Reader Lionel B. Dyck has provided us with a great, weird headline to improve. It’s from “The Jerusalem Post.” Yes, newspapers are a special breed of writing, and headlines must be concise. But this one cuts so many words that it hurts my logical head. How would you clarify...
Yesterday I went on an urban hike. Climbing stairs among lush greenery, I spotted the sign below. Not again! Someone had once again printed a sign without checking on their use of apostrophes. Don’t do it! Before creating a sign or printing cards that include an apostrophe, read this...
Which error did you see most often in 2019? Was it a missing comma? A misplaced or missing apostrophe? A lack of subject-verb agreement? A word used incorrectly? The error I found most often in work projects—especially copyediting presentations and manuscripts—is described below, with one bonus error.  The error is...
Certainly we can admire Google for its growth, global reach, inventiveness, and the brilliance of its teams. But they've gone too far. Cleverness has its limits. Analyze, yes. Optimize, yes. Publicize, yes--those are all things online content providers want to do. But troubleshootize? No, Google, you've gone too far.     The...
I received a good question by email today. A reader wanted to know my views on capitalizing words that are followed by numbers or letters, for example, Step 1 vs. step 1, Section A vs. section A, and Line 2 vs. line 2. How would you decide whether to...
As someone who designed the course Proofread Like a Pro, I pay attention when a competitor offers a training program on proofreading. Today my inbox included an invitation to a session. Below is the graphic with the program title.  Proofreaders, do you see anything wrong?   Yikes! This program title contains two...
Warm up by finding one concisely spelled error in this sign. When you find it, go on to the next challenge.   This dumpster sign has three punctuation errors, along with some funny commentary. Don't quit until you find everything.  Thank you to Eric W., who finds wonderfully flawed signs in...
I'm helping two friends who have just completed a book manuscript. They work beautifully together and will have a wonderful book when it's finished. But right now, tiny inconsistencies appear everywhere. In one chapter, all numbers are in words; in another, most numbers are in figures. Sometimes the names of...
The other day a friend told me he was concerned about having taken on a copy editing job because he didn't yet feel confident of who/whom and whoever/whomever. How about you? Are you confident about where to use those pronouns? Take the test below to see whether your confidence or...
Even when I am on vacation, I can't turn off my proofreading eyes. The three signs below, which I spotted in Charleston, South Carolina, and Charlotte, North Carolina, got my attention. Can you recognize why? Each sign has at least one error.  Sign 1 in Charleston    Sign 2 in Charleston    Sign 3...