Working even when I’m not working

“No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else’s draft.” – H.G. Wells

For whatever reason, my Firefox browser won’t remember my StumbleUpon bar — according to one friend, it’s because I have a Mac, but I’m not sure.

Anyways, every time I feel like Stumbling, I have to go to a previously bookmarked Stumbled page and then start Stumbling from there. I think that’s a good thing, that it’s a conscious move, because otherwise I would never get any work done when I logged onto the Internet.

I started Stumbling tonight for a bit, and apparently StumbleUpon has a new feature. Initially, you put all your interests into preferences so you only Stumble, in random order, on pages related to your interests. Now, the added features asks you to type just one interest into a search bar, and it not only shows you just pages related to that initial interest, but you can also continue Stumbling on that one interest alone (instead of the mixed bag of interests you usually get when Stumbling).

For whatever reason, I typed in “copy editing.” (Note: I haven’t been working full weeks lately. The paper closed for a week in July, and since then, due to stat holidays, days we close the office early and me taking some personal vacation, I’ve worked anywhere between three to four-and-a-half days in the last five weeks. Even this week I unexpectedly took some time off, so I shouldn’t be in “work,” ie copy editing, mode.)

However, I found this post. It doesn’t get really interesting until the end, the part that is bolded and boxed out.

The story of my term as an EIC in my last semester of university deserves a post all its own when I can finally look at it objectively, but one of the things I’m firm about is that my own copy should be clean if I’m going to tear apart someone else’s copy. Which is why I’m happy working as a jack-of-all-trades journalist right now — I think there’s still some things I need to learn and get better at before I become a full-time copy editor.

That said, when I’m editing, I will double-check rules I’m only three-quarters certain about. I have learned to keep style preferences in check (putting the verb before the noun in attribution drives me crazy — you wouldn’t write “said he,” so why do people write “said Jones”?) but I have one rule. I firmly belong in the “said” camp when it comes to says vs. said attribution, and while I’ve come to respect people’s preference, here’s the catch: if they switch tenses and there’s one “said” when all the rest of the attribution is “says,” then it’s all going to past tense. You had your chance and you screwed up.

What I’m trying to say is, the guy has a point. Style should be respected — I would personally rather use “such as” instead of “like,” but that’s his choice. Same thing with the we/I/you point he has.

Him and his copy editor need to meet each other halfway — everyone needs at least a second pair of eyes. I doubt this guy is that good that everything he writes is perfect, in style, grammar and spelling that he never needs a copy editor.

I have a friend who is an English major, and if I ever want to get into a really fun argument with him, I tell him that under no circumstances should periods or commas ever be outside quotations marks. Which is true, unless you’re British. Question marks and exclamation marks can be inside or out, depending on the tone of the quote and if it’s a quote with a speech, etc.

He has a couple different views on this, to say the least.


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