Nod if you’ve received an email today that says “Thanks!” or “Great!” or offer some other example of the exclamation point conveying emotion.
This week, The New York Times
explores this bad habit of too many exclamation points. Plus, a freelance writer explains her life in great detail, the world’s worst words, and more.
Here it is, the week in writing:
Nod if you got an email today that read “Thanks!” or “Great!” or some other example of the exclamation point conveying emotion. Ben Yagoda writes in The New York Times
' Draft column about the ubiquity of the exclamation point and its cousin, the QEC (quotation exclamation combo). But, Yagoda writes, a generation of status updaters for whom blogging is considered long-form has learned to use punctuation the way it is intended: to express an idea or thought. Read the essay here
How a freelancer lives.
If you are or were a freelance writer, or thinking of becoming a one, Natasha Vargas-Cooper's interview at The Billfold
is a must-read. Vargas offers insightful answers to questions like, “Do you live paycheck to paycheck?” "How do you pay your bills?" and “Day to day, what is spending like for you?” If you still want to freelance after reading this interview, it might just be the job for you. Read the interview here
The worst word on the planet.
You can probably guess the word within five tries, but as Sarah Miller writes at The Awl
, there are several unforgivable ways it can be used, which is what makes it the worst. Most of them have to do with misguiding the listener, or making things sound more exciting. I won't make you guess. The word is “literally.” Read the article here
Actually, the worst word on the planet.
Jen Doll at The Atlantic Wire
read Miller's piece on “literally,” and managed to find a word that is worse. For all of literally's transgressions, “actually” is a word with similar meaning that is offensive for all the same reasons but, as Doll puts it, also has a bad attitude. Read the piece here
(Quick note. Both words featured in the previous two pieces are usually spoken, not written. But proper language does lead to proper writing.)
Who's the boss of our fingers?
At some point, most of us have fallen victim to autocorrect—the mobile writing tool that guesses what we really
mean. As technology improves, the mistakes may go away, but so may our spelling skills, writes James Gleick in The New York Times
. That technology is not far off either. Google's search algorithm has been getting it right for a long time, he explains. Read the story here
Evan Peterson is a writer based in Chicago, and the editor of OpenMarkets magazine at CME Group. He's on Twitter at @evanmpeterson.