‘Marten’ and ‘martin’

martenYou might be most familiar with these homophones as a brand of footwear (Dr. Martens) and a common male name (Martin). But if you find yourself writing or reading about wildlife, it is important to know the difference in that context.

Marten

  • a small, weasel-like, omnivorous mammal

Martin

  • a songbird of the swallow family

My tip: a marten looks like a weasel; a martin is a bird.


Sources:

 

‘Peal’ and ‘peel’

It’s nearly Christmas! To celebrate, I offer you some homophones that I have tenuously linked to the season: peal and peel.

bellsPeal

  • a long loud echoing sound (such as that made by bells)
  • to sound with a peal or peals
  • a set of bells
  • a series of changes rung on bells

Peel

  • to remove the skin, rind or outer covering of
  • to come off in flakes
  • to lose parts of an outer layer or covering, usually in strips or small pieces
  • the skin or rind of a fruit (such as that found in mincemeat)

I don’t have a simple mnemonic for remembering this one; if you have any suggestions, please let me know below. I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!


Sources:

  • Collins English Dictionary, 2009
  • Oxford Dictionaries Online
  • Pixabay (image)

 

Could BSI marks help you?

A great deal of editing and proofreading is done onscreen, but that doesn’t mean that professional editors and proofreaders have stopped using proof-correction marks. The UK has one set of industry-recognised symbols: British Standards Institution (BSI) marks for copy preparation and proof correction. Other regions have their own industry standard symbols or may also use the BSI marks. In case you haven’t seen BSI marks, here are a few in use:

proof-correction-marks

They are basically a type of code used to save time, save space and improve clarity. There is often very little space to mark corrections on proofs, and the corrections have to be understandable to everyone in the publishing process (particularly the typesetter). I find they save a lot of time compared to writing instructions out in full, and this led me to think that they are a resource that some authors might find useful.

BSI marks aren’t any use if you are editing your work in Word or a similar program, but if you like to edit and proofread on hard copy, I think they might be worth dabbling with. Instead of wordy scribbles, you could have concise marks. Proof-correction marks are designed to convey exactly what needs to be done in a simple and clear manner. They don’t take up much space and can comfortably accommodate several changes in close proximity to each other. Pages look much cleaner and less cluttered.

The principal symbols are simple to understand and even easier to put on paper. Marking an insertion or deletion is quick and effortless. It doesn’t take long for it to become second nature. And if you are working on the final layout, there are efficient symbols for moving and adjusting matter. You should no longer forget what it was you were trying to tell yourself to change because the symbols will make it obvious.

For professional editors and proofreaders, it is important to learn how to use the marks to the correct industry standards. For writers marking up their own work, it just matters that you are consistent. If you would like to give BSI marks a go, you can buy a summary sheet from the British Standards Institution or from the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (it’s cheaper from the SfEP). You may also find it handy to be familiar with proof-correction marks when working with editors, proofreaders and other publishing professionals.

Do you use proof-correction symbols? Or have you developed your own mark-up system?


Further information:

 

‘Ibidem’ and ‘idem’

Ibidem and idem are both Latin words, are both usually printed in italic and are both often found in reading lists, references and bibliographies. They don’t mean the same thing and they should be used in the correct context. Their respective abbreviations are similar and are therefore easy to get muddled up.

two-booksIbidem

Ibidem means ‘in the same place’ but is normally used to mean ‘in the same source’ (such as a book or chapter). It is employed to avoid repeating a reference and it is often abbreviated to ibid. or ib.

Idem

Idem means ‘the same’ but is normally used to mean ‘the same person’. It is used to avoid repeating an author’s name when works by that author are cited in succession and it is sometimes abbreviated to id.

Unless you are an academic or a keen reader of non-fiction, you might not come across ibidem and idem very often. My tip if you do have to use them is to try to associate ibidem with sources that are often books and idem with a person’s identity.


Sources:

  • Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage, 4th edition
  • Oxford Dictionaries Online
  • Pixabay (image)

Rebarbative

macaqueRebarbative is a borrowing from French. I’ve decided to add it to my vocabulary because one can never have too many synonyms for ‘objectionable’, ‘repellent’ or ‘fearsome’.

The French word rébarbatif means ‘repellent’ or ‘disagreeable’, and it is derived from the Middle French word rebarber. Rebarber means ‘to oppose’ and itself derives from the Old French words re (meaning ‘back’ or ‘again’) and barbe (meaning ‘beard’). It is therefore thought to have the literal meaning of ‘to stand beard to beard against’.

The OED’s first listed usage is from 1892 but I like this example:

“Still, everyone appeared to be extremely nice, except that that Dr. Greenfield man was a trifle rebarbative. (This was a word which Toby had recently learnt at school and could not now conceive of doing without.)”

– Iris Murdoch, The Bell, 1958


Sources:

 

 

Working with Raynaud’s

I’ve mentioned before that I have Raynaud’s syndrome. It’s a fairly common condition that affects the supply of blood to parts of the body, usually the hands and feet.

The temperature has recently dipped into the minus figures and managing Raynaud’s has become a significant part of my work routine. I need to be able to use my hands to type and to mark up accurately on hard copy, so keeping warm is extremely important. You might think that I could just whack the heating up and be done with it, but it doesn’t seem to work like that (and I wear contact lenses – the central heating dries them up into tiny plastic shards of agony). Also, all-day heating is really expensive.

I start each day with a brisk walk to get the blood pumping. I find it an effective way to mentally set myself up for the day and the dog is delightful company. It is, of course, important to wrap up warmly (including a hat because so much warmth escapes from the top of your head) and wear proper walking shoes – I recently changed mine because they had started to leak and that’s a sure-fire way to turn your feet into ice blocks.

2016-11-08-08-54-00

I then do the following during the day:

  • Wear warm and comfortable clothes. Anything that feels restrictive is a no-no. Socks and multiple layers are musts.
  • Wear fingerless gloves. I have several pairs and some of them contain silver, which is supposed to minimise heat loss (and it does in my experience).
  • Put a hot water bottle under my desk to rest my feet on. I find warming my feet helps to warm the rest of me quicker.
  • Keep a blanket over the back of my chair so I can put it over my legs if I need to.
  • Make sure I keep moving. I try to move my feet around when I’m sitting at my desk and I get up and walk around at least once every hour to stimulate my circulation.
  • Have a hot drink in the morning and the afternoon between meals. I find just holding a warm mug soothes and loosens my hands.
  • Have a hot meal at lunch. The body needs fuel to keep warm and the warmth of the food will also help. I like soup and pasta (I probably like pasta too much).

These are very simple things that make a big difference, and the time I lose due to an attack has drastically reduced.

Do you have Raynaud’s? Does it affect you when you’re working?  Do you have any tips for keeping warm? I’d love to read your experiences.


Further reading:

‘Mnemonic’ and ‘pneumonic’

This post is brought to you thanks to Johanna Levene:

“Next post? Mnemonic vs. pneumonic. Suggested due to my spellcheck’s struggle to spell mnemonic.”

Mnemonic and pneumonic are, as well as being nightmares to spell, frequently used in place of each other. It is also important to note that while most people are familiar with a mnemonic device, it is possible to refer to a pneumonic device (medical equipment used in relation to the lungs).

letterswoodenMnemonic

  • a memory aid or way of remembering something (often an idea association or a pattern of letters)

Pneumonic

  • of or relating to the lungs
  • related to or affected by pneumonia

My tip: a mnemonic helps the memory; pneumonic is about lungs.


Sources:

‘White’ and ‘wight’

I’m jumping on the Halloween bandwagon with this week’s homophones: white and wight. I sometimes read people have been to the ‘Isle of White’ or would like to discuss the actions of the ‘Wight Walkers’ in Game of Thrones.

ghostsWhite

  • the colour (such as that of milk or snow)*
  • pale or light in colour
  • a person or people with pale or light-coloured skin
  • counter-revolutionary

Wight

  • a living being (in archaic usage)
  • a ghost, spirit or other supernatural being
  • a specific shipping forecast area covering part of the English Channel (‘Wight’)

My tip: a wight could be a ghost.

*I’m aware scientists may disagree with referring to white as a colour but it’s acceptable to do so in general usage.


Sources:

‘Moose’ and ‘mousse’

The misuse of moose and mousse is another one of those mix-ups that can be slightly amusing. If I read something like “I ordered a moose for dessert” or  “we photographed a mousse in the wild” I can’t help but play those little scenarios out in my mind (but then I am easily amused).

mooseMoose

  • a large deer with big, flattened antlers (also referred to as an elk)

Mousse

  • a smooth, light dish usually made with cream and egg whites
  • the mass of tiny bubbles on top of a sparkling wine
  • a foamy substance used to style hair or as a cosmetic or skin care product; to style using mousse
  • the emulsion of oil and water after an oil spill

My tip: a mousse is often a dessert.


Sources:

  • Collins English Dictionary, 2009
  • Oxford Dictionaries Online

Scrumdiddlyumptious

This week the world marked 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl. He has been one of my favourite authors since I was very young, and I would highly recommend his autobiographies if you haven’t yet read them.

cookiesThis week’s interesting word is one that is famously associated with Dahl. And it has relevance for me because it is my birthday soon and my sister always treats me to an afternoon tea that can only be described as scrumdiddlyumptious.

Scrumdiddlyumptious means ‘delicious’ or ‘extremely tasty’. It can also be used to describe an attractive person.

I had always assumed that scrumdiddlyumptious was coined by Dahl, but it actually originated as US slang in the 1940s. It is a humorous alteration of scrumptious (of which there were many but not all made it into widespread usage). The OED has the first recorded usage as in 1942, but this is the usage most Roald Dahl fans will be familiar with:

“Every human bean is diddly and different. Some is scrumdiddlyumptious and some is uckyslush.”

– Roald Dahl, The BFG, 1982

Roald Dahl was a magnificent human bean, and his books helped to shape who I am today. I will always delight in reading his stories, and I know I am not alone in that.


Sources:

  • Oxford Dictionaries Online
  • Oxford English Dictionary Online
  • Shutterstock (image)