appearing hyperbolic, that's an outrage. For other copy casualties, drive up to the Not Our Clients urgent-care unit.

Have you seen an item that left you breathless (in a bad way)? This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . If we transfer it to our textual ICU, we'll send you an Amazon.com gift card, redeemable for a copy of The Oxygen Revolution: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy; the download of a relevant ER episode; or an installment toward the massive hardcover Hyperbole in English: A Corpus-Based Study of Exaggeration.

 


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