What It Is (posts below left; rate sheet, client list, other stuff below right)

My name is Bob Land. I am a full-time freelance editor and proofreader, and occasional indexer. This blog is my website.

You'll find my rate sheet and client list here, as well as musings on the life of a freelancer; editing, proofreading, and indexing concerns and issues; my ongoing battles with books and production; and the occasional personal revelation.

Feel free to contact me directly with additional questions: landondemand@gmail.com.

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Saturday, August 8, 2015

Smart and Dumber

I am constantly amazed at what some otherwise highly educated people think passes for correct punctuation.

The authors whose books I read for theological and university presses are supposed to be experts in their fields. Said authors didn't get that way, one presumes, by watching Wheel of Fortune while pounding Cheetos and Mountain Dew.

They've read books and scholarly articles. Lots of them.

So, when writing their own, why do they flaunt the most basic of grammatical standards?

I'm working on a book now in which the author routinely puts punctuation inside close parentheses that should appear outside of it. A few examples follow, with some words changed to protect the guilty:

Some institutions prefix a letter or two to denote the type of image, and some have a code number unique to the donor (especially if they are repeat donors.)

A private lender was anxious about placing his historic firearms in the museum for a required six-month period (the usual display time for firearms is no more than three months.) 

Always leave a note in it’s [sic] place stating: 1) what it is; 2) the date it was removed; 3) the reason it was removed (e.g. for a loan, photography, conservation;) and 4) the approximate date of return. Imagine seeing a note that simply states “Object Taken” (as has been seen.)

Make sure your doors have weather-stripping, sweeps and thresholds (gaskets,) and block all other small areas of possible insect entry.

Do these examples suffice? Imagine 142 pages of this style. Thankfully the volume is short.

The point of the post is that I don't understand how multiple-degreed, professional people who are highly respected in their fields can write sentences as if they're unfamiliar with the concept. 

Another example, which I see frequently enough to drive me to distraction -- and a form of which also resides buried somewhere in this blog -- is

"Where did my car go," Jim wondered?

My question has always been, "Has this author ever seen another publication present punctuation in this way? How can this even look correct, even from a visual standpoint?" 

I guess that's the case if someone has spent a lot of time reading. There are other ways to make it in the world.

. . . Not that I'm familiar with them. I'd say I'm open to suggestions, but at this point I'm pretty untrainable, and you don't want me in your workplace. Not if anyone there likes microwave popcorn.

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