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Defining my terms …

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I hadn’t been all that aware of it, but I suppose now that I should have: Just as some folks confuse words that sound alike for each other, not everyone has the same definitions for some of them. Case in point:

Define the following terms:  Proofreader, Copy Editor, Developmental EditorGhostwriter, Collaborator, Editorial Consultant and Writer.

About half the time I put in a bid on an “editing” job, I find I’m setting myself up, either for a whole lot more work than I had planned on for the compensation, or for a very unhappy client! (I’m now rebuilding my Rate Sheet to indicate how those roles differ from (and mesh with) one another, and how much I’m willing to perform them for while trying to make a living.)

Let’s do a little definition-work here (NOTE: I’ve performed in all of these roles at one time or another in my journeys, and am still willing to do so for the right price!). Comments are as always most welcome.

Proofreader: Once upon a time, back in the days of metal typesetting and printshops, this term was used to describe a person who sat hunched over two versions of the same material: an original (which had already been edited and otherwise smoothed out, so that it represented exactly how the content was to be represented in the final printing); and a printed-out version of what the typesetter had input from that original, in the typeface and font required.

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The Fear of Being “Me” (reprise)

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Hello again, gentle reader,

Well, I’ve been wracking my brain for something new to show for these efforts, and frankly, nothing has shown up. Meanwhile, I’ve mentioned this post (from back in July!) to pretty much everyone I meet, and very few have ever seen it (including some who claim to read this blog regularly?). I still think it’s one of my best entries among the 40 or so I’ve done so far.

SO-O-O-O …. HERE IT COMES AGAIN:

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Now we come to one of my real annoyances: the refusal of most people to use the objective case properly when dealing with pronouns. I refer of course to the infamous use of “I” (instead of “me”) as the object of a preposition, as well as in other non-subjective conditions. To put it bluntly, “between you and I” is not a correct way to use those words.

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The show must go on

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. . .  and so must this blog. The title this week is actually doubly appropriate, since it involves another homophonic (same sounding) word tht actually relates to show business:

A person who continues on, despite adverse conditions (health issues, lost love, fired from job, death in family, etc.), and does not let this stop his/her progress forward, is called a “real trouper” — not, as many would have it, a “trooper.”

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Four more for the year . . .

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Another long gap, another stretch of interesting life—although this stretch was actually pretty productive, editing-wise: two novels, a novella, a long short story, four Asian technical papers . . .  and two projects begun and dropped because they were just way out of my experiential expertise (although both look promising for future other-topic ventures)!

What to say today, to wrap up both a calendar-year and an impending “cliff dive”?

Let’s try one more round of “potato/potahto,” four more commonly confused words that sound alike but mean vastly different things:

  1. edition/addition:  An “edition” is a version of something, as in a history book that gets re-issued, often with new material added or deleted. Meanwhile, the only meaning for “addition” is the mathematical one, whether used in that context directly or in the phrase “in addition” (which merely means “also” but is a slightly more edumacated-sounding way to put it). More

More mixups

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Dang, has it been that long since I posted here? Actually, I’ve had some real editing work to do: a technical paper, a teen novel, some test papers . . . and now, another novel/memoir.

But I can’t leave the gap, so here are three more word-mixups to conjure with:

  1. reign/rein/rain: The first word (reign) has to do with royalty (some folks also use it to refer to presidential terms), and refers to the length of the term royalty (elected or otherwise) stays on the throne. The second one (rein) comes from horsemanship, and refers to those straps of leather used to steer a horse. It is also used (metaphorically, in most cases) to refer to controls on people’s behavior, as in “we need to rein in our Senators and Congresspeople, before they spend us into bankruptcy.” The third word (rain) is only about the weather, those drops of water that fall down from the sky.
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More confusion, or less?

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Sorry for the long delay between posts; been dealing with some personal stuff, more than the usual levels (those who know me already know the details; those who don’t have no need to).

Okay, let’s do a few others that almost everyone seems to get wrong:

  1. “a lot” is a synonym for “a whole bunch of stuff”; it can also be written as the single word “lots” if you prefer. However it should not be written as “alot” (that’s not only not a correct usage, it’s not even a word in the English language!). Meanwhile, if you spell it with two l’s (as in “allot”) you are dividing something into shares, as in “giving to each his allotted portion.”) This is less often misused.
  1. Then there is “principal” vs. “principle” . . . most folks know this, but still get it wrong at times.The “-pal” word has several meanings: (a) to describe an upper-management school official, (b) to indicate the “main” portion of something, or (c) to define the pre-interest portion of a financial transaction, such as a loan.The “-ple” version is a synonym for “tenet” (see below). (We could of course refer to a “lack of principles by the unprincipled principal” and be speaking about an educator with no ethical sense.)
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Pleonasmic simplicity

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Today I learned a new word, and now I’m going to inflict it on you, my devoted readers (and the other folks who’ve unwittingly stumbled onto this blog and not as yet found the strength to run away?).

That word is:   pleonasm

I ran across it while reading the manual for a potential editing job; I have to admit I had not been aware that there was a word to describe this situation, but I am glad that there is one.

A “pleonasm” (despite what it might sound like) is a certain form of redundancy. The definition (at least the simple one), in fact, is precisely that:

pleonasm: (noun) the use of more words than those necessary to denote mere sense (as in, the man he said); redundancy

(Note how the two definitions even demonstrate the word and its solution. Well it made me chuckle a bit!)

The word derives from the Greek pleon, meaning “excessive or abundant.”

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