Sharing some knowledge

My friend Susan and I chat via our fabulous Yahoo Messenger daily, while we’re editing away. I met Susan a million years ago when we both worked in-house as editors for the company that I now freelance for. Now, we’re both freelance copyeditors, and thank God we have each other! Otherwise, this job would’ve made both of us insane by now (well, maybe we ARE insane, but at least we have each other!).

Anyhoo, Susan and I chat constantly while we’re working, and we “vent” to each other about common mistakes we see in our papers time and time again… each of us has certain things that really get under our skin.

For example, Susan’s no. 1 peeve while editing is when she sees “drug regiment” instead of “drug regimen.” Really, it sends her over the edge… luckily, she has me there to talk her through it. She owes her life to me. lol.

Maybe I should stop here and point out that, as a copyeditor… especially a copyeditor who works with electronic files… you EXPECT to correct a type-o every now and then. It happens… to the best of us. But, there are lots of things that Susan and I see on a daily basis, like “drug regiment,” that I don’t believe are honest typing errors. No, Dr. Whatshisname, PhD, didn’t accidentally hit that “t” key. He really THINKS the word is “regiment.” This makes a huge difference… to us, anyway.

Today, I realized MY no. 1 editing peeve… and I realize it’s something that most people just honestly don’t KNOW. So, I’m sharing the knowledge with all of you because I really WANT the world to catch on, and well, you have to start somewhere.

May I present you with the term “Web site.” I promise… that really IS correct. It’s not “website” or “Website,” although I’m betting that 90% of the world thinks it is (just based on how many times I see it written incorrectly in the articles I edit, not to mention in e-mails and on message boards, etc.).

I found this fascinating piece of information in one of my many “style guides” years ago, when I was an in-house editor. I committed it to memory, for some reason, and it’s driven me crazy ever since when I’ve seen it written the wrong way.

If you don’t believe me, just go to the Merriam-Webster Web site and type it in their little search box. You can even type the incorrect form (like “website”) and it will prove my point… it’s Web site. Really. I wouldn’t mislead you.

And now that I’ve shared that bit of knowledge with the world (or, rather, all FIVE of my readers), I will sleep better tonight. Class dismissed.

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7 Responses to Sharing some knowledge

  1. Angela James says:

    Eh. I beg to differ. Website is indeed a word. You need to try onelook.com which searches pretty much every online dictionary. the following dictionaries list website as a word:

    American Heritage
    Cambridge
    Compact Oxford English
    Dictionary.com

    and several others.

    http://tinyurl.com/39zdrg

    See for yourself. So your pet peeve is based on wrong information 🙂

    Remember, the English language is beautiful in its ability to morph and change. Words used and spelled 100 years ago would look odd in today’s literature. Words that exist today didn’t exist 100 years ago (ginormous?) and punctuation rules go in and out of style. In fact, some punctuation rules were based not on grammar, but on making things easier for typographic setters. So they don’t make sense anymore but people don’t realize that’s WHY they were the way they were.

    However, I will tell you that it’s always biceps, never bicep 😉

  2. ErinRagan says:

    Somehow I knew someone (and I was betting on you, Angie, lol) would challenge me.

    Okay, so I found this Usage Note, from one of the many dictionaries you listed: “The transition from World Wide Web site to Web site to website as a single uncapitalized word mirrors the development of other technological expressions which have tended to take unhyphenated forms as they become more familiar. Thus email is gaining ground over the forms E-mail and e-mail, especially in texts that are more technologically oriented. Similarly, there is an increasing preference for closed forms like homepage, online, and printout.”

    Here’s my take on it now, lol. Web site is the “correct” version of the term, and now it’s morphed into however the heck anyone WANTS to write it.

    Just like all the “old school” grammar rules that Angie is always reminding me of, here’s something else to add to that list.

    I’m not a fan of changing grammar rules and/or spelling just b/c the majority of the population is too lazy and/or ignorant to use the correct form. It makes me wonder why I spent precious years of my life studying those “old-school” grammar rules.

    And, another thing that Angie reminds me of a lot… I edit “technical” papers, not fiction. So the “rules” are usually a lot more strict… this being one of them, I suppose.

    I don’t think my pet peeve is based on wrong information… it still holds true that in STM materials that I edit, the correct form is “Web site,” and I’m standing by that. ROFL

  3. Angela James says:

    I’m not a fan of changing grammar rules and/or spelling just b/c the majority of the population is too lazy and/or ignorant to use the correct form. It makes me wonder why I spent precious years of my life studying those “old-school” grammar rules.

    Really? Well, how do you think our language changed to how it sounds now? Certainly our ancestors didn’t sound like this 😛 Language changes and that’s a good thing, usually, because it means we don’t have to speak in formal language, very stiff, it makes language fun, flexible and accessible. Change is good 🙂

    (and I’m kind of laughing at you not liking something changing because people are lazy. Erin, Erin, Erin. Ironic much? And no, that’s not an insult, lol)

  4. ErinRagan says:

    No, we don’t have to speak in stiff, formal Shakespearean language. But, I do believe that we should make an attempt to write grammatically correct sentences and use correct punctuation (and not use website instead of Web site just b/c it’s “easier” and acceptable… still, it’s NOT acceptable according to my dozen style guides… just sayin’, lol).

    Just for the record (for anyone who doesn’t know us, lol), Angie and I will probably never agree on lots of things about grammar and the English language, lolol. And that’s okay. 😉

    I’ll always be old-school and remember the grammar rules that I learned IN school. And, the “old-school” way will continue to work for me b/c, luckily, I edit STM junk, and it’s not supposed to be conversational or “fun.” Far from it, actually, lolol.

    But, I do take off my Lazy Cap long enough to ensure that what I edit is grammatically correct (old-school style, of course… complete with serial commas even… GASP!)

    Oh, and Susan wanted me to add to her list of peeves (this one should’ve been at the top, lol): Data always are… they never is.

    (and if Angie argues with THAT, I’m going to go turn in my English degree and jump off a cliff, bwahahahahahahaha).

  5. Diane says:

    Okay, Erin – I posted a loooong ass comment over an hour ago and it never showed up!
    Grrrr!
    In summary – my pet peeve is when people say the letter “O” instead of the number “0” when stating their phone number (or any number for that matter) and if you all promise to not do that anymore than I won’t type website or say data is anymore. Though honestly I can’t think of a time when I will ever say data in a sentence! 🙂

  6. ErinRagan says:

    Sorry, Diane… I’m guilty as charged on the “O/zero” thing. lol. I think it’s really funny that THAT is a pet peeve of yours. All these years, I never knew.

  7. Anonymous says:

    i tink that ther englsh stuf is abit over-rated who cars if it is gramaticaly corect r not as long as peeps unrstand ya does it really mater if data is, O=0, website-www-web site-Web site, aint; and so many others. we all use words that we either make up or might not be in a dictionary, but it might be in the next print ………the past is in the past and the future is not known so deal with today as it is………..ya’ll

    just had to put in my 2 sense

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