Comma, the Commander

Commas are tiny, versatile, omnipotent commanders of the punctuation weaponry, helping us mortal editors who wage an everyday Kurukshetra against the evil of loss-of-meaning, the Incomprehensibility.


Endashes reach out to hyphens…

I confess – I learnt endashes and emdashes only after I became a copy editor. In my previous post, "I have wondered what difference will it make when a reader sees an en dash." For very long, I doubted if there is any reader – OK, when I say any, I meant any reader who … Continue reading Endashes reach out to hyphens…

A nerd and some hyphens

I have wondered what difference will it make when a reader sees an en dash. Will he think that it was some wrongly elongated hyphen, or will she make some educated guess? When I began as a copy editor, I hardly imagined that hyphens and en dashes are making the lives of so many editors' … Continue reading A nerd and some hyphens

“Such as” parenthetical phrases

Commas are most probably the tiniest creature that can cause heartbreaks to any copy editor. The simple reason is that they are not solely governed by rules. Arguably, using commas have as many exceptions as there are rules. Consider such as for example. The such as phrase may, or may not, take commas based on … Continue reading “Such as” parenthetical phrases

Does ET have a copydesk?

Sorry to be blunt, but that was the first question that came to my mind after reading this article in the Economic Times yesterday. I'm complaining not about the use - rather the misuse - of commas in the text, nor about the sloppy writing. I'm startled by the obvious errors made in the copy. You … Continue reading Does ET have a copydesk?

The serial semicolons

If you are a copyeditor, I'm sure you know serial commas, aka Oxford comma. That's the comma that precedes the last element in series as in He loves reading, editing, teaching, and leading the team. Yes, that one that follows "teaching". You as well know that serial comma is predominantly the style followed in US … Continue reading The serial semicolons