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Harmless Drudge: Copy Editing at the New Yorker
Posted: 24 July 2010 06:23 AM   [ Ignore ]
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More on copy editing, if you’re not sick of it already.

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Posted: 24 July 2010 08:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Should it be ‘lighted a cigarette’ or ‘lit a cigarette’?
I have also noticed American ‘light on fire’ when Brits would say ‘set on fire’ or ‘set alight’. Is it a conflagration conflation?

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Posted: 24 July 2010 10:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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That was interesting, although I rapidly tired of the interviewer’s snarky-twelve-year-old style (apparently mandatory these days).  But from her description of the painstaking process of editing and fact-checking, you’d never guess how error-ridden the magazine is these days.

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Posted: 24 July 2010 06:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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"At this stage, the copy editor makes minimal changes, in spelling and punctuation, to conform to New Yorker style. You may have noticed that we spell “theatre” the British way, reversing the “er” to “re,” and double consonants before suffixes (“travelled,” rather than “traveled”); we use the diaeresis in words like “coöperate” and “reëlect”; we prefer the serial comma; we spell out round numbers, even big ones. The copy editor does not make any interpretive changes.”

I don’t think I’ve ever seen the diaeresis used in those words before. Makes sense, perfectly logical use of a diaeresis, but I’ve never seen it.

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Posted: 24 July 2010 06:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I don’t think I’ve ever seen the diaeresis used in those words before. Makes sense, perfectly logical use of a diaeresis, but I’ve never seen it.

A certain WG used it all the time here in the olden days. As a constant reader of the NewYorker, I’ve grown accustomed to it.

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Posted: 25 July 2010 05:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Should it be ‘lighted a cigarette’ or ‘lit a cigarette’?

I would write or say lit a cigarette, but as a copy editor I would accept lighted as a variant. Garner agrees that both are acceptable, noting though that typically lighted is the adjectival and past participial form, while lit is the usual preterit form.

I have also noticed American ‘light on fire’ when Brits would say ‘set on fire’ or ‘set alight’. Is it a conflagration conflation?

Americans say “set on fire” too. We say “set alight” as well, but it sounds a bit affected and my impression is that it’s far less common, found more in formal prose than in casual writing or speech.

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Posted: 25 July 2010 07:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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It is because I am not familiar with light on fire so much that it sounds odd, same with American catch on fire and Brit catch fire. I can see why set alight sounds dated and affected to Americans.

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Posted: 05 September 2012 02:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Damn, just saw a diaeresis in reelection. Sure enough, it was in a cartoon from The New Yorker.

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Posted: 07 September 2012 05:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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OP Tipping - 05 September 2012 02:36 AM

Damn, just saw a diaeresis in reelection. Sure enough, it was in a cartoon from The New Yorker.

As I said, they’ve been using it for years.

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Posted: 07 September 2012 06:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I salute their futile obstinacy.

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Posted: 08 September 2012 06:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Why is it any more futile than anything else people do because they like doing it that way?  If you read different books than your friends and neighbors, or use a different style of handwriting, is that “futile”?  Should everyone march to the same drummer?

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Posted: 08 September 2012 07:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Not at all, that’s why I saluted it.

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Posted: 24 September 2012 07:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Just encountered reëntered in Hound of the Baskervilles.

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Posted: 24 September 2012 11:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I enjoyed reading the article - the two people chiefly involved both emerged as people I’d like to know better.

I am confused by languagehat’s qualification of the interviewer’s style as “snarky-twelve-year-old”. This isn’t a term I’m familiar with. The AHD gives “snarky” the definition “irascible”, but this clearly doesn’t fit the bill - the interview struck me as quite sincerely friendly, on both sides. Perhaps the word has other meanings? it’s not one I’ve often come across. And I’ve never yet met a twelve-year-old who could write, or talk, like that. I’d appreciate an elucidation, lh.

I noticed the sentence The O.K.’er then copies these changes onto a pristine proof called the Reader’s (to keep the paper trail). I’m not sure I quite understand what the word “pristine" is intended to mean. It seems a long way from here to Livy’s “pristine virtue”. I’ve seen the word used (in leftpondian writing, more often than rightpondian) in an astonishing variety of contexts.  Would “unsullied” or “unblemished” more or less fit this case? Is it a proofreader’s jargon word?

(Edited for greater clarity)

[ Edited: 24 September 2012 11:53 AM by lionello ]
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Posted: 24 September 2012 12:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Snarky is an adjective formed from snark, v. 2, intr. and trans. To find fault (with), to nag.  That’s from OED which, oddly enough, gives only one sense for snarky, Irritable, short-tempered, ‘narky’. I think a revision is needed there.

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Posted: 24 September 2012 01:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I have what I believe is the unique distinction of being called “snarky” on this very forum, since when I have been trying to develop snarkiness into an art form.

(Step forward that man .... )

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