Friday, February 22, 2008

Word of the day: Skintle

(′skint·…ôl) (civil engineering) To set bricks in an irregular fashion so that they are out of alignment with the face by ¼ inch (6 millimeters) or more.

This word is fairly new because it's not in Webster's Unabridged, even in the new-word section. Tip of the cap to Brian "Wretch" Santo for calling this out. His house is apparently one of only a few in his city that's skintled.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

From where I sit...

Before satellites and infrared technologies, sight was a major advantage in hunting, military campaigns and pioneering, to name a few.
I came across the construction today: "From my vantage point, it appears...."
Since vantage means "a position, condition or place affording...a commanding view," vantage point is redundant.

As is...
"Entirely new." That came from the same contributed piece I reviewed.

In an analyst report, I encountered this sentence:
"Having generated clear success on the public Internet, the question becomes whether or not these tools add business value."
Aside from the "public Internet" (because I have yet to come across the private Internet), the construction, while common, is nevertheless weird. It should be "xxx the question is 'do these tools add business value.?'"
"xxxthe issue becomes whether these tools add business value." (whether or not is just lazy grammar).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Period As Statement

Women's Wear Daily reports today that The Wall Street Journal 's planned magazine, Pursuits, which is scheduled to launch in September, has been renamed WSJ. (That's W S J period). WWD quoted a Journal spokesman as saying:

"The three letters happen to be typographically quite pleasing. And its simplicity gives us enormous flexibility visually and semantically."
I haven't been able to track down the font yet, but it's worth noting that down to the period used WSJ., it's different from than The Wall Street Journal masthead type font. That style is Escrow, designed by Cyrus Highsmith, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. Tomaso Capuano, who designed the quarterly Times of London supplement, Times Luxx, is designing WSJ.
In an era in which video rules our lives, words are devalued and typography seems quainter than quill pens, this is a fabulous story. The Journal, in fact, always has placed a premium on typography since the paper until relatively recently was text heavy, black and white and ran few graphics. And to my knowledge, The Journal is the only newspaper in North America that puts a period at the end of its name.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Many, Multiple and Myriad

In writing, people tend to hunt for $10 words when the nickel version works. "Many" is just one of those words. Like an old sweater, reach for it when you need it. Often, in an attempt to sound more serious or professorial, people will use "multiple." It's fine, but I'm not crazy about it. It reminds me of math class.
Then there are times when writers drop back in the pocket, look down field and go for the long bomb: "Myriad."
It's a good word, although it can sound a little pompous, but, hey, sometimes it's good to thrown down like that. It's almost always misused in a sentence: "...the result of a myriad of factors."
That's essentially saying "it's the result of a lot of a lot factors."
Proper grammar, for instance as an adjective, would be "There are myriad reasons the Giants will lose 100 games this season, but we can start with the starting nine."

It's a noun and an adjective meaning a very great or indefinitely great number of things. It's from the Latin myria, meaning 10,000.


A couple of recent updates to the AP Stylebook online:


A person of Asian birth or descent who lives in the U.S. When possible, refer to a person's country of origin. For example: Filipino-American or Indian-American. Follow the person's preference. See nationalities and race, and race entries.

heart attack, heart failure, cardiac arrest

A heart attack (myocardial infarction) occurs when one or more arteries supplying blood to the heart becomes blocked. Heart failure is a chronic condition that occurs when a weakened heart can no longer effectively pump blood. Cardiac arrest, or sudden cardiac arrest, occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating. It can be due to a heart attack, a heart rhythm problem, or as a result of electrocution or other trauma.


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