Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday: work space

My workspace:

For some reason, I had much trouble both taking and uploading these. I'm not sure if the computer needs some assistance, the camera does, or both require some TLC.

I had to add Webster's Third New International Dictionary to my collection of reference books, as a new client uses that instead of the more usual Collegiate, 11th ed., so I was able to spend a lot of time at the used book store yesterday. There I found Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, PLUS a 1970s copy of the UPI Stylebook. Yes, I am that nerdy that I could hardly wait to come home and spend an hour or two with them all. Three volumes for the Webster's!

A random look at the UPI book yields:

golf . . . PGA is acceptable in all references for Professional Golfers' Association (note the apostrophe); LPGA in all references for Ladies Professional Golf Association (no apostrophe).
I could go on. That apostrophe stuff kills me. But I'll spare you.

I spend a lot of time here, working away. Underneath are several plastic bins of photos awaiting affixing in an album. Some have been there over four years, so I'm doubtful if they'll ever make the transition.

The Big Computer, not to be confused with the laptop that D uses over at his desk. This is where all the editing I do electronically takes place, plus some radio station or other via iTunes usually wafts through the speakers.

Door at which cats are often scratching. Here, Bear waits to come in, only to be headlocked by a feisty Frank.

D and I share this space, so it can be quite a bit of a Little-Fur-Family-in-our-hollow-tree–ish at times.


lettuce said...

tee hee
the apostrophe stuff made me laugh.

working in higher education i'm not sure if i any longer have the will to care about punctuation...

so nice to see your workspace

Kurt said...

That's what my desk looks like; the only difference is you're successful and I'm a loser.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

a very comfortable office - I loved the snoop! I must find myself a copy of the 'glossary of typesetting terms' - we nerds are easily amused!

and it looks like you have very nice light and access to the outside - good for your feline workmates to come and go! I share space with f too - so I know how that can go.... not a problem if the audio distractions are pleasing for both of us, but if he wants sports on and I want music, well....then one of us usually leaves!

hey I got the regular word verification seems like the new format popped on when someone left a comment on the mouse! ch-ch-change always in the blogosphere...

Anonymous said...

Punctuation, tut-tut (as you know), and including the apostrophe, is not important in and of itself: it articulates the words as they leave the mind of the writer so that they enter the mind of the reader in the way the writer intended.


Anonymous said...

PS: shame on you Lettuce.

JGH said...

A dictionary of phrase and fable?! I could definitely curl up with that.

LOL about the family in a hollow tree - I share an office with my husband and when the kids and dog are in here too I wonder why the rest of the house has been forsaken!

Joanne said...

Now wait a minute, back to the apostrophe. Why would Golfers' use one, and Ladies not?

Anonymous said...

It depends on the context (as it always does in American or British English)

Golfers' use one if the meaning is 'Golfers' Club' or similar (i.e. a club for golfers plural)

Golfer's use one if the meaning is 'Golfer's Wrist' or similar (i.e. an affliction that affects the wrist of a golfer singular)

Ladies' use one if the meaning is 'Ladies' Room' or similar (i.e. a room for ladies plural)

Lady's hat uses one if the meaning is 'Lady's hat' or similar (i.e. a hat for a lady singular)

You will notice that the word golfer adds a simple 's' for the plural while the word lady needs an 'ies' for the plural.

The position for apostrophes (once you've worked out that it's not a simple plural you're dealing with) can always be worked out by back translating - is it a single golfer/lady or is it many golfers/ladies.

Anonymous said...

Further to . . .

Plus there is a sort of editorial 'convention' that in printing the name of an organization we use the form the organization uses - even if it is wrong.

tut-tut said...

Who knew the tiny apostrophe would elicit such an operatic outpouring?

Thank you, Sally. What will a mention of the semicolon bring out?

Anonymous said...

Oh, well, you can write perfectly adequate English without much use of the semicolon - but not without correct use of the apostrophe.

But, please, please, not the semicolon: we'd never get any work done.


Pecos Blue said...

Looks very comfy!

goatman said...

I love apostrophes' usage. Had to learn their rules while teaching for GED test in the local prison (I was not incarcerated, thank you very much.)

You have a very yellow workspace.

knitwithcats said...

and i thought i was a geek... you have all completely out-geeked me today! i feel a little shame...

Linda said...

Your workroom looks very comfortable. My "office" is a desk in our tiny living room. Our place is so small I can't leave anything out as all is visible to the eye as soon as you enter our apartment.

Joanne said...

Ok, back to the apostrophe. I thought Ladies would need one b/c Ladies seemed to be in the possessive form, thus requiring an apostrophe? (Oh Tut-tut, what have you started?) :)

Anonymous said...

I love seeing the spaces where other bloggers live their lives.

meemsnyc said...

Wow, it looks like your desk has a lot of important work!

Anonymous said...

pecos blue: doesn't it?

goatman: I sometimes think all writers SHOULD be incarcerated: no escape from the writing. (:D)

knitwithcats: geekiness, taken the right way, is a lot of fun

linda: try ideas from

joanne: indeed, all ladies need the apostrophe; ladies' lives without an apostrophe or two do not bear thinking about. And, I've just looked it up, for further reading, you can go to the Apostrophe Protection Society at (sorry to be a bit slow picking up on this thread again - Saturday with its promise of more sleep intervened).

tut-tut: forgive my making direct comments to your bloggers: I hope they come and visit.

Merisi said...

so good to know that there are fellow human beings out there who enjoy losing oneself in a dictionary! I grew up with a father who would hand us children a dictionary with his goodnight kisses, and we actually enjoyed leafing and reading through them.

I never associated bookshelves lined with encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, style books, etc., with nerdiness, but a necessity to survive in a multilingual world (albeit one, in my case, where command of none of the languages involved is perfect, a deplorable state).

Reya Mellicker said...

Punctuation of all kinds fascinates me. I'm always afraid of semi-colons. That's why I write either short sentences or use dashes instead.

Don't like to admit that to most people!

I have several bins full of pics that will never be put into albums. I actually enjoy opening them from time to time and pulling out photos at random.

Wonderful tour through your work area! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Tut-tut, we should start a punctuation support group. Maybe this IS a punctuation support group :-)

The Divine Chicago Manual of Style (which we Brits use: it never fails us) has an Internet support group for editors/writers who tremble with indecision about things like where to put the apostrophe on names ending with s or -es or x. These get me every time.

Reya: I sympathize on the semicolon. I think the semicolon must have been surgically implanted into my brain at a very early age. I will look for a handy definition of its usage.

I might at the same time dust off my reference shelves and photograph them.

PS: they're way on the other side of the room from my computer. Sometimes getting up and going over is the only exercise I get. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Here’s a concise statement on the use of the semicolon – which, I hope, begins to display the narrative density; the drama; the multidimensional nature; the shape-shifting genius; the sheer chutzpah, of that little sign. It’s from The Little Oxford Guide to English Usage, The Clarendon Press, Oxford:

‘Separates clauses of similar importance that are too closely linked to require a full stop, e.g. To err is human; to forgive, divine. It is often used as a stronger division in a sentence that already includes commas, e.g. He came out of the house, which lay back from the road, and saw her at the end of the path; but instead of continuing towards her, he hid until she had gone.’

tut-tut said...


Please, please post a photo of all your ref books.

Chi Man RULES, man! This is the go-to final arbiter for everyone, at least everyone I know. I had a conversation with a new project editor today, who said, "The author is always right [in style issues]; unless, of course, they're dead wrong [hollow laugh]."

Anonymous said...

tut-tut: we have never produced anything like the Chicago Manual: it is peerless.

I will photograph my shelves; soon as I've dusted them. ;)

Author diplomacy is our stock in trade . . .

Squirrel said...

I love Kurt's comment. He's so self-effacing. He's actually quite brilliant; and witty.

was that a proper semicolon ? One rarely even sees semicolons these days.

Anonymous said...

squirrel: that's quite a testing question.

I would say it depends on the feelings you want to generate in the reader.

With a semi, the sense is 'and there's more' - an imperfect cadence.

With a full colon, the sense is: 'and there; that that!' - a perfect cadence.

Given a following wind, I'm open to discussion on that.