Language

January 8, 2011

Taking the GG Out of Literature

Removing the word "nigger" from Huck Finn not only assaults the book, but also makes its point.

Posted by Justin Katz at 9:59 AM

May 19, 2006

For Love of Writing

I gotta say that this line from the Washington Post review of The Da Vinci Code is fabulous:

The most controversial thriller of the year turns out to be about as exciting as watching your parents play Sudoku.

It (the line) seems, at first, to be one of those that writers keep in reserve for really SIGNIFICANT pieces. On further analysis, the reference to the pop-culture "logic" puzzle is perfect.

I've been wondering, over the past few weeks, why the film's marketers would sell the controversy so hard but not grant any early review screenings. Now we know.

Posted by Justin Katz at 7:26 PM

January 23, 2004

Random Info Picked Up While Editing

Did you know that a Canadian dollar is called a "loonie"? As in: "The rising loonie is helping to slow inflation." Or, better: "You get more loonies for your dollar in Canada."

Posted by Justin Katz at 8:31 PM | Comments (1)

January 10, 2004

Passive: The Criminal's Voice

I'm not an active-voice absolutist, and editors who are miss something in the subtleties of expression that our language allows. Sometimes the thing being acted upon is, in fact, the subject of the sentence. In the following exchange, my grade-school-age nephew brings into stark focus the utility of the distinction between active voice and passive voice.

My daughter has a toy that is a sort of cross between an ATM and a cash register, including one drawer that pops open at the pressing of a "Withdraw" button and another that requires a plastic key. When I entered the living room a little while ago, my nephew was playing with the toy, and the key was in two pieces on the floor beside him.

"Did you break the key?" I asked.

"It was broken a few minutes ago," he replied.

"So it was just lying there and split into two?"

"I was trying to open the drawer, and the key broke."

Well, at least he attributed an action to himself, even if he and the key continued to occupy separate clauses.

Posted by Justin Katz at 2:01 PM | Comments (2)