Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Misspelled and Misused words



In his latest book, The Sense of Style, Harvard cognitive scientist and linguist Steven Pinker explores the most common words and phrases that people stumble over.
It is reminiscent of Strunk and White's classic The Elements of Style, but is based on linguistics and updated for the 21st century.
Pinker has identified the 51 most commonly misused words and phrases from his book and among them are Adverse, Depreciate, Flaunt (a lot of authors get this one wrong), Literally, and Staunch.

For the entire story go here: http://www.theage.com.au/world/our-51-most-commonly-misused-words-and-phrases-20151202-gldkqf.html

To test yourself on commonly misspelled and misused words try these two games:
http://bitecharge.com/play/grammartricky/h3
http://bitechargemedia.com/play/misspelled/h7

I got them all right. How about you?

Helen Woodall
helen.woodall@gmail.com

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Use Grammar Like Yoda


In recognition of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Grammarly have dissected a few classic Yoda-style quotes in order to better understand the patterns that #yodify the English language. Thanks to Grammarly https://www.grammarly.com/grammar-check for the infographic.

Yodify your Grammar Infographic



Helen Woodall
helen.woodall@gmail.com

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The worst typos in the Bible



An extremely rare and valuable edition of the bible went on sale late in 2015. It’s the Sinner’s Bible, the edition brought out by Robert Barker and Martin Lucas in 1631. It included several typos, but the most famous is the omission of the word *not* before the word *adultery* in the Ten Commandments.
The correct wording of Exodus 20: 14 is “You shall not commit adultery.”

There is also a 1682 edition of the bible nicknamed “The Cannibal’s Bible” because of a typo that said, “If the latter husband ate her” in Deuteronomy 24:3, which is meant to read: “If the latter husband hate her.”

All of which is proof, I suppose, that no matter how careful writers and editors might be, there’s always one error that slips through.


Helen Woodall
helen.woodall@gmail.com

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Gender Neutral words



Every now and then writers tie themselves in knots over the issue of gender specific terms.

“Suffragette”, for instance, has historic imagery tied to it of women fighting for the right to be allowed to vote. Google it and you’ll find all sorts of cartoons and stories explaining why women were considered not physically or mentally capable of deciding which political candidate to choose. So when a writer uses the word “suffragette” readers get a visual of a specific time in history and all the baggage that went with it.

(Just as an aside here, women first attained the right to vote in South Australia in 1895, and all Australian states permitted it by 1908, a long time before the USA – 1920).

Other female word forms, however, such as Chaucer’s herdess and charmeress, and Shakespeare’s soldieress, have long gone.

Even “waitress” and “stewardess” along with “executrix” mostly disappeared in the 1970s.

My advice would be always to use gender neutral terms, unless you are aiming to give the reader a particular image, such as those of the suffragettes.


Helen Woodall
helen.woodall@gmail.com

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

The world’s costliest typos


Typos can be a lot more than just embarrassing.

Mental Floss has compiled a list of possibly the most expensive typos in the world.
This is why it’s important for everyone to proofread any important document or email before hitting send.

My personal favorite story is the missing hyphen in the coding of NASA’s Mariner I space probe. Five minutes after launch the Mariner had to be recalled because of that missing hyphen which had the spacecraft veering off course. That cost around $80 million. (http://www.wired.com/2009/07/dayintech_0722/)

Then there was the car dealership that mailed out 50,000 scratch tickets, one of which was supposed to be worth $1000. Instead ALL of them were winners. That made a total of $50 million which the car dealership, not surprisingly, was unable to pay.

In a typo costing half a million dollars, New York City’s Transportation Authority had to recall 160,000 maps and posters that announced the recent hike for the minimum amount put on pay-per-ride cards from $4.50 to $5.00. The only problem was they said the new price was $4.50.



You can read more typo stories here (http://mentalfloss.com/article/49935/10-very-costly-typos). But to avoid starring in one of them yourself, always proofread your documents!


Helen Woodall
helen.woodall@gmail.com

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.