Overmorrow

Have you ever wished there was a simpler way to say ‘the day after tomorrow’? Well, I’m here to provide you with the ideal word: overmorrow.

morning-sunrise-in-the-alpsIt is probably modelled on the German word übermorgen (über meaning ‘over’ and morgen meaning ‘morning’ or ‘tomorrow’). The German language has retained the use of übermorgen, but sadly overmorrow has become obsolete in English. I think that’s a shame – overmorrow expresses a useful concept concisely and without confusion.

The OED gives the first recorded use of overmorrow as in 1535, but I’m disappointed to report that I haven’t been able to find many examples. I’m slightly surprised as I had thought it might be popular in contemporary fantasy or historical fiction; it would certainly fit in nicely.

“‘Eh, no good. We’ll change that,’ she said. ‘You’ll start overmorrow.'”

– Greer Macallister, The Magician’s Lie, 2015


Sources:

 

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‘Role’ and ‘roll’

Mixing up role and roll is a common mistake. Role is a noun, but roll can be a verb or a noun. You can find more comprehensive definitions of roll – I’ve just listed the main uses here (it’s a really long list otherwise) – but mine should give you an idea of the difference between the two words.

Role

  • a task or function

Roll

  • strawberry-caketo move by turning over and over; to rotate
  • to move or run on wheels
  • to turn something over and over to form a ball or cylinder
  • to flatten something
  • to reverberate; a prolonged reverberating sound
  • to appear like waves; to undulate
  • something that has been rolled up to form a cylinder shape
  • a small bread (enough for one person)
  • an official list or register
  • a swaying or unsteady movement

My tip: associate roll with ball (balls roll and you can roll something pliable into a ball) and/or poll (you need to be on the electoral roll to use a polling station).


Sources:

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

Proot

For the topic of this blog post, I’ve picked a word that has a very limited use. But it does allow me to use a picture of an adorable-looking donkey.

donkeyProot is a word said to donkeys (or mules) to encourage them to move faster. Its origin is unknown. It could be related to the word proo, which is used to call cows and command horses. My understanding is that proo is imitative of a sound the animals naturally respond to.

The first recorded use is found in Robert Louis Stevenson’s account of his solo hiking trip through part of France. Modestine was the donkey who carried Stevenson’s belongings.

“‘Proot!’ seemed to have lost its virtue. I prooted like a lion, I prooted mellifluously like a sucking-dove; but Modestine would be neither softened nor intimidated.”

– Robert Louis Stevenson, Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes, 1879.


Sources:

‘Allowed’ and ‘aloud’

Allowed and aloud are homophones. It’s a common mistake to use these two in place of each other. (Although I suspect some incorrect uses are because of predictive text functions.) Aloud can be substituted for ‘out loud’; allowed is the past tense of the verb allow.

musicAloud

  • audibly

Allow

  • to permit
  • to set aside
  • to acknowledge or admit

My tip: aloud is audible; allowed is permitted.


Sources:

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

 

Jirble

spilt-milkHere’s a word for the next time you spill your hot or cold beverage of choice: jirble.

Jirble means ‘to spill by shaking or unsteady movement of the container’ or ‘to pour out unsteadily’ – usually due to carelessness. It is a Scottish word that is supposed to be imitative of the sound that is often made when liquids are jirbled.

“I jirbled the milk while I was speaking.”

The first use that the OED lists is from 1760 and the latest example given is from 1827. It would be a real shame if jirble didn’t make it into a few pieces of contemporary writing…


Sources:

  • Dictionary of the Scots Language Online
  • Oxford English Dictionary Online
  • Pixabay (image)

‘Foreword’ and ‘forward’

Foreword and forward are often listed as homophones, but whether this is true for your own speech probably depends on regional variations. I pronounce them differently, but I believe that when spoken in some other (particularly American) accents they sound the same.

Foreword

  • an introductory statement to a book

Forward

  • directed, travelling or moving aheadforward-arrow
  • at, in, near or towards the front
  • onward in order to make progress
  • bold, disrespectful or overfamiliar
  • well developed or advanced
  • of or relating to the future or favouring change
  • an attacking player in various sports
  • towards or at a place ahead or in advance
  • to send on to a destination
  • to advance or promote

My tip: a foreword is composed using words.


Sources:

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

‘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)