Check out this great piece, "8 words that may not mean what you think they mean."
For the record, we concur with article author Laura Hale Brockway's directive to stop what you're doing and see this movie (The Princess Bride) immediately if you have not previously.
That said, we have never been able to find what is incorrect in Vizzini's use of "inconcievable." Webster's give the definition as "impossible to comprehend." Contextually, it's just fine.
That nitpick does not, in any way, detract from our enjoyment of this story!
We have encountered this twice in recent weeks -- either a straight-up error, or the result of auto-correct undermining the writer's meaning: the acronym AIDS rendered as "Aids."
One instance was in looking over a fundraising piece, the other when reviewing a medical information form from a dentist's office. All of the healthcare fields, and a few of the charitable/non-profit ones, need to be on the lookout for this specific error.
Auto-correct saves us from a lot of mistakes...but opens up whole new possibilities for embarrassment. If there are acronyms that you use regularly in your line of work, make a Ctrl+F review of them part of your standard editing/revision process, in order to ensure that they are all properly capitalized.
When abbreviating a multi-word name, the capitals are retained, partly as a clue that the resulting "word" stands for something else. "AIDS" represents the the term "Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome." Hence, must always be given in caps.
Both "HIV," the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (that causes AIDS) and "AIDS" are abbreviations. However, AIDS is also an acronym, as the abbreviation creates a name that is read as a word. The alternative would be to refer to AIDS by its individual letters, as the disease ay-eye-dee-ess.
Whether or not an abbreviation is used as an acronym is not always obvious. The initial letters of the World Health Organization (WHO) creates a readable word, but the agency does not go by "the WHO (hoo)," as it could create confusion with the band of the same name. Ergo, even though it could be an acronym, it isn't used as such.
So, CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), IRS (Internal Revenue Service), BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) and IRA (Irish Republican Army) are abbreviations. NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and IRA (Individual Retirement Account) are abbreviations that are also acronyms.
For vastly more on this topic, visit Wikipedia.
5/7/2012 1 Comment
We are intermittently called upon by our friends at Image Management to do various types of content development work for them. We were privileged recently to complete proofreading/revisions on a 12-page product brochure for one of their on-going client accounts. This particular brochure includes applying the client's "house" style, as well as checking for correct usage, spelling, punctuation and general formatting.
Bonus: Image Management has recently re-built their website. So, if you haven't visited it in a while...time to check it out again, and appreciate their fun, sharp new design!
Insert commas between coordinate adjectives. That is, words that equally describe something.
If unsure, ask yourself if you can change the order of the adjectives without changing the meaning of the sentence. If so, they are coordinate, and should have commas between them.
Example № 1: The orchestra played a slow, beautiful, familiar tune.
Note that if one augmented the statement, like so: The orchestra played
a slow, beautiful, vaguely familiar tune -- "vaguely" is describing
(modifying) "familiar," so those two words stay together, undivided by a
Example № 2, one of the best insults ever written: "What kind of spindly, ricket-ridden, milky, wizened, dim-eyed, gammy-handed, limpy line of things will you beget?" (The Lion in Winter, 1968 -- delivered by Katharine Hepburn as Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine to Peter O'Toole's King Henry II.)
Each of those delightfully biting adjectives equally describe "line of things," and the order is relatively unimportant (when rattling it off as a quote, we rarely get them in their actual order, nor the same arrangement twice). According to the test, commas go in between.
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