Editing “Mallard Fillmore”

The News & Observer publishes "Mallard Fillmore" on its comics pages each weekday and on Saturday. The politically oriented strip has been the subject of debate among readers, with many stating that it should be on the editorial pages along with "Doonesbury," not in the features section. I won't step into that broader discussion. I… Continue reading Editing “Mallard Fillmore”

Q&A with Grammar Hulk

Grammar Hulk is one of several Hulks on Twitter. In this interview, conducted by e-mail, Grammar Hulk discusses Hulk's approach to writing and editing. Q. Why is Grammar Hulk on Twitter? What do you hope to achieve? A. TWITTER WELL SUITED TO HULKISMS. MANY PEOPLE LEAVE OUT WORDS ON TWITTER, JUST LIKE HULK. ON INTERNET,… Continue reading Q&A with Grammar Hulk

What I edit and what I don’t

This Tweet from Overheard in the Newsroom made me smile and cringe at the same. I smiled because it's funny. I cringed because it feeds into a stereotype about copy editors. I don't edit e-mails from my friends, family and students. I don't edit status updates on Facebook. I don't edit Tweets. I don't edit… Continue reading What I edit and what I don’t

Remembering William Safire

William Safire, former Nixon speechwriter and New York Times columnist, has died. He was 79. Safire was famous for many achievements, winning a Pulitzer Prize for commentary for columns critical of the Carter administration. He wrote numerous books, including several about writing. Editors and writers remember him as the author of the On Language column… Continue reading Remembering William Safire

None of us understands this word — or understand it

A front-page story in The New York Times on Sunday included this sentence: Somehow, none of the Marines were hit in the secondary ambush. I got stuck on "none." I expected "was" to follow, as in "not one Marine was hit." Whether "none" is followed with a singular or plural verb is a matter of… Continue reading None of us understands this word — or understand it

The new stylebook’s here! The new stylebook’s here!

My favorite scene in "The Jerk" is when Steve Martin exclaims, "The new phonebook's here! The new phonebook's here!" That's how I feel when a new edition of the AP Stylebook is released. That time is now. I prefer the stylebook in print, but if you like your style on screen, subscribe to the online… Continue reading The new stylebook’s here! The new stylebook’s here!

Solons mull grammar, word choices

North Carolina's lawmakers are spending part of this legislative session on wordy matters, as documented in the Under the Dome blog. First, the Dome tells us in a series of posts about how legislators use titles of bills to make them more politically palatable. That's why we have the North Carolina Racial Justice Act and… Continue reading Solons mull grammar, word choices

Cover letters need editing

A recent Q&A on cover letters stayed near the top of the "most popular" list at the New York Times site for nearly a week. It's certainly a timely article, with many people (including journalists) on the job market. And yes, those letters still matter in the age of the e-mailed résumé. The last question… Continue reading Cover letters need editing