Category: Language use

In a timely change, publications start capitalizing Black

It’s unlikely that many readers noticed, or cared, when news outlets started using % instead of percent after a numeral — a change prescribed by the Associate Press Stylebook last year. Many newspaper readers have probably noticed, and applaud, a change made in the last month, however. AP, along with many news organizations, now recommends... Read more »

When you need upbeat fiction

When my book group chose its next novel, someone suggested Albert Camus’s The Plague for its current relevance. The rest of us wanted something less depressing in the present circumstances, so we’re reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. Wanting something less depressing is nothing new for me. Back in the 1990s, I... Read more »

Good time to add to Chicago knowledge

Adding to my Chicago knowledge has been a fun diversion during isolation and a useful activity for a Chicago Greeter. I wish I’d taken notes while watching nine of Geoffrey Baer’s Chicago tours. His more than three dozen programs are available on the WTTW website. I did note new facts learned from Chicago Days: 150... Read more »
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Anyone want outdated editing reference books?

In the early 1990s, my first years as a publications editor at Northwestern University, our then manager had each of us four editors list the editing reference books we owned. Up to that point in my career, all I had used were the Associated Press Stylebook and a dictionary. I came to Northwestern from newspaper... Read more »

Giving passed away a pass

What not to say to a grieving person was the topic of an article in the Sunday Chicago Tribune. Writer Judith Weinstein included advice that seemed out of tone with her many thoughtful suggestions for expressing compassion: Do not use passed away or any other euphemism for died. Compared with the widespread use of passed... Read more »

Handy tips for not losing gloves

Winter has just begun, and already I’ve lost a glove. That makes one lost every winter for at least three years. The jacket with shallow pockets that open on a slant is the culprit. Well, my habit of walking with my hands in my coat pockets is to blame, too. If the gloves are in... Read more »
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The awkward but necessary singular they

From a New York Times online discussion about the use of the gender-neutral they/them/their as singular: Marilou: “[T]hey is a doctor.” Tallulah: “[Y]ou conjugated the verb ‘be’ wrong; you should have said, ‘They are a doctor.’” Lars: “[Marilou] conjugated her phrase correctly, according to nonbinary usage, which just goes to show that our current understanding... Read more »