Welcome to this week’s Proofreading Roundup, in a week when a streaming-service movie won the Best Director Oscar at the Academy Awards, the disturbing online phenomena (and moral panic) of Momo hit the headlines, and the World Bridge Federation suspended Geir Helgemo after he failed a random drug test.
This week’s weird words
A proofreader without a vast vocabulary is at a considerable disadvantage. So, every week we’ll be introducing you to some of the more unusual words to grace the English language.
This week’s tricky words
Even exemplary proofreaders have their little blind spots. The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course provides a comprehensive list of the tricky words that can trip up even the most experienced proofreader. Here are just three of them:
This week’s proofreading exercise
From Seller of the Sky by Dave Dryfoos.
"It's winter, my boy. We'd freeze."
"You've said it's pretty in winter! You took the money for the certificate."
"I suppose you'll grow away from your parents soon anyhow; I suppose you have to.... Get your warmest clothes and meet me at emergency exit four."
My grandfather talked it over with his sister Annie and of course they didn't have any warm clothes, but they'd heard so often from Old Arch about the cold that they put on two sets of tights apiece, and two pairs of socks, and then they hunted for the emergency exit.
They'd never been there before. They didn't know anyone who had. The signs pointing to it were all worn and defaced.
And it was a long way to go. After a while Annie began to hang back.
"How do we know the exit will work?" she asked. "And how will we get back in if we ever do get out?"
"You don't have to come," my grandfather said. "But you'll have to find your own way home from here."
"I'll bet I could," she said. "But I'm not going to. I don't think Old Arch will even be at the exit."
But he was.
He looked at them carefully to see how they were dressed. "You mean trouble for me, girl," he told Annie. "They'll think I took you along to make love to."
She had just reached that betwixt and between stage where she was beginning to look like a woman but didn't yet think like one. "Pooh!" she said. "I can run faster and hit harder than you can, Arch. You don't worry me a bit."
Old Arch sighed and led them through the lock. They stepped out into a raging snowstorm, which soon draped a cloak of invisibility over them.
Neither my grandfather nor Annie had ever smelled fresh air before. It threatened to make them drunk. Their nostrils tingled and their eyes misted over and they’re breath steamed up like bathwater. For the first time in their lives, they shivered.
When the City was out of sight in the storm, they stopped for a moment in the ankle-deep snow and just listened. They held their breaths and heard silence for the first time in their lives.
Old Arch reached down and picked up some soft snow and threw it at them. They pelted him back, and then, because he was so old, attacked each other instead, shouting and throwing snowballs and running aimlessly.
Old Arch soon checked them. "Don't get lost," he said. "We're walking downhill. Don't forget that. We're going into a draw where there are some trees."
He coughed and drew his rags about him. "The city is up hill," he said. "If you keep walking around it, you'll find a way in."
His tone was frightening. Annie clung to my grandfather and made him walk close to the old man. It was clear the old man didn't have enough clothes on. He staggered and leaned hard on my grand father.
They kept moving down the slight grade. They saw no sky and little of anything else. The snow was like a miniature of the City's dome, except that this dome floated over them as they walked. Its edges were only about fifty yards off.
"Where are the Outsiders?" my grandfather asked. "Aren't there people here?"
"They're miles away," Arch told him. "And indoors. Only fools and youngsters are out in this blizzard."
"Fool’s is right," Annie said tartly. "There was supposed to be sky. And there isn't."
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I hope to see you back here, next week, for another Proofreading Course Weekly Roundup.
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