The Danger in Drudgery. The most mind-numbing job I ever had was in an insurance company filing papers—carts full of policies to put in numerical order, hour after hour, 1064952, 2586027, 1943902, 1064951. The only thing that kept me awake was the occasional paper cut. I’m sure they’re still looking for some of the policies I misfiled in my stupor.
Every writer or editor is faced with a mindless task now and then: alphabetizing, renumbering, abbreviating . . .
Searching CMOS Online: Finding Your Way in The Chicago Manual of Style. Here’s a secret we’ve been trying hard not to keep: you can use the online edition to find things in the print edition even if you don’t subscribe online. Here are three ways to do that.
“Work-to-Rule”: Advice for Meeting a Deadline. Merriam-Webster.com defines “work-to-rule” as “the practice by workers of refusing to do any work that is not strictly required as a part of their jobs in order to protest something (such as unfair working conditions).” Well, that’s too harsh for my purposes. But it hints
Do You Follow Grammar “Rules” That You Don’t Understand? Those of us who use social media are used to seeing comments from sticklers who object to the slightest deviation from the grammar rules they learned. The following sentences would not likely pass their inspection. Can you tell why?
“I know there’s a rule . . . but where?” Writers and editors are used to keeping reference books close at hand or bookmarked online: dictionaries, search engines, style manuals. Even so, there are times we’re simply at a loss. How do you find a grammar or usage rule when you don’t know what it’s called or where to look it up?
Consistency: How Much Is Too Much? In writing and editing, consistency is assumed to be a good thing. . . . But at some level, consistency should cease to be a goal. First,
Proofreading versus Copyediting: What’s the Diff? Copyeditors read copy before it is in final form in order to fix anything that’s wrong with its grammar, spelling, logic, structure, accuracy, consistency, or coherence. They make corrections, ask questions, and make suggestions. They might rewrite. They usually defer to a style guide (like . . .