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November 24, 2018: Grammar Rules and Myths

What: Editors BC professional development seminar
When: Saturday, November 24, 2018, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Where: Room 381, 3rd floor, BCIT Downtown Campus, 555 Seymour Street, Vancouver | map
Cost: $165 for Editors Canada members ($135 early bird), $230 for non-members ($200 early bird), and $100 for student affiliates. Advance registration required. Registration closes November 20; early-bird rates are in effect through November 13.

In the November workshop, Frances Peck will cover tricky instances of agreement, pronoun case (including everyone’s favourite, who and whom), and modifier form and placement. She’ll discuss the most widespread errors, including comma splices and dangling modifiers. And she’ll investigate some tenacious grammar myths and review the rules that have changed over time. The seminar will include exercises, self-tests, and time for individual questions.

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Meet the Instructor: Frances Peck

Written by Carl Rosenberg; copy edited by Meagan Kus

On Saturday, April 22, Editors BC will present Frances Peck, who will give a full-day workshop called The Secrets of Syntax. In this workshop, participants will look at syntax from various angles and explore how to shape it for different kinds of texts, styles, and readers.

Frances Peck is a Certified Professional Editor (Hon.) and writer who has worked with words for over 25 years. She prepared the Canadian edition of The St. Martin’s Workbook, a grammar exercise book; co-authored the popular HyperGrammar website; and wrote Peck’s English Pointers, a collection of articles and quizzes available on the Language Portal of Canada. A partner with West Coast Editorial Associates, Frances teaches at Douglas College and UBC and gives workshops across Canada. She is also a sometime blogger and a fiction writer.

Carl Rosenberg, a volunteer on Editors BC’s communications and social media committee, spoke to Frances about her work on language and syntax. 

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Book Review: Yes, I Could Care Less

Written by Nancy Tinari; copy edited by Karen Barry

Review of “Yes, I Could Care Less: How to Be a Language Snob Without Being a Jerk” by Bill Walsh.

Yes I Could Care LessYes, I Could Care Less is a funny book for editors. It’s for editors because, like Bill Walsh, we care about words deeply. We recognize aspects of our own personalities in his self-mockery about his obsessive-compulsive quirkiness and his editorial pet peeves. It’s a book for editors rather than a general audience because Walsh, a copy editor at The Washington Post since 1997, tackles some of the most difficult copy-editing conundrums that often stymie editors. Topics include subject-verb agreement “follies” with expressions like “a lot” and “one of those people,” restrictive/non-restrictive clauses with their tricky use of commas and the which/that choice, how to handle trademarks, difficult decisions about hyphenation, and the pitfalls of typesetting technology.

Yes, I Could Care Less reveals what a subjective task editing can be. There are rules, style books, and house style guides, but there are many issues upon which even expert copy editors will not agree. The book opened my eyes about the potential for creativity and what Walsh calls “tiny acts of elegance” in editing work.

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