Lapsing Into a Comma A Curmudgeon s Guide to the Many Things That Can Go Wrong in Print And How to Avoid Them No writer s or editor s desk is complete without a battered page bent copy of the AP Stylebook However this not so easy to use reference of journalistic style is often not up to date and leaves repo

  • Title: Lapsing Into a Comma: A Curmudgeon's Guide to the Many Things That Can Go Wrong in Print--And How to Avoid Them
  • Author: BillWalsh
  • ISBN: 9780809225354
  • Page: 321
  • Format: Paperback
  • No writer s or editor s desk is complete without a battered, page bent copy of the AP Stylebook However, this not so easy to use reference of journalistic style is often not up to date and leaves reporters and copyeditors unsatisfied Bill Walsh, copy chief for the Washington Post s business desk, addresses these shortcomings in Lapsing into a Comma In an opinionated, huNo writer s or editor s desk is complete without a battered, page bent copy of the AP Stylebook However, this not so easy to use reference of journalistic style is often not up to date and leaves reporters and copyeditors unsatisfied Bill Walsh, copy chief for the Washington Post s business desk, addresses these shortcomings in Lapsing into a Comma In an opinionated, humorous, and yes, curmudgeonly way, he shows how to apply the basic rules to unique, modern grammar issues Walsh explains how to deal with perplexing situations such as trendy words, foreign terms, and web speak.

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    One thought on “Lapsing Into a Comma: A Curmudgeon's Guide to the Many Things That Can Go Wrong in Print--And How to Avoid Them”

    1. I'm being an asshole and rating this one star instead of the three I think it deserves because I think the author is an asshole. Seems fair. The text is riddled with half-hearted attempts at making jabs at non-white, -cis, -male folks funny. My personal favorite is this part of the entry under gender, sex in the style guide: "An evolution of gender I'm not willing to accept is its politicization. People who content that no sexual behavior should be considered unusual have adopted the word to exp [...]

    2. It's good but I've noticed books by grammar people have a tendency to slide into reactionary talking-points

    3. This was a very fun book to dip in and out of for a few weeks. Its target audience is really folks working in the (dying) print newspaper business rather than the casual reader/writer with a penchant for thinking about style and grammar, but I still got a lot out of it. Walsh brings not only a wealth of editing experience to this book but also a winning and charming wit; for example, when he takes on the rapidly deteriorating standards for grammatical rules governing the proper spelling of names [...]

    4. Although this book is written primarily for newspaper editors and doesn't focus that much on book publishing, it is still a very handy copyediting reference, particularly for more contemporary terms that are still evolving. The tone is humorous and it was a surprisingly entertaining read for a style guide.

    5. It's interesting to see what things different people choose to make care about when it comes to style. This author and I do not have the same ones. But, still a reasonable quick reference if you're working on a newspaper and need to check something.

    6. Now that I've read two of Bill Walsh's books, I'm struck by how much material he reuses. (And yes, I realize that this was his first book, but his third book was easiest to track down at my library, so I started there.) Sure, there may be some issues he's really bothered by, but that doesn't mean he should repeat them in print. You said it well once, Bill; now talk about something new!

    7. Funny to read a 17 year old book covering weird constructions entering the lexicon then, to realize how many of them either dropped off or became totally normal, and to be reminded of how many of our culture wars get fought on a linguistic battlefield.

    8. One complaint I have with this website is the rating system. I wish three stars meant more of a middle ground, but unfortunately, two stars gets the "it was OK" rating. So, on my scale, this book would get three stars, but it was only OK. It was definitely not as entertaining or practical as Lynne Truss's book "Eats, Shoots and Leaves." This book was written more as a reference book, and more for newspaper writers/editors.I did learn some interesting things, but I probably won't remember most of [...]

    9. I loved this book when I first read it a while ago, which is why it originally had a 5-star. However, upon rereading it (with a lot more confidence in my own abilities as a writer and grammarian, realization of its focus on writing for newspapers and such, and the passing of time) I am giving it 4 stars. I love the grouchy humor even when I️ disagree. I love that it’s not too stuffy to read, as opposed to a reference book like a dictionary that you wouldn’t just sit down and read through. [...]

    10. Bill Walsh goes beyond the AP Stylebook by explaining why he makes some style decisions. His explanations about when to hyphenate compound adjectives and verbs was especially useful. I understand his objection to email instead of 3-mail, but don't agree with it. He at least has a reason: the word stands for electronic mail and there fore should be hyphenated. There is a great discussion about why journalists don't have to use corporation logos as the model for the written name. There are also en [...]

    11. As far as readability, Bill Walsh has an engaging style, and I enjoyed reading his thoughts on editing. I agreed with most of what he had to say, but even taking into account his background as a newspaper guy, I felt like his points were a little too pro-AP style to win me over entirely. I mean, seriously, what's wrong with an en dash? Just because newspapers can't use it, the rest of the world should abandon it? Whatever. Still, I would recommend it for someone who is interested in editing or i [...]

    12. I found some of the advice to be slightly old fashioned, particularly a lot of the discussion of hyphenation and dealing technological terms. About a third of the book is Walsh's own usage guide. There was discussion of some of the usual culprits (like "hopefully") but also a lot of other random things like making sure people's names are spelled right, etc. A lot of the things Walsh talks about deal with newspapers, not necessarily book editing or other fields of editing. Overall, I feel that I' [...]

    13. A very witty usage guide for copy editors in print media, particularly those in the USA. Bill Walsh's ironic curmudgeonly style is entertaining even though some issues were obscure and complicated to follow. It is a very comprehensive handbook on style and correctness and I marked many pages that had new tips for my own writing and editing, realising afresh just how many pitfalls there are in print. It was published in 2000 to address the changes brought by the new electronic age and is possibly [...]

    14. This is more of a random style guide and reference book, if anything. Walsh offers his own commentary in some places, but there are only a few "chapters" in the traditional style at the beginning of the book. The rest is just an alphabetical list of common errors. It's mostly straightforward, but there are places where I think Walsh could have been a little more clear in his explanations, or offered more examples instead of so many quippy jokes.Useful for anyone, really, who is writing academica [...]

    15. This was a sometimes amusing, and quite informative, book on writing and editing. Other reviewers wrote that it would be best for those working with AP style, but I don't completely agree with that. We use Chicago Manual of Style where I work, but I still found plenty of good stuff in this book, and know I will refer back to it in the future. I particularly enjoyed his thoughts on email, er, e-mail, but think that ship may have sailed. :)

    16. Would recommend: Yes (but only to people who care about publishing errors)Though not quite as sharp as Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Lapsing into a Comma is entertaining in its first, prose section. The latter, stylebook section is helpful, but not entertaining. The diatribe about e-mail is to die for.

    17. I'm currently taking a copyediting course and had read a few of Bill Walsh's excerpts here and there. I thought they were pretty clever so I took the time to read his book. As a novice, I think it's worthwhile as a casual read. What kind of jars me as a trained linguist is the harsh prescriptivism, but that's just the world I'm in, I suppose.

    18. This is a helpful and sometimes-funny resource that offers quick, clear advice on tricky questions that editors face all the time. It has become a bit outdated at certain points -- Walsh picked a losing battle with "on-line" and "e-mail," for example -- but most of it remains relevant. I plan to stick it next to my other style books and consult it from time to time.

    19. This is definitely a good book to have on hand if you're working at a newspaper. The author has a curious fascination with Bjorn Borg (who pops up in myriad example phrases) and is definitely curmudgeonly, which is perhaps the best part of the book. Good as an addition to any word-nerd's library, but certainly not a catch-all for English usage and style (nor is it intended to be).

    20. Bill Walsh offers a witty and opinionated perspective in this AP Stylebook companion. Although funny and well-written, this book isn't for everyone. It is indeed a style book, but is handy for anyone interested in improving their writing skills while getting a few laughs at the same time.

    21. This is one dynamite book on usage.This book leaves no stone unturned when it comes to usage. It's a perfect companion for those who write for a living, for those who write a lot, and for those who care about their writing.

    22. Lapsing Into a Comma :: grammar as Eats, Shoots & Leaves :: punctuation. I borrowed this from the library to read, but I will be buying a copy to have on hand as a reference. Walsh incorporates just the right amount of humor and cynicism to keep you reading from beginning to end.

    23. This is an easily accessible, fun-to-read book with a colloquial voice that makes it all the more appealing. I'm not the biggest fan of AP style, but there are useful things in here nonetheless and some pretty fun anecdotes too.

    24. Bill has very sensible stylistic rules. Definitely a book created out of need: a pinnacle of frustrated copy-editing. A good book to have next to you if you are writing something in the journalistic form.

    25. A must read for anyone looking to improve the quality of their writing without the pain of a journalism degree. Walsh speaks to the reader in a way that lacks pretension and is very agreeable. He goes as far as to nearly make the topic matter fun.

    26. Hilarious! Funny, practical grammar advice. I highly recommend it to anyone with reason to own an AP Style book.

    27. I don't have reason to own an AP Style book Right Now (one review said that was a criteria for owning this), but for the future, who knows? We'll see

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