What I learned from copy editing and traveling abroad

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 | Stamp in My Passport| , , |

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Day 2: Educate us on something you know a lot about or are good at.

I'd like to pride myself on knowing a little about a lot of things. Teenage television dramas, the quadratic formula, the French Revolution; I could tell you a small amount about all of them. However, if we're being honest, I could talk for days hours about teenage television dramas; my expertise is in The OC, Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill and The Hills.

So what am I going to educate you on, you may ask? Spelling and grammar. Before you stop reading, just let me explain. I see this as a public service because, if you're like me, nothing makes you stop reading more than incorrect capitalization and the dreaded Oxford comma. Oh, That doesn't bother you? Well I don't know if we can be friends then. Just kidding. But please, next time you type something, at least go through and correct all of the words spell check catches. The world and myself will thank you.

Here are a few reminders: 

1. Alot is not a word. 

2. "I" is always capitalized when referring to yourself. Always. Now if you are one of those writers who doesn't capitalize anything, then I will give you a slide on this one because at least you are consistent. But for the rest of you, i'm watching. 

3. Ellipses should not be used to represent a period. The president may pause every few words during his speeches hoping they will be filled with applause, but that does not mean you need to include ellipses every few words in your writing. I'll tell you right now, unless you are J.K. Rowling writing "Harry Potter Book Eight," no one is going to be cheering after every sentence.

And finally, I am going to put the ongoing "who vs. whom" debate to rest with a simple trick. 

4. Who vs. Whom. Until a few months ago, I vowed to ignore "whom" because I thought that surely it was soon to be removed from the English language. Since that has not happened, and most likely won't happen any time soon, I needed to learn the correct usage. As a child, I thought you only used "whom" when you wanted to sound fancy or extremely educated. (Surprisingly, I was wrong.) TIP: Turn the question into a statement. Who/whom does he love? He loves me. If you answer the question with "me" use whom. If you answer the question with "I", use who. Make sense? 

For those of you who have read this far, thank you. Especially those who are not communications majors. I will reward you dedication with a few tips on "How to not look and sound like an uncultured American when in Paris."

1. Speak softly (or not at all) and don't make eye contact with other passengers when on the metro. The French are seen as rude and unkind because they don't talk a lot in public. While they are by no means as friendly as the Italians, the French are not rude. They are just reserved. If you don't want to stand out as American (as if your Northface jacket or Kavu backpack didn't give you away), then pull out your white Apple earbuds and enjoy the view out of the window as you ride through town.

2. Stand on the right side of the escalator; walk on the left side. While this is supposed to be a universal rule of etiquette, most American ignore it when at home and abroad.

3. Always attempt to speak French at first. Your Southern twang or Boston accent will most likely give you away, but the French appreciate your effort. Who knows, your pronunciation may even get a smile or chuckle from the shopkeeper.

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