Dang You, Autocorrect!

CannabisAlthough this story from The Beaverton was a little over a year ago, it really shows the dangers of relying on autocorrect:

OTTAWA – Canada is one step closer to the accidental legalization of cannibalism after the House of Commons passed a typo-ridden Bill C-45, formerly known as The Cannabis Act.

“I think no one wanted to be the one to point out the error,” MP Sara Anderson said. “We all thought someone else would do it, and then they called the vote, and here we are, all voting to legalize cannibalism.”

“It’s just one of those things.”

But Anderson also says the error might, conceivably, have something to do with a lot of MPs jumping the gun on legal cannabis.

“You know how it is,” said Anderson with a shrug. “You have the munchies, suddenly everything is about food… who can say why anything happens, really?”

The typo, which somehow crept into the House bill between the second and third reading, is expected to cost the Canadian economy up to 22 billion dollars a year in lost cannabis-related revenue but create a boom in cannibalism-related tourism.

“I guess now we’re all hoping the Senate will fix this,” Anderson said. “But I wouldn’t count on it. Some of them seem far more enthusiastic about the bill now than they were when it was about pot.”

At press time, the Green Party was calculating the carbon costs of a pound of long pig.

Confusing Words Of The Week

Words of the WeekIt’s time for “Confusing Words of the Week” where I take a set of two or three words that get confused and give you definitions and try to give you a memory trick to help you remember when to use which word. If you have words that confuse you, use the Ask PTB tab on the website or send an email to proofthatblog@gmail.com and they may appear here soon!

This week’s words are:

  • ordinance – a local law
    • There was a city ordinance against parking on the street at night.
  • ordnance – arms; munitions
    • The military has a large supply of ordnance.

Memory tips:

  • The only difference is the “I,” so think of your local municipality saying “I am watching you and waiting for you to break the ordinance.”

Grammar Giggle – Biscuitier

I’m all for a play on words in retail advertising. I smile or laugh when I “get it.” But I saw this one recently in my travels and had an issue with it. Why is there a comma after “biscuitier”? You can say “bigger and biscuitier” but would you really say “bigger and biscuitier and biscuit”? I think the comma between “bigger” and “biscuitier” is enough.

biscuitier

Replay Thursday

Thursday-ReplayIt’s time for a review of recent blog posts just in case you’ve missed them. We call this Replay Thursday. Here are posts from Proof That proofreading blog and 60 Is The New 60 blog during the past week.

http://proofthatblog.com/2019/01/04/grammar-giggle-restrooms/

http://proofthatblog.com/2019/01/07/grammar-giggle-less-than-correct/

http://proofthatblog.com/2019/01/08/confusing-words-of-the-week-45/

http://60isthenew60blog.com/2019/01/09/show-a-little-gratitude/

 

Confusing Words Of The Week

Words of the WeekIt’s time for “Confusing Words of the Week” where I take a set of two or three words that get confused and give you definitions and try to give you a memory trick to help you remember when to use which word. If you have words that confuse you, use the Ask PTB tab on the website or send an email to proofthatblog@gmail.com and they may appear here soon!

This week’s words are:

  • hoard – (n.) a hidden supply; (v.) to hide a supply
    • She had a hoard of toothpaste in her cupboard.
  • horde – a crowd or throng
    • It was hard to find him in the horde of people at the concert.

Memory tips:

  • hoard – you can keep your hoard of supplies neatly in the cupboard.
  • horde – there is no order in a horde.

Grammar Giggle – Less Than Correct

I saw this billboard on a local freeway and it begs the constant argument about when to use less and when to use fewer. Fewer should be used when you are talking about things that can be counted. Grammar Girl calls them “count nouns.” Less is used when you are talking about things that cannot necessarily be individually counted. Grammar Girl calls those “mass nouns.” So when you’re talking about four years, and you can count the years, it makes fewer the correct choice. See the whole blog post about when to use less and fewer here.

Less than

Replay Thursday

Thursday-ReplayIt’s time for a review of recent blog posts just in case you’ve missed them. We call this Replay Thursday. Here are posts from Proof That proofreading blog during the past week.

Grammar Giggle – AR or AZ?

Confusing Words of the Week

Ten Lofty Proofreading Goals for the New Year

Ten Lofty Proofreading Goals for the New Year

Proofreading goalsAs you know, I think proofreading is really important. Here are some tips for ten proofreading goals to challenge you this year:

  1. Take the time. Don’t rush proofreading. Try to make it clear that proofreading is important to your attorney and to the firm. They should allow you time to proofread everything that gets filed or goes out of the office. It is your attorney’s and the firm’s reputations at stake. See an article here.
  2. Practice, practice, practice. The more you actually proofread documents, the easier it will be. Just keep working at it and studying style guides of choice. If you are proofreading something and are questioning your decision, look it up. That way you are constantly learning and will get better. Keep in mind that you should decide on the style guide you are using (I prefer the Gregg Reference Manual, but some attorneys prefer the Chicago Manual of Style or Strunk and White), but keep learning from all of them as usually when one style manual makes a change, the others do too. See an article about updates to the AP Stylebook here.
  3. Keep learning. Find sources of continuing education–podcasts (like Grammar Girl), blogs (like proofthatblog.com), and websites that you can subscribe to so that you will always have the latest information. See an article about resources here.
  4. Learn apostrophes. This isn’t hard but is probably the most consistently misused punctuation mark. Apostrophes show possession or indicate a contraction, they DO NOT make a word plural (except in very rare circumstances like “A’s”). See an article about apostrophes here.
  5. Stop overusing commas. Every time you take a breath while reading something is not where you put a comma. Every “and” in a sentence does not require a comma preceding it. Try reading the document without the phrase set off with commas to see if it still makes sense. If not, remove some commas. See an article on commas here.
  6. Fight for the Oxford comma. Particularly in the legal setting, I think the Oxford (or serial) comma is necessary. It takes care of any question about how many things you are talking about. In fact, a recent court case turned on the fact that the Oxford comma was not used. See an article on that here.
  7. Learn how plurals and possessives are different. This is part of the discussion on apostrophes. There is a formula in that article for how to decide if (and how) a word should be possessive. Plurals indicate there are more than one of something: shoes, cars, steaks. Possessives indicate that ownership is involved: the shoe’s laces, the car’s plates, the steak’s bones.
  8. Figure out contractions. Contractions are where you remove letters and add an apostrophe to indicate that you have done so and where you removed the letters. For example, she will becomes she’ll indicating the w and i are removed, cannot becomes can’t indicating the n and o are removed.
  9. Appreciate consistency. Sometimes you just won’t be able to talk your attorney out of doing it “their way.” And sometimes doing it their way is way easier than arguing about it. Whichever way you choose to treat your document, do it consistently. Nothing is more frustrating than seeing the same word handled differently in the same document. So if you have to do it the “wrong” way, at least do it that way every time.
  10. Learn to love dictionaries. When I’m working and am unsure if a word is used correctly, I Google it and usually Merriam-Webster Dictionary comes up. It helps me learn the new word and then I can make sure it is used correctly.

If you take the time to work on these ten goals, you will be a better writer and more valuable to your firm.