Monday, July 27, 2009

Today's Cool Dictionary  Fact

I'm looking up the phrase "to a T." It appears in all caps, in a head so no period at the end. Put those together, and it's really hard to read:


See what I mean?

Trying to find a solution that wouldn't involve rewriting on the editor's part, I was thinking, "tee" is OK for "T-shirt," but why do I think it's a bad substitute here?

So, I looked up "T."  Natch.  And found this:

short for "to a tittle"

A few thoughts surface. The first is that "tee" is not really commonly used to substitute for the alphabet letter, and I don't like it here. We've already shortened "tittle" to "T"; shortening it yet again is annoying to me.  However, when you look up "tee," you find: "to a tee."

So, a minor poll: which would you do--change to "tee"? Or ask for a rewrite?

And, "tittle." Yay!

We have an album at home w/ the score for the Syracuse University production of "Wind in the Willows," on which the judge thunders that Toad will be in jail "until the last jot and tittle of his sentence" is fulfilled.

Here's the definition: a point or small sign used as a diacritical mark in writing or printing. Its second meaning, which is the one I had thought of always is "a very small part."

(its original meaning makes "the last jot and tittle of his sentence" a pun!!!)

I wonder whether it meant a *specific* shape, and if so, which one?

Don't you think you can start using this word? When you're routing proofs, and talking about proofreaders' marks?

What fun thing have you found in the dictionary lately?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Comma, No Comma

Here's today's, from copy describing dresses:

in simple, floor-skimming styles

Your vote?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Comma, No Comma?

Karen brought me an entire set. 

And apparently, I'm being wishy-washy, for one thing, and for another, she doesn't quite agree w/ me.

Here's what I apparently signed off on, after reading the proof (and adding a couple of commas):

a soft, French washed-rind cheese
a buttery, French washed-rind [cheese]
a hard Dutch Gouda
a crumbly, French goat cheese

So why didn't I put a comma after hard? That's completely parallel to the others.

And, I think the comma after crumbly is stupid.

So what was I thinking w/ the comma after soft and buttery?

Karen says: no commas on any of them; Morgan routed it w/o commas.

I apparently put them in. Inconsistently.

Perhaps the presence of the "washed-rind" is affecting me?

[washed-rind cheese] and [Dutch Gouda] and [French {goat cheese}] all equal one base noun (cheese/Gouda/goat cheese) plus one descriptor (washed-rind, Dutch, French).

No, that's not making any sense--not unless I make [Dutch Gouda] the base noun. Then, each base noun gets "one free adjective," and any extras require a comma to join the party?

I don't know.  Like I said the first time I ever did a "Comma, No Comma" post, sometimes I wonder if I know what I'm doing w/ these commas. Or I worry that I'm crazy.

What do you think?

(I think I'm going to bow to Karen's wisdom and tell her to take them back out. Two of them are really stupid w/ commas, even to me, and so since the others are parallel, I'm going to blindly trust the "math.")

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Comma, No Comma

a bouquet of ruffly, white hellebores 

I took it out.

Your vote?