Tag s | Grammar

A Typo Hear, a Typo Their – Typo, Typo, Everywhere

Is it just me or am I starting to find typos more frequently than ever before? I’m not a copy-editor or a proofreader, so I don’t go looking for them. Unfortunately they find me.

My wife finds them regularly in the sports section of our daily newspaper (The Arizona Republic owned by the same people who own USA Today). It is embarrassing. I suspect budget cuts eliminated an extra set of eyes before going to press.

Last week I found one on someone’s business card…in their email address. (It changed the spelling of their name from a female name to a masculine name!)

I get it. “Fat Finger” typing on your phone, in concert with the nefarious “auto-complete” can make for some very odd emails or texts.

But what about your book proposal? I received one the other day that said, “I going to use this in a blob.”  Another proposal pitched a book titled “8 Secrete Ways to Unleash….”

I’m glad those two weren’t for the same book. I don’t even want to think about a secreted blob… Especially eight of them.

A Couple Tips

Don’t be in a hurry. If it takes a few extra days to make sure everything is correct, it’s okay.

Read your work out loud. Even better, have someone else read it out loud to you.

Consider hiring a professional. In The Christian Writers Market Guide there are 70 pages of freelance editors who want to serve you.

Relax

Typos are part and parcel of the publishing experience. Recently one of our clients found 31 typos in her published book. After her multiple readings, after the substantive edit, after the copy edit, and after the proofreader. It happens. What we don’t know is how many they caught!

We have another client who found over 150 errors in her Advance Reader Copy (ARC). Apparently the editor pulled the wrong file to send to the typesetter and that version was printed and sent out to reviewers. Fortunately all were caught before the final edition went to press.

If we see them in your proposal we do tend to look past it. It is a “red” check mark in the mind, but we can be a forgiving lot. (See Tamela’s post on typos here) But it is better if we don’t find them.

If you are an indie author and typos are found you know you can update your ebook file fairly quickly. The print edition can be fixed as well. If you use print-on-demand uploading the new file will fix it all immediately. If you have remaining inventory, you have to decide if the typo(s) are egregious enough to mulch that inventory or try and sell them first before reprinting. I know of a major publisher that destroyed and reprinted an entire print run when a typo was found in the title, on the spine of the printed book.

 

 

 

 

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Tools to Tackle Grammar Gaffes

Oh my. We all have our peccadillos when it comes to English, don’t we? If I addressed them all, we’d be here til next year. So I’ll just give you the cheats…uh, tips I use most often. —Don’t be afraid of me. Poor ol’ me has been sorely maligned, as …

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When Trying to Sound Intelligent Backfires

So, I’m at a writers’ conference—a professional setting, yes? With folks who are clearly well educated, especially about the use of words, yes?–and this is what I hear: “Just give Jim and I a call, and we’ll talk it over.” Cringe. Then came a recent commercial on TV, where a …

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Misused Words and Phrases

 

The English language is full of persnickety quirks, the most despicable of which are buzz words. Words and phrases we’ve decided work better than plain speech. Why say what you mean when you can just toss out a phrase that says what you want, but in such a vague and convoluted manner than people spend so much energy figuring it out that they can’t challenge you? Genius! Or how about those words we overuse, or misuse? Oy, da pain!

So here, for your reading pleasure, are some of the words and phrases that drive this logophile right up the wall. Literally!

Can you unpack that for me?

Nope. I can’t. Literally. What’s more, I don’t want to. I don’t like packing or unpacking. And what does packing have to do with anything? Whatever happened to the plain and simple, “Would you explain that, please?”

Repurposed

Folks, we all know what this means. Fired. Laid off. Out of a job. You can’t take away the devastation by giving it some innocuous name and hoping nobody challenges you on it.

Baby bump

Seriously? It’s not a bump. It’s a baby. Way better than a bump.

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What’s On Your Desk? (Part Two)

Last week I told you about my writing books, those valued, printed friends who’ve gone through this writing/editing/agenting journey with me. This week, I want to introduce you to some buddies that are too often ignored. Or avoided. Or cursed.

Yes, my friends, I’m talking about grammar books.

I, too, am less than delighted with grammar. However, I’m delighted by the following books that are a wonderful—and fun!—resource for those of us who work with words. So, without further ado…

Of course, The Elements of Style by Strunk and White is front and center. I have the little book with a white and red cover, but in ’05 I received a wonderful gift from writer/editor Erin Healy: The Elements of Style, Illustrated. It’s a beautiful clothbound version of EoS, with lovely, four-color illustrations that bring the examples to life. I love it!

Then there are the style and grammar books by

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It’s National Punctuation Day

Today is National Punctuation Day! In celebration, take out a comma.

Or at least visit the official site: www.nationalpunctuationday.com.

Recently I walked into a church classroom to find a list of the 10 Commandments on the board. The first line read “No other God’s.”
Sigh.

If you want to read a fun book on grammar and punctuation I can recommend Mignon Fogarty’s Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing.

So while you take a moment to appreciate the need for precise punctuation enjoy this delightful five minute repartee between Dean Martin and Victor Borge singing with Phonetic Punctuation.

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Spell Checking

Shortly after I became a book editor, I was working on a nonfiction manuscript that focused on Mormonism. When I finished editing, I ran the spell check. Imagine my reaction when the dear spell check wanted to replace every Mormon with moron and Mormonism with Moronism!

Since those long ago days, spell check has invaded countless emails, files, and text messages. As much as we appreciate it catching our errors, we curse it for “fixing” words that didn’t need fixing. So when I came across recently, I knew I wanted to share it with you.

So here, for your reading pleasure:

ODE TO MY SPELL CHECKER

Eye halve a spelling chequer

It cam with my pea sea

It plainly marques four my revue

Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word

And weight four it two say

Weather eye am wrong oar write

It shows me strait a weigh.

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To Comma or Not to Comma?

by Steve Laube

I came across this entry in the Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynn Truss. The book is a classic on punctuation (although based on British English usage it is still a great book). Read the story below and then answer the questions in the comment section.

On his deathbed in April 1991, Graham Green corrected and signed a typed document which restricts access to his papers at Georgetown University. Or does it? The document, before correction, stated: “I, Graham Greene, grant permission to Norman Sherry, my authorised biographer, excluding any other to quote from my copyright material published or unpublished.” Being a chap who had corrected proofs all his life, Greene automatically aded a comma after “excluding any other” and died the next day without explaining what he meant by it. A great ambiguity was thereby created. Are all other researchers excluded from quoting the material? Or only other biographers?

Which do you think he meant?

What other ambiguities with commas have you seen or written with your own hand?

Why should it matter? It is just punctuation.

Is punctuation important in book contracts?

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