As a happily self-professed language geek, I love that one of my most favourite holidays not only has roots in language evolution but it is also one that I can appreciate from different cultural perspectives.

An early spelling of Halloween was “All Hallows’ Even” where “even” stood for evening. Eventually the “all” and “s” were dropped, and “hallows” and “even” became a closed compound with an apostrophe taking the place of the “v” giving us Hallowe’en — This is the first way I remember learning to spell the word.

Samhain is the spelling of the Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. Typically this is celebrated between October 31 and November 1, which is about halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. All flavourful words I love to write and edit!

In Mexico they celebrate what is called the Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) for several days from the end of October into early November. This multi-day holiday brings together family and friends to remember those who have passed.

It’s fun to learn the different holidays and the proper spelling of related terms … at least to me. It’s how I’m wired and forms the foundation of why I love my work as an editor. I also love the story, or history, on how language evolves, morphes, and occasionally retracts.

What are your favourite words associated with Halloween or other holidays this time of year?

My favourite catch (typo) a couple years ago hailed from  a department store, where a decorative tombstone had written on it: Baried Alive! A change of vowel would help! Or when researching this post, I saw an image for a fast-food place where the sign read: Over 10 Billion Severed. That’s kind of Halloween-ish, but not so much appetizing.

So as always, happy holidays from EditAbove. Hope you find some amusing typos too that perhaps remind you why you love to edit, or why you appreciate hiring editors!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gratitude is part of my every day.

I am thankful for my love of reading and writing that organically grew with training, time, effort, and interest into a beautiful career in editing.

And OK … I am truly grateful for long weekends, amazing hikes with family, and incredible meals. This is for the experiences themselves, sure! But do you ever notice the interesting signs around trails, when shopping, or instructions for cooking? Yeah … I love words.

What are some of our most favourite words we can come up with about fall, autumn, or Thanksgiving? Maybe ones like:

  • Cornucopia
  • Wishbone
  • Stuffing
  • Apple pie (why two words when it seems like such an institution?)

And then for my colleagues who have edited cooking books we realize there is a whole inherent language around different styles of cooking and baking. For example, not often would two apple pie recipes claim to be equal as they each employ their own unique blend spices and variety of apples.

So this holiday weekend EditAbove wishes you all of your favourite things, including a good (well-edited) book or word search puzzle if that’s to your liking.

National Indigenous Peoples Day

June 21 was National Indigenous Peoples Day. This is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.

As editors and language professionals we are behooved to be diverse in our language knowledge and sensitivities. We then may work with an increasingly diverse population helping them to get their best word forward without losing meaning or tone.

There are amazing resources out there to learn by and grow on our knowledge of Indigenous Peoples, and their cultures, and languages — first and foremost you may ideally learn from the person for whom you are editing. Depending on the author and their agreement, I would then generally next also suggest to examine various books and other sources out there such as: Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples by Bob Joseph and Cynthia F. Joseph.

What Do You Get if You Put 700 Editors in a Room?

The most fun, validating discussions on language, and eventually … laryngitis.

And the lost voice was so worth it. #ACES2018

I met book editors, science editors, real estate editors and more! I was grateful for the 50+ distinguished editors who attended my workshop on Outsourcing Editing, Getting the Best for Them and for You! #ACESOutsourceEdit. All of the follow-up since the end of April conference on my workshop has been appreciated. 

Attending editor conferences always reminds me of how much I love what I do, teaching others about what I do, and what an amazing and diverse industry it is.


Editing … The Luck of the Irish?

While I love learning about all kinds of heritage and find it fun to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day … I can attest there’s nothing “lucky” about being a great editor, writer, or presenter.

Sure there is some innate talent or predisposition, if you will, but to execute these disciplines professionally a finely honed robust English skill set must not only be maintained but grown as language conventions expand.

So edit all you can! I edited friends’ papers in university, I edit (accidentally somewhat) while enjoying a favourite book, I edit the news, and virtually any written material I see including signage in stores. On top of that I keep up on the latest dictionaries, thesauruses, style guides, and more. I even read cover-to-cover a few of these sources once … but in fairness I was creating a robust in-house style guide at the time, now in its fifth edition.

And I’d say complement skill, practice, and current resources usage with first-rate technology. Thank goodness it can never do the stellar job of a great editor, writer, or presenter, but it can act as a safety net to ensure a top-rate quality document after it’s touched. Use Word (spell-check and thesaurus) and I’d recommend PerfectIt Pro (which you can customize or pay to have it done).

Lastly, always be ready to learn! After decades of editing, writing, and presenting there is much useful information stored in my mind but I’m thrilled any time I learn a new word, usage for it, or bit of technology to support my talents.

And in light of learning I sought out a St. Patrick’s Day fact … according to many sites from Google citing Irish legends … Patrick wasn’t the saint’s original name … apparently it was Maewyn Succat and his “colour” was actually pale blue not green! Darn what colour to wear on March 17?

New Year, New(er) Editing Conventions

“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change”  ~ Heraclitus

And the English language is certainly true of that statement.

As folks work away year-after-year at our respected homes of dictionaries … we know new words are coined through the use of new technology and new generations of talkers as well as words that have morphed into being two words, to hyphenated, and then suddenly to one; they  are being hashed over and included. Language is always changing.

Who knew we’d see these words in common usage?

  • Gobbledygook
  • Discombobulate
  • Flummox
  • Curmudgeon
  • Lackadaisical
  • Woebegone
  • Lollygag
  • Frankenfood
  • Canadianizing, adj., n
  • Canadianness, n.
  • Chi, n.2
  • stuckupiness
  • stuck-up-ness

And one of the interesting language points of change — getting much uptake in the last year or so — is that of using “their” respectfully instead of he/she when the person is unknown. This is a big change for many who spent years in school being told the opposite: always use she/he or he/she when the person(s) in question are unknown, never use “their.”

But to endeavour to carry out the best writing and editing we must stay on the upper edge of the curve. Even though I admit, it took me awhile to write email as one word without hesitation  — and when editing scientific-type documents to accept “generalizability” as a word it took me awhile to do it without a gulp.

I wonder what new language conventions 2018 will bring?

Happy New Year everyone! May you enjoy the best of 2018 and look to EditAbove for any of your editing, writing, and related presentation needs!

Dashing through the snow … dashing to the Boxing Week sales?

Ever think about what kind of dash you need?

Em dashes are the size of an “M” … maybe fun to remember it with the performer Eminem … two M’s in there. Em dashes are used to give a strong separation in a thought that you still want to keep connected. A semicolon can also perform this function, but an em dash does it in a more — pronounced way.

En dashes are the size of an “N” … maybe fun with a song memory too … “na na na na … hey, hey it’s smaller than an em dash!” En dashes are typically used to represent a span or range for numbers, dates, or the like. They are often interpreted to be used to mean “to” or “through.”  Like … “I’m travelling to Hawaii and away Jan. 1, 2018–Jan.15, 2018.”

Hyphens are the shortest of these dashes and they are primarily used to help form compound terms.  “Copy-Editing for you is a blast!”

Of course … use of these dashes and whether you put spaces around them may also be dictated by the style guide(s) you may be working with.