About

I'm Mike Pope. I live in the Seattle area. I've been a technical writer and editor for over 30 years. I'm interested in software, language, music, movies, books, motorcycles, travel, and ... well, lots of stuff.

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Perfect grammar—whether written or spoken—never solves a problem (except the problem of imperfect grammar). It doesn't make a person more creative or a better thinker. It can't turn a bad idea into a good one, or an unclear thought into a clear one. It doesn't guarantee that we will be understood.

Stuart Froman



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Blog Statistics

Dates
First entry - 6/27/2003
Most recent entry - 12/14/2018

Totals
Posts - 2538
Comments - 2589
Hits - 2,103,042

Averages
Entries/day - 0.45
Comments/entry - 1.02
Hits/day - 372

Updated every 30 minutes. Last: 10:38 PM Pacific


  10:47 AM

When I was teaching copyediting recently, I came up with a worksheet that contained 34 (!) sentences that might or might not have had editorial issues. We looked at the worksheet at the beginning of class, then reviewed a bunch of editing guidelines in the Chicago Manual of Style (16th ed.), then reviewed the sentences again at the end of class. Other editorial references we talked about in the class (tho these were not readily available) included dictionaries, the Microsoft Manual of Style, The Copyeditor's Handbook, and Garner's Modern American Usage.

Here is the first half of that set of sentences. See what you can make of them. I'll post my notes (not necessarily answers) for this half in a few days.
  1. Grey whales have found a safe place to breed on Mexico's coast, where programs have been implemented to try to bring the marine mamals back from the brink of extinction.

  2. Commercial radio seemed dead, but college radio gave it a new leash on life.

  3. Madeline Allbright (born May 15, 1937) was the first woman to become the United States Secretry of State.

  4. The list contained an extensive list of do’s and don’t’s for practicing good browsing hygiene.

  5. Reviews have found that the data is flawed in a surprising number of research projects.

  6. 312 people showed up in response to an ad for 2 open positions.

  7. You can buy both .pdf and hardcopy versions of the book.

  8. The division generated $6 hundred thousand in profit on sales of $2.6M.

  9. We ask that you “please” tidy up after yourself.

  10. The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (M. S. A.) was entered in November 1998, originally between the four largest United States tobacco companies and the attorney generals of 46 states.

  11. The reunification of the two Germanies was a political triumph, but culturaly, the differences took a generation to resolve.

  12. The company maintained a page with an FAQ (frequently asked questions) list.

  13. “The Peoples History of the United States” is a highly-regarded “alternative” text that examines the United States’ development from the viewpoint of the so-called “common people.”

  14. The volume of “spam” email forced the website to temporarily suspend operations.

  15. Each user has a unique name within the account, and a set of security credentials not shared with other users.

  16. When signing the Civil Rights act of 1964, L.B.J. reportedly said that the Democratic party had lost the south for a generation.

  17. One vender suggested that the certifying body simply needed to issue more thorough exams.

9 April 2013: Notes/answers for this set of sentences are now posted: Editing Worksheet -- Part 1: Answers.

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