May 11th, 2018

(no subject)

An example of newspaper style that I deeply loathe. The paragraphs are short, usually one sentence long. First paragraphs (three in this case) quickly present the whole thesis of the piece; then, without any warning, the next paragraph returns to the beginning of the story and starts a more detailed account.

While I understand the purpose of this style — presumably newspaper readers will scan the first several paragraphs of each article, quickly get bored and move on, and the reporter tries to seize this moment to stuff as much information into them as possible, — for me it is very disorienting, and as foreign as seeing the age of every person mentioned in an article. This sudden backjump and repetition of the same information feels like a very cheap trick. I bet there are manuals that instruct reporters how to write in precisely this style, and I would love to see one, if only to gasp in horror at the instructions.

(no subject)

Noticed that one of the messages we will be putting on our web site at work has the phrase "Чтобы платить, как раньше, ..." Assuming that someone had mechanically put the comma before "как" (it's a common reflex many retain from their school years), I pointed out to our editor that the comma was not needed. Was told that yes it was.

It was exhilarating to feel that I don't really care one way or the other whether the comma remains or not (I mean, I know that it shouldn't be there, but I don't care if it stays, and I love the feeling of not being responsible for the text). But it was a little nauseating that a professional editor didn't hear the shift in semantics that the comma introduces into the phrase.