Posted in Did You Know ?, Editor Notes, Words

Why is there an apostrophe in Hallowe’en?

One early spelling of “Halloween” was “All Hallows’ Even (Even = evening). The “all” and “s” were dropped, “hallows’ ” and “even” became a closed compound, and the apostrophe took the place of the “v,” giving us “Hallowe’en”—just one of many transitional spellings along the way to “Halloween,” which the Oxford English Dictionary shows as first appearing in 1786.

Other spellings before “Halloween” included “Hallow-e’en,” “Alhollon Eue,” and “Halhalon evyn.”

It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints; soon, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.

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Some Info from History.com

Posted in Editor's Toolkit, Language, Writing

The Editor’s Toolkit: OneLook Reverse Dictionary

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Have you ever been stuck for a word?  The meaning is clear in your head, but you can’t grasp the word you want? I am sure you have said, it’s on the tip of my tongue. This happens to everyone at some point. As a writer, an editor, a student, or just in everyday writing — you get frustrated and start pulling out your hair.  This is where OneLook Reverse Dictionary can help you (and me, when I edit!)


How does it work?

OneLook explains it best, so I took this screenshot for you.

HowToUse OneLookReverse
How OneLook Reverse Dictionary works.


Editor’s Advice

Keep your search short to get the best results. OneLook indexes online dictionaries, thesauruses, encyclopedias, and other reference sites for your search term returning  conceptually similar words.  They suggest utilizing only the first few terms, since it comes back with hundreds sometimes, as seen in the screenshot below where I searched for urge to travel.

OneLook Reverse Dictionary
OneLook Reverse Dictionary search results on urge to travel”.

Pick the word you want, for example, Wanderlust. When you click on it, dictionary definitions from multiple sources will come up, including the  Online Etymology Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Oxford Dictionaries, UltraLingua English Dictionary, Mnemonic Dictionary, and RhymeZone.

Wanderlust-OneLook
Wanderlust definitions


Categories

The list you get back is broken up into Categories: General, Art, Business, Computing, Medicine, Miscellaneous, Religion, Science, Slang, Sports, Tech, and Phrases. I really like the Phrases category.

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Broburn Wanderlust. Serial BAPC.233. Photo courtesy of The Museum of Berkshire Aviation.

Doing this search, I learned a phrase that includes wanderlust is Broburn Wanderlust  which was a small, wooden, single-seat glider designed in the United Kingdom just after World War II. Only one was built in 1946, and it flew in 1947.

 

 

 

The Wanderlust is a single seat sailplane of wooden construction, with a cantilever shoulder-wing. The wing is covered with ply from the leading edge as far as the spar, aft of which it is fabric covered. Fitted along the whole span are aerofoil section flaps, which are split at about half span so that the outer section scan act as flaps or drooping ailerons. Accommodation in the cockpit is roomy and the pilot’s head is raised well above the wings and fuselage under a Perspex hood. A seat type parachute is provided, with a radio as possible additional equipment. Novel use has been made out of a cut motorcycle inner tube encased in canvas to provide an inflatable shock absorber. 

– The Museum of Berkshire Aviation

Be sure to check out the other Editor’s Toolkit posts including The Punctuation Guide, and the Hemingway App. Hope you will come back for what’s upcoming the rest of the week, as I highlight what else is in my Editor’s Toolkit.

Know of other useful writing apps that aren’t included here? Let me know about them on Twitter!

Posted in From The Editor's Desk, punctuation

Punctilious Punctuation: Single or Double Quotation Marks

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I wear many hats when I’m editing, including switching between American English (AmE) and British English (BrE), depending on what manuscript I am working on.  Did you know that there are different grammatical conventions depending on which side of the pond you are on?

British English prefers the term Inverted Commas when they talk about speech marks or quotation marks. Do you know when to use them, and whether to use single or double?

British English prefers single inverted commas, while American English prefers double.

Ronald B. McKerrow states, “Inverted commas were, until late in the seventeenth century, frequently used at the beginnings of lines to call attention to sententious remarks….They were not especially associated with quotations until the eighteenth century.”

The Oxford Dictionary ruling says,

“There’s no rule about which to use but you should stick to one or the other throughout a piece of writing. Single inverted commas are generally more common in British English while American English tends to prefer double ones.

If you find that you need to enclose quoted material within direct speech or another quotation, use the style you haven’t used already. So, if you’ve been using single inverted commas, put any further quoted material within double ones and vice versa.”

 

Rules of Quotation Marks / Inverted Commas:
American English vs. British English

American style uses double quotes (“) for initial quotations, then single quotes (‘) for quotations within the initial quotation.

“Economic systems,” according to Professor White, “are an inevitable byproduct of civilization, and are, as John Doe said, ‘with us whether we want them or not.’”

British style uses single quotes (‘) for initial quotations, then double quotes (“) for quotations within the initial quotation.

 ‘Economic systems’, according to Professor White, ‘are an inevitable byproduct of civilization, and are, as John Doe said, “with us whether we want them or not”’.

The above examples also show that the American style places commas and periods inside the quotation marks, even if they are not in the original material. British style (more sensibly) places unquoted periods and commas outside the quotation marks. For all other punctuation, the British and American styles are in agreement: unless the punctuation is part of the quoted material, it goes outside the quotation marks.

 

From The Punctuation Guide. This is one of my go-to references, when I am wearing many hats and working in British English.

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For Further Reading:

“British versus American style.” The Punctuation Guide. http://www.thepunctuationguide.com/british-versus-american-style.html

Fowler, H.W.  “Chapter IV: Punctuation. Quotation Marks.” The King’s English, 2nd edition. 1908. http://www.bartleby.com/116/406.html

Garber, Marjorie. “” ” (quotation Marks)”. Critical Inquiry 25.4 (1999): 653–679.

Heisel, Andrew. “Single Quotes or Double Quotes? It’s Really Quite Simple.” Slate Magazine. October 21, 2014.   http://www.slate.com/blogs/lexicon_valley/2014/10/21/single_quotes_or_double_quotes_it_s_really_quite_simple.html

McKerrow, Ronald B. An Introduction to Bibliography for Literary Students. Oxford, 1927. page 316.
Man with many hats image courtesy of Maggie Summers