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Rob Reinalda
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After a 28-year career as a print journalist, Rob Reinalda moved to online publishing five years ago. He writes about language and writing. Follow him on Twitter @word_czar.

Entries by Rob Reinalda

Proofreaders, Are You Missing These Easy Fixes?

(6) Comments | Posted March 19, 2015 | 1:52 PM

The copy's been proofread, and your article (newsletter, e-mail, whatever) has been published--in print or online.

You're perusing it, admiring your handiwork. Then you see it. Ack! A rudimentary, easily fixed error is there in the text. It's standard-size type, but to your eyes it's in 54-point Bodoni Bold.

...
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The 12 Days of Editing

(0) Comments | Posted December 22, 2014 | 5:30 PM

Sing along; you know the tune.

On the 12th day of Christmas, the Internet gave to me...

12 misplaced apostrophe's.

11 tautological, repetitive, superfluous, iterative redundancies.

10 anthropomorphisms, who need love, too.

9 gratuitous exclamation points!!!!!!!!!

8 run-on sentences where the predicate seems...

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Confused by the Comma? Here's Your Guide

(54) Comments | Posted July 31, 2014 | 10:00 AM

The comma is such a little mark, but it can prompt big confusion -- and heated debate -- about its use.

There's a lot to cover, so let's jump right in. (Believe me, we will not cover everything about commas here, but we'll give it a shot.)

Compound sentences

A...

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Is Your Usage Right When You Say 'Grammar'?

(17) Comments | Posted March 25, 2014 | 3:38 PM

People love to write about writing. I edit such articles frequently.

All too often, these pieces are titled "10 essential grammar tips" or the like, and the author proceeds to talk about common errors in writing that aren't actually grammatical in nature, or he or she compares anvils and...

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Are You Guilty of Using These Malapropisms?

(6) Comments | Posted March 19, 2014 | 4:49 PM

In their spoken and written expressions, many people use, misuse, and abuse words in the most extraordinary ways.

To set things straight -- and with a nod to Mrs. Malaprop (go on, Google it) -- I offer the following glossary, with which all writers, editors, and other communicators should...

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5 Words You're Probably Misusing

(101) Comments | Posted March 13, 2014 | 11:06 AM

We probably have all played the game of Telephone. Well, not all together, but each of us at one point or another.

The idea is simple: A message starts at one end of the chain, and it gets whispered -- just once -- to the next player. That player...

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The Grammar Mistake You Just Might Be Making

(103) Comments | Posted March 4, 2014 | 11:51 AM

A writer recently offered this:

Minutes after walking in the door, the phone rings.

I would hazard a guess that it's a mobile phone.

That's an example of a dangling modifier; the construction suggests that it was the phone that walked in. Logic prevails, so we realize that's not...

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Purge These Redundancies and Needless Phrases

(264) Comments | Posted February 7, 2014 | 3:22 PM

I commute.

Not every day but a couple of times a week, I walk to the train station and catch the 7:50 (or occasionally the 8:20) and ride into Chicago.

At the station I hear this announcement:

"Metra commuters, your attention, please. An inbound train to Chicago...

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Are You Botching These Smart-Sounding Words?

(399) Comments | Posted January 30, 2014 | 3:52 PM

If I actually had a craw, here's what would stick in it -- the misuse of words. More specifically, I cringe when people use certain words to sound smarter than they are, only to reveal themselves as dolts.

Perhaps the most common of these offenses occurs with the lengthening --...

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Why You Should Never Use Absolutes

(9) Comments | Posted January 22, 2014 | 4:43 PM

There's nothing worse than sentences that begin, "There's nothing worse than..."

Unless, of course, you're being ironic to illustrate a point; then it's acceptable. Quite brilliant, actually.

In the frenzy to be heard above the online cacophony, many writers resort to absolutes. Rather than strengthening their message, though, such abuses...

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Linguistic Mistakes Everyone Has to Stop Making in 2014

(191) Comments | Posted January 15, 2014 | 5:27 PM

Perhaps more than others, writers can fall into bad habits. (By writers, in this case, I mean anyone who puts his or her thoughts down in words.)

Words are everywhere, and many are strung together recklessly. People tend to pick up errant usages as easily as black velvet picks...

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Parsing Chris Christie

(12) Comments | Posted January 9, 2014 | 11:58 AM

"What I've seen today for the first time is unacceptable," N.J. Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday. "I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge."

As the...

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