Like many citizens, I’m finding it impossible to ignore reports about the new U.S. administration and its “disruptions.” I try to stay nonpartisan here (and in my books), since I prefer to poke fun at all ridiculous political speech, and to applaud any brilliant syntax.
Copyeditor Mary Norris has had a fascinating career at The New Yorker over the past three decades. She writes about that, and many other things in Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen (W. W. Norton). Because readers of this blog (and the site generally) seem to have such a taste for dictionary talk, I thought I’d share what Mary says about her go-to dictionaries.
It may seem old-fashioned to consult a dictionary while writing, but I can’t imagine working without a reputable dictionary nearby. “Working with word books strengthens our imaginative muscles, and in turn, strengthens our own mental thesauruses, our ability to call up precise words,” I wrote in Sin and Syntax. But what happens to the dictionary in an era of e-publishing?