Posts Tagged ‘Proofreading’

The love song of J. Alfred Proofreader

29 September 2009

Contributed by Myles Dungan

Medieval_writing_deskI’m old enough to have done Latin for the Leaving Certificate at a time when it was de rigeur. I missed out on Greek – I will never know at what cost. Which means I am also old enough to have been taught English grammar and punctuation as an integral part of the learning of that subject. So why have I never managed to quite get the colon or the semi colon, other than in this . . . : ) . . . context? Why am I always confused about words like ‘government’? Do they require a capital letter or should they be represented in lower case? Is it Lord Lieutenant, or lord lieutenant, or even Lord lieutenant, or maybe lord Lieutenant? Perhaps its even Lord LieuTenant. All right, I’m just being silly now. Is it New York Times or New York Times, the Times, or The Times? Well connected or well-connected?  And what do I do about words like ‘sympathise’? I’ve just written the word with a final ‘s’ and my computer programme has changed it to a ‘z’. I will now proceed to creep up on it and catch it unawares, delete the ‘z’ while hollering ‘death to America’ like some crazed Al Qaeda bomber and consign the zed (or is it zee) to my trash. (And yes, I have got English-English as my default but it seems to make no difference) The problem is that if I’m quoting from a 19th century letter, as I am wont to do, the ‘s’ and the ‘z’ seem to be random and interchangeable. Even Gladstone, in personal correspondence, used the form ‘sympathize’  (the computer liked that version). Read More