Archive for February 2008

Why I love the CBC

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Where else will you find a reference to a 19th century British poem in the sports section?

This very much pleases my writer‘s brain.

The New York Subway it ain’t…

Translink’s version of the “don’t litter” sign:

“It’s your transit system, help keep it tidy.”

That comma hurts my soul.

The Translink sign-writers could stand to learn a thing or two from their counterparts in New York… 

Even Microsoft is okay when they’re disagreeably facetious

I don’t like Microsoft.

But I am rather fond of their “Disagreeably Facetious Type Glossary.”

I particularly like this bit:

BOWLS are strokes that enclose a white space, like those that make the o and O. The two parts in the g are also bowls. Where a curve partially encloses a space it is also sometimes called a bowl, as in C. But it shouldn’t be. In a B you have two bowls. In the C you have a curved stroke and a COUNTER. The lower space in a Baskerville g is a counter. The upper is also.

The rest of this witty guide is definitely worth a read. Enjoy!

Dear “as per”: I hate you

I received an e-mail today that contained the following:

“please email me as per for immediate follow up”

This sentence, of course, has larger issues than the “as per.” But it made me think about this little expression, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I hate it.

I’ve searched through a number of dictionaries and usage guides, and there’s a surprising lack of consistency on whether the “as” is acceptable. To me, it’s ridiculous: “per” itself means “according to, “so “as per” means “as according to.” Redundant.

“I am sending this memo as per the CEO” = “I am sending this memo as according to the CEO.” Redundant!

This should be recast as “I am sending this message per the CEO.”

Of course, that’s assuming you are really stuck on using “per” at all. A better way would be to remove “per” altogether and write what you really mean: “The CEO has approved this memo.”

In my search for clarity on “as per,” I found the following gem from Erik Partridge’s Usage and Abusage:

as per, “in accordance with,” is such horrible commercialese that even merchant princes are less than riotously happy when their secretaries wish it on them

Indeed.

My favorite quote of 2008

The semicolon is correct, though I’d have used a colon, which I think would be a bit more sophisticated in that sentence.

This is what Allan M. Siegal, former standards editor at The New York Times had to say about a New York subway sign that drew attention for its use of the ever-confusing semicolon.

The sign (instructing riders not to leave their newspapers littering the subway) read:

“Please put it in a trash can; that’s good news for everyone.”

I love that I’m not the only one in this big world that gets so excited about a simple piece of punctuation.

Time to start a blog…

Here’s the traditional “my first post” post. As I get used to this blogging thing, the content will get more exciting, I promise.

For now, I’ll just recommend my favorite site for copy editors: The Slot, created by Bill Walsh (author of such excellent reads as Lapsing Into a Comma and The Elephants of Style ). It’s brilliant, hilarious, and — if you’re a word geek like me — sometimes controversial. Enjoy!