April 23, 2018

Proofreading Tips and Strategies

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Everyone makes mistakes. Even people who know better. No matter how much you know about language, you're never immune from typos. Here are some strategies for proofreading to help you catch every one.

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Whoa, There. What's with 'Woah' and 'Whoah'?
Posted by June on April 23, 2018
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Like a lot of little girls, I was obsessed with horses. I found a trove of horse stories in my school library and dived head first into "Old Bones the Wonder Horse" by Mildred Mastin Pace and "The Golden Mare" by William Corbin.

By the time I was 9, I'd seen the word "whoa" in print so many times, it was unfathomable that anyone might spell this horse command differently. Then, about a year ago, I noticed a stranger on social media responding to a news story with "woah."

"Woah"? Really?

Not long after, I saw this spelling again. Then, just a few days before this writing, I saw a tweet from Atlantic magazine editor David Frum responding to a news item with (get this): "whoah.

Here's my recent column on how to spell it correctly. 

June Casagrande is a writer and journalist whose weekly grammar/humor column, “A Word, Please,” appears in community newspapers in California, Florida, and Texas. more

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  • 'Whom' vs. 'Who' at the Beginning of a Sentence

    June A.S.: Everything you said is right, but I'm not sure which comment you're directing it at. Are you getting confused by passive voice as it comes into play in these sentences? "I called him" uses the object pronoun "him" because, as you said, is an object. When you invert that sentence to say "He was called," it's not the same sentence structure. In passive voice, the object of the action (so to speak) is made the grammatical subject of the sentence. So "He was called" does, as you said, required the subject pronoun "he." I don't believe anyone said anything to the contrary.

  • 'Whom' vs. 'Who' at the Beginning of a Sentence

    A.S. WRONG! If "Whom was called into the office" is a question then it's the equivalent of asking "Him was called into the office?" which is obviously wrong. If it's a statement it's still wrong. Look, it's not difficult: Me, him, her, them and whom are objects. I, he, she, they and who are subjects. If the person in the sample sentence is the object (as indicated by "whom") then the office must be the subject but there's no verb for the subject, so the person must be the subject and is therefore who. Understand?

  • E-mail vs. Email

    June Punctuation rules for American English are indeed "always" put the period or comma before the closing quote mark. British style is as you described (that is, it follows a certain logic). But American rules are rooted in a printing convention that originated from aesthetics concerns. I'm quite confident that this American convention will go the way of the dinosaur. Wikipedia is proof: Their style is situational in the way you described. But for now, it's the rule: The comma always goes "inside," as does a "period."

  • A Not-So-Thrilling Typo

    June Oops. Fixing now. (Better late than never.)

  • A Not-So-Thrilling Typo

    JR "An" Not-So-Thrilling Typo?