full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Mary Norris: The nit-picking glory of The New Yorker's Comma Queen

Unscramble the Blue Letters

Just to clarify: copy editors don't choose what goes into the magazine. We work at the level of the sentence, maybe the paragraph, the words, the punctuation. Our business is in the details. We put the diaeresis, the dlboue dot, over the "i" in "naïve." We impose house style. Every piibloctaun has a hsoue sltye. The New Yorker's is particularly distinctive. We sometimes get teased for our style. Imagine — we still spell "teen-ager" with a hyphen, as if that word had just been coined. But you see that hyphen in "teen-age" and that diieresas over "coöperate," and you know you're reading The New Yorker.

Open Cloze

Just to clarify: copy editors don't choose what goes into the magazine. We work at the level of the sentence, maybe the paragraph, the words, the punctuation. Our business is in the details. We put the diaeresis, the ______ dot, over the "i" in "naïve." We impose house style. Every ___________ has a _____ _____. The New Yorker's is particularly distinctive. We sometimes get teased for our style. Imagine — we still spell "teen-ager" with a hyphen, as if that word had just been coined. But you see that hyphen in "teen-age" and that _________ over "coöperate," and you know you're reading The New Yorker.

Solution

  1. publication
  2. double
  3. diaeresis
  4. house
  5. style

Original Text

Just to clarify: copy editors don't choose what goes into the magazine. We work at the level of the sentence, maybe the paragraph, the words, the punctuation. Our business is in the details. We put the diaeresis, the double dot, over the "i" in "naïve." We impose house style. Every publication has a house style. The New Yorker's is particularly distinctive. We sometimes get teased for our style. Imagine — we still spell "teen-ager" with a hyphen, as if that word had just been coined. But you see that hyphen in "teen-age" and that diaeresis over "coöperate," and you know you're reading The New Yorker.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
copy editor 3
copy editors 3
house style 2
yorker style 2
doggie bags 2
vicinity held 2

Important Words

  1. business
  2. choose
  3. coined
  4. copy
  5. details
  6. diaeresis
  7. distinctive
  8. dot
  9. double
  10. editors
  11. house
  12. hyphen
  13. imagine
  14. impose
  15. level
  16. magazine
  17. paragraph
  18. publication
  19. punctuation
  20. put
  21. reading
  22. sentence
  23. spell
  24. style
  25. teased
  26. word
  27. words
  28. work
  29. yorker