Posted by: episystechpubs | January 13, 2022

Editor’s Corner: More Words of the Year

Greetings, folks!

In her last post of 2021, Kara provided you with the three top words of the year. She mentioned that each dictionary has its own list, but, no surprise, most of the words had something to do with COVID-19.

I know, like me, you’re all weary of focusing on the pandemic. So, when I saw this list from Merriam-Webster that presents the top ten words people searched last year (other than vaccine, which topped the list), I thought I’d share. Last year brought us so much more than just news about COVID-19. Here are Merriam-Webster’s top ten words of the year:

  • insurrection
  • perseverance
  • woke
  • nomad
  • infrastructure
  • cicada
  • murraya
  • cisgender
  • guardian
  • meta

And here’s to a happy and healthy 2022 with the hope that at the beginning of 2023, we’ll look back on many more positive words and situations.

Donna Bradley Burcher |Technical Editor, Advisory | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Ext: 765432

Pronouns she/her/hers

About Editor’s Corner

Editor’s Corner keeps your communication skills sharp by providing information on grammar, punctuation, JHA style, and all things English. As editors, we spend our days reading, researching, and revising other people’s writing. We love to spend a few extra minutes to share what we learn with you and keep it fun while we’re doing it.

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Posted by: episystechpubs | January 11, 2022

Editor’s Corner: The case of the vase

Hello dear readers! One of you asked me if I could review the difference (if any) between the words vase (rhyming with face) and vase (pronounced vahz rhyming with schnoz).

Most articles I found focused on the pronunciation difference, but a few said they are actually different types of containers. Some say that a vase (vahz) is bigger, more expensive, fancier, and more valuable than a normal vase, but that both are containers to hold flowers.

However, most articles and blogs focused on the pronunciation. One article from Vox asked, “Do you put flowers in a vahz or a vayce?” Here was their answer:

Who cares?

Well, actually, a lot of us seem to care about the way we pronounce words. As study after study has confirmed, the way we speak influences the way others perceive us. Linguists sometimes refer to this phenomenon as the accent prestige theory: the belief that certain types of accents, because of their historical associations with high society, are more prestigious than others. According to this theory, we attach social judgments to people’s accents. And as research shows, these judgments can influence something as superficial as how physically attractive we find someone or something more substantial like hiring practices.

The study was simple enough. Give about 1,000 people six words that are often pronounced in two different ways and ask them to attach value judgments to the different pronunciations. As the results show, language is a social indicator.

For the five other word pronunciation comparisons and their “value judgements” (foyer, roof, chaise lounge, décor, and niche), see the article here.

Kara Church

Pronouns: she/her

Technical Editor, Advisory

Editor’s Corner Archives: https://episystechpubs.com/

Posted by: episystechpubs | January 6, 2022

Editor’s Corner: New Year Grammar Quiz

Good morning. You’ll want to make sure you’ve had your coffee or tea this morning because it’s quiz day!

It’s been a while since we took a quiz together. This one comes from GrammarBook.com. I’ve selected quiz questions that cover rules I know Kara or I have covered at some point (maybe in the distant past), but if you’re a grammar glutton (like I am) and you want to test yourself on many different rules, you can find the full quiz here.

After you take the quiz, scroll down to see the answers and links to the explanations.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that you might come up with other correct ways to revise or correct some of these sentences. The links provided will explain the reasoning behind the correct answers provided by GrammarBook.com. If you do come up with a different answer, don’t shoot the messenger (that’s me!).

Good luck to you, ya big word nerds!

1. Wanda just bought a car [that / which] gets sixty miles per gallon.

2. Since [their / they’re] last available overtime shift was [mine / mine’s], let’s make the next one [your’s / yours] so you can earn some extra money too.

3. Change the adjective in parentheses into its proper comparative form:
Joel thinks that these instructions are (simple) than those.

4. Capitalize the following title properly:
"learning to bake like never before"

5. Does this sentence include text that can be emphasized with quotation marks? If so, place them around it. If not, identify "no quotation marks."
Samaira thinks her 4,000-square-foot house is too big.

6. Is this a compound sentence? [Yes / No]
Markus will change the headlight bulb today, and then he will replace the battery tomorrow.

7. Use proper negation to express the opposite of the following sentence.
All musicians are formally trained.

8. Fill in the blanks with the correct forms of the third person singular feminine personal pronouns.
_____ has been driving that make and model of car for many years. That one there is _____, and if you ask ____, ____ can tell you what ____ likes and doesn’t like about it.

(Scroll down to see the answers.)

Quiz answers and links to explanations:

1. Wanda just bought a car that gets sixty miles per gallon.
Which vs. That

2. Since their last available overtime shift was mine, let’s make the next one yours so you can earn some extra money too.
Possessive Pronouns

3. Joel thinks that these instructions are simpler (or more simple) than those.
Comparative Adjectives

4. "Learning to Bake Like Never Before"
Capitalizing Titles

5. Samaira thinks her 4,000-square-foot house is too big. “No quotation marks”
Quotation Marks for Emphasis

6. Is this a compound sentence? Yes
Markus will change the headlight bulb today, and then he will replace the battery tomorrow.
Compound Sentences: What Is a Compound Sentence?

7. Not all musicians are formally trained.
Negative Words

8. She has been driving that make and model of car for many years. That one there is hers, and if you ask her, she can tell you what she likes and doesn’t like about it.
Personal Pronouns

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Posted by: episystechpubs | January 4, 2022

Editor’s Corner: Eating Crow

Happy new year, all y’all!

I was enjoying a walk and talking to my brother during the holiday, and he said after a misunderstanding with a client, he might have to “eat crow.” The next thing he said was, “Ew. I wonder where that phrase came from?” Then seconds later, he switched the topic to one-legged stools that forced workers to “nap jerk” themselves awake so they wouldn’t fall into fires or under horses or into other dangerous circumstances. I laughed about that, refused to buy one, and promised to look into “eating crow.” (And in case you’re interested in stools with one, two, three, or four legs, here’s this.)

As far as figuratively eating crow, I have this from The Grammarist:

To eat crow means to admit a humiliating error one has made, to concede a humiliating defeat. Crow is an unappetizing food, even listed in the book of Leviticus in the Bible as an animal that is not to be eaten.

The phrase appears around 1850 in the United States, and is presumed to have been derived from a story that appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in 1850, about a farmer who is challenged by his boarders to eat a crow. The original phrase was to eat boiled crow. Today the term has been streamlined to eat crow.

And with information about why literal crow-eating is so disgusting, here’s a scrumptious explanation from Wikipedia:

Literally eating a crow is traditionally seen as being distasteful…. Scavenging carrion eaters have a long association with the battlefield, "They left the corpses behind for the raven, never was there greater slaughter in this island," says the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Along with buzzards, rats, and other carrion-eating scavenging animals, there is a tradition in Western culture going back to at least the Middle Ages of seeing them as distasteful (even illegal at times) to eat, and thus naturally humiliating if forced to consume against one’s will.

On that note, I wouldn’t want anyone to feel so humiliated that they would eat crow; notice neither resource said anything about tasting like chicken!

Kara Church

Pronouns: she/her

Technical Editor, Advisory

Editor’s Corner Archives: https://episystechpubs.com/

Posted by: episystechpubs | December 30, 2021

Editor’s Corner: Your New Year’s Resolution

Lots of people make New Year’s resolutions. Gyms get busier than usual. People go on diets. They vow to save more money, or eat less, or spend more time with family. This time of year feels like a new beginning.

If you plan to make a New Year’s resolution, The New York Times has some great tips on how to keep it. Here’s what they have to say:

A lot of resolutions fail because they’re not the right resolutions. And a resolution may be wrong for one of three main reasons:

  • It’s a resolution created based on what someone else (or society) is telling you to change.
  • It’s too vague.
  • You don’t have a realistic plan for achieving your resolution.

Your goals should be smart—and SMART. That’s an acronym coined in the journal Management Review in 1981 for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. It may work for management, but it can also work in setting your resolutions, too.

· Specific. Your resolution should be absolutely clear. “Making a concrete goal is really important rather than just vaguely saying “I want to lose weight.” You want to have a goal: How much weight do you want to lose and at what time interval?” said Katherine L. Milkman, an associate professor of operations information and decisions at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. “Five pounds in the next two months—that’s going to be more effective.”

· Measurable. This may seem obvious if your goal is a fitness or weight loss related one, but it’s also important if you’re trying to cut back on something, too. If, for example, you want to stop biting your nails, take pictures of your nails over time so you can track your progress in how those nails grow back out, said Jeffrey Gardere, a psychologist and professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine. Logging progress into a journal or making notes on your phone or in an app designed to help you track behaviors can reinforce the progress, no matter what your resolution may be.

· Achievable. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have big stretch goals. But trying to take too big a step too fast can leave you frustrated, or affect other areas of your life to the point that your resolution takes over your life—and both you and your friends and family flail. So, for example, resolving to save enough money to retire in five years when you’re 30 years old is probably not realistic, but saving an extra $100 a month may be. (And if that’s easy, you can slide that number up to an extra $200, $300 or $400 a month).

· Relevant. Is this a goal that really matters to you, and are you making it for the right reasons? “If you do it out of the sense of self-hate or remorse or a strong passion in that moment, it doesn’t usually last long,” said Dr. Michael Bennett, a psychiatrist and co-author of two self-help books. “But if you build up a process where you’re thinking harder about what’s good for you, you’re changing the structure of your life, you’re bringing people into your life who will reinforce that resolution, then I think you have a fighting chance.”

· Time-bound. Like “achievable,” the timeline toward reaching your goal should be realistic, too. That means giving yourself enough time to do it with lots of smaller intermediate goals set up along the way. “Focus on these small wins so you can make gradual progress,” Charles Duhigg, author of “The Power of Habit” and a former New York Times writer, said. “If you’re building a habit, you’re planning for the next decade, not the next couple of months.”

If you do make a resolution this year, I wish you good luck and much fortitude. Happy New Year!

Donna Bradley Burcher |Technical Editor, Advisory | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Ext: 765432

Pronouns she/her/hers

About Editor’s Corner

Editor’s Corner keeps your communication skills sharp by providing information on grammar, punctuation, JHA style, and all things English. As editors, we spend our days reading, researching, and revising other people’s writing. We love to spend a few extra minutes to share what we learn with you and keep it fun while we’re doing it.

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Posted by: episystechpubs | December 28, 2021

Editor’s Corner: 2021 Word of the Year

Good morning! Today I have a less than traditional new year greeting for you: the word of the year! Of course, each dictionary has its own opinion on the topic, so I am delivering three different words to you. Let’s see what 2021 gave us!

The first word comes from Merriam-Webster, and I have to say, their selection is not my favorite. Merriam-Webster gives us…

vaccine

In 2020, the Merriam-Webster dictionary selected "pandemic" as its word of the year.

This year, like some 59% of fully inoculated Americans, it went with "vaccine." [KC – Okay, you’ve had two years and you give us
pandemic and vaccine. M-W, you are not invited to my parties anymore.]

The publishing company noted that the word holds particular significance both as a medical term and a vehicle for ideological conflict.

"For many, the word symbolized a possible return to the lives we led before the pandemic," it said in Monday’s announcement. "But it was also at the center of debates about personal choice, political affiliation, professional regulations, school safety, healthcare inequality, and so much more."

Up next, we have something similar, but perhaps with a little more pizzazz than vaccine. From our friends across the pond, we have (courtesy of the New York Times), the pick from the Oxford English Dictionary:

vax

“Vaccine,” already a common-enough word in English, more than doubled in frequency over the past year, as vaccines against the coronavirus rolled out. But the jaunty “vax”—a word that has skulked around the margins of the language since it first appeared in the 1980s—surged dramatically, occurring more than 72 times as frequently in September 2021 as a year earlier.

And finally, Dictionary.com offers us something different:

allyship

The status or role of a person who advocates and actively works for the inclusion of a marginalized or politicized group in all areas of society, not as a member of that group but in solidarity with its struggle and point of view and under its leadership.

And while we must acknowledge that efforts at allyship are all too often insufficient and imperfect, the word nonetheless stands out for its role in the path out of the continued crises of 2020 for a better 2022.

Allyship in the dictionary, discourse, and data

The word allyship combines the noun ally, “a person who advocates for or supports a marginalized or politicized group but is not a member of the group,” and –ship, a noun-forming suffix here denoting “status, condition.”

This specific sense of the word ally is, notably, one we also updated this year. Developing out of the word’s general meaning of “supporter,” the application of ally in contexts of social justice is first evidenced as early as the 1940s in an article by Albert W. Hamilton on “allies on the front of racial justice” for Black people. The article, notably, features the term white allies, which has proliferated ever since. Another now-common term, straight allies—non-LGBTQ+ supporters of the LGBTQ+ community—dates back to at least the 1970s.

If you have followed our Business Innovation Groups (BIGs) at JHA, you have certainly learned more about allyship. To see additional information, to have a look at the BIGs, or to join any of the groups, check out BIG Conversations.

And for a more formal message to you all:

Kara Church

Pronouns: she/her

Technical Editor, Advisory

Editor’s Corner Archives: https://episystechpubs.com/

Posted by: episystechpubs | December 23, 2021

Editor’s Corner: Winter Words

Happy holidays to everyone!

I have been trying to figure out what I might be able to give you that is related to our language and your holiday. Whether you celebrate Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanza, Festivus, the winter solstice, or some other event, I found this list of long-lost words that fits the bill. For the full list, see the article at Mental Floss.

CRUMP

That crunching sound you make walking on partially frozen snow is called crumping. [KC – Not to be confused with
krumping,
which is a type of dancing. And no, I cannot demonstrate it for you.]

HIEMATE

Hibernate is sleeping throughout the entire winter; hiemate is to spend winter somewhere.

YULE-HOLE

The yule-hole is the (usually makeshift) hole you need to move your belt to after you’ve eaten a massive meal.

BELLY-CHEER

Dating from the 1500s, belly-cheer or belly-timber is a brilliantly evocative word for fine food or gluttonous eating.

DONIFEROUS

If you’re doniferous then you’re carrying a present. The act of offering a present is called oblation, which originally was (and, in some contexts, still is) a religious term referring specifically to the presentation of money or donation of goods to the church. But since the 15th century it’s been used more loosely to refer to the action of offering or presenting any gift or donation, or, in particular, a gratuity.

POURBOIRE

Speaking of gratuities, a tip or donation of cash intended to be spent on drink is a pourboire—French, literally, for “for drink.” Money given in lieu of a gift, meanwhile, has been known as present-silver since the 1500s.

TOE-COVER

A cheap and totally useless present? In 1940s slang, that was a toe-cover.

SCURRYFUNGE

Probably distantly related to words like scour or scourge, scurryfunge first appeared in the late 18th century, with meanings of “to lash” or, depending on region, “to scour.” By the mid-1900s, however, things had changed: perhaps in allusion to scrubbing or working hard enough to abrade a surface, scurryfunge came to mean “to hastily tidy a house” before unexpected company arrive.

CRAPULENCE

Once all the festive dust and New Year confetti has settled, here’s a word for the morning after the night before: crapulence, as the Oxford English Dictionary puts it, is an 18th-century word for “sickness or indisposition resulting from excess in drinking or eating.”

Again, happy holidays!

Kara Church

Pronouns: she/her

Technical Editor, Advisory

Editor’s Corner Archives: https://episystechpubs.com/

Posted by: episystechpubs | December 21, 2021

Editor’s Corner: ‘Tis the Season—Let’s Have Wine

Good morning, and happy holidays!

If we’re lucky, we’ll have the opportunity to spend time with family and friends this holiday season. You might even be invited to someone else’s home, and if you are so fortunate, you might want to take a bottle of wine. But if you’re like me, someone who enjoys an occasional glass of wine, but who cannot really tell much difference between the taste of Charles Shaw ($2.00 to $3.00 per bottle) and Domaine Romanée-Conti ($19,700–$551, 314)—not that I’ve ever had it—you might also want to know how to pronounce the name of the kind of wine you take with you.

So, here’s a short primer on how to sound like a wine expert. Let’s start with the name of the person who actually is an expert on fine wine:

  • sommelier (sawm-uh-l-YAY)

And now for the wines themselves. Following are seventeen types of wine and a pronunciation guide. Join me in at least sounding like I know what I’m drinking. Happy holidays!

Wine Pronunciation
cabernet sauvignon CAB-er-nay soh-vin-YOH(n)
gewurztraminer geh-VERTS-truh-meen-er
grenache gruh-NOSH
montepulciano d’Abruzzo mon-TAY-pul-chee-AH-noh dah-BRUTE-so
moscato moh-SKAH-toh
muscadet moos-kah-DAY
pinot noir PEE-noh nwar
riesling REECE-ling
rioja ree-OH-hah
sangiovese san-jo-VAY-zee
sauvignon blanc SOH-vin-yoh(n) blohnk
semillon seh-mee-YHO(n)
shiraz shih-RAHZ or shih-RAHS
syrah see-RAH
tempranillo tem-prah-NEE-yoh
vinho verde VEEN-yo VAYR-deh
zinfandel ZIN-fuhn-del

Donna Bradley Burcher |Technical Editor, Advisory | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Ext: 765432

Pronouns she/her/hers

About Editor’s Corner

Editor’s Corner keeps your communication skills sharp by providing information on grammar, punctuation, JHA style, and all things English. As editors, we spend our days reading, researching, and revising other people’s writing. We love to spend a few extra minutes to share what we learn with you and keep it fun while we’re doing it.

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Posted by: episystechpubs | December 16, 2021

Editor’s Corner: Cedilla and Circumflex

Good morning, everybody!

As I prepared to write about a few more diacritical marks today, I lined up my topics: cedilla and circumflex. I was excited because I was going to rhyme cedilla with the city Sevilla, where I went to school for a short while. Well, guess what? Cedilla rhymes with chinchilla! Now the song I was going to write about the cedilla in Sevilla has to be scrapped!

Most of today’s information is from an article on the Merriam-Webster web page, What is a diacritic anyway? We’ll look at two more marks, where they’re from, and what they mean.

Cedilla

The cedilla is the diacritical mark ( ̧ ) that is placed under the letter “c,” as in the spelling of the French words façade and garçon, to indicate that the letter is to be pronounced s, rather than k. Cedilla is from the name of the obsolete Spanish letter “ç” and is a diminutive form of ceda, itself from zeda, which once denoted the letter “z.”

Circumflex

Now this next one might be a little more confusing. First, I’ll provide M-W’s definition of this symbol.

Circumflex most commonly refers to the mark ( ˆ ), but in ancient times it designated other "bent" marks ( ⌢ or ˜ ). The name derives from a Latin verb meaning "to bend around," and it is used for the symbol placed above a long vowel to indicate a rising-falling tone in Greek and to mark length, contraction, or another particular pronunciation of a vowel in other languages, such as French—for example, the pronunciations of château (castle), crêpe, and maître d’ (master of).

KC – A side note here for you language-lovers. I was taught that in French, this mark meant the letter with the circumflex used to have an “S” before it. So, château was chasel in old French, castle in English; crêpe was crespe, which meant “wrinkled pancake” in olden days; and maître was maistre, or master in English. When you see a word in French with the circumflex, try the “S” trick. It might help you remember what the word means in English!

And I’m sure many of you are asking, “Isn’t that also called a caret?” This is where the trickiness comes into play. The caret and the circumflex accent are very similar looking, but they have different uses. A true caret is used in proofreading and editing (when you’re doing it by hand with a red pencil). It is used (and sometimes broadened) to indicate additional material needs to be added to the text at that point.

According to Wikipedia, “there is a similar mark, ^, that has a variety of uses in programming, mathematics, and other contexts. The symbol was included in typewriters and computer printers so that circumflex accents could be overprinted on letters (as in ô or ŵ). The character became reused in computer languages for many other purposes, and over time its appearance was enlarged and lowered, making it unusable as an accent mark.”

They go on to say that it is sometimes called a caret, but the true caret is the one used for proofreading. I think you’ll be forgiven if you forget to call it a circumflex, though.

Cedilla the chinchilla

Kara Church

Pronouns: she/her

Technical Editor, Advisory

Editor’s Corner Archives: https://episystechpubs.com/

Posted by: episystechpubs | December 14, 2021

Editor’s Corner: Title, tilde, and tittle

When I read Grammar Girl’s article about Caesar and that famous phrase “Veni, vidi, vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered) I definitely did not expect to end up at today’s destination: title, tilde, and tittle. That’s the fun thing about English and traveling—you never know where exploration will lead you!

The article mentioned that Caesar annihilated King Pharnaces and his army in four hours. The words “Veni, vidi, vici” were inscribed on a large placard carried at the front of Caesar’s victory parade when he returned to Rome. This placard was called a titulus. And here is where my journey began.

I started with titulus and looked for a definition. In Wikipedia, I found this:

Titulus

The Latin word for "title", "label" or "inscription" (plural tituli)

A term used for the labels or captions naming figures or subjects in art, which were commonly added in classical and medieval art, and remain conventional in Eastern Orthodox icons. In particular the term describes the conventional inscriptions on stone that listed the honors of an individual or that identified boundaries in the Roman Empire. A titulus pictus is a merchant’s mark or other commercial inscription.

A sign bearing the condemned person’s name and crime, attached to the top of the cross. [KC – Probably the most famous of these was the
Titulus Crucis, the piece of wood that read
Iesus
Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum
("Jesus the Nazarene King of the Jews"), shortened to INRI.]

Here is an example of a titulus:

The next three words are all derived from the word titulus. These are their etymologies from the Online Etymology dictionary. They might be a little tough to read, but I think they give you a good history of where the words came from and how they changed here and there over the years. (I shortened them a little so as not to scare you away.)

title (n.)

c. 1300, "inscription, heading," from Old French title "title or chapter of a book; position; legal permit", and in part from Old English titul, both from Latin titulus "inscription, label, ticket, placard, heading; honorable appellation, title of honor," of unknown origin.

tilde (n.)

1864, from Spanish, metathesis of Catalan title, from vernacular form of Medieval Latin titulus "stroke over an abridged word to indicate missing letters," a specialized sense of Latin titulus, literally "inscription, heading". The mark itself represents an -n- and was used in Medieval Latin manuscripts in an abridged word over a preceding letter to indicate a missing -n- and save space.

tittle (n.)

"Small stroke or point in writing," late 14c., translating Latin apex in Late Latin sense of "accent mark over a vowel," which itself translates Greek keraia (literally "a little horn"), used by the Greek grammarians of the accents and diacritical points, in this case a Biblical translation of Hebrew qots, literally "thorn, prick," used of the little lines and projections by which the Hebrew letters of similar form differ from one another.

(This is borrowed) …from a specialized sense of Latin titulus, which was used in Medieval Latin (and in Middle English and Old French) to indicate "a stroke over an abridged word to indicate letters missing" (and compare Provençal titule "the dot over -i-").

Compare tilde, which is the Spanish form of the same word.

And there’s where I ended up with these words. I hope you find the etymological tale they told as interesting as I did!

Kara Church

Pronouns: she/her

Technical Editor, Advisory

Editor’s Corner Archives: https://episystechpubs.com/

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