Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Poor, Innocent Juggler

We belong to several discussion groups for writers. While we don't ordinarily point out errors in e-mail settings, the following comes from a discussion about typos:

If you happen to notice a co-workers zipper is down (highly un-professional, but it can happen to any of us) do you discretely let them know so they can save face; or do you go for the juggler & tell everybody in the board room how un-reputable they are as a manager or layer based on a rather simple error.

Sigh. Where to begin? Some errors are easy.
  • Co-worker's (or colleague's) needs an apostrophe and no hyphen.
  • Unprofessional doesn't need a hyphen, either. Also, is it unprofessional to have a fallen zipper, or is it unprofessional to be looking at a colleague's bathing-suit zone?
  • Discreetly has two e's in this context. It means tactfully or subtly. Discrete with one e means completely separate or unconnected--chances are if you went that route, your colleage wouldn't hear you.
  • Unless many coworkers are running around with open barn doors, you have to say "him or her" to keep your subject and object parallel.
  • Go ahead and write out the whole "and." Ampersands should be used with company names, some academic references, when space is limited, or in artsy-fartsy logos.
  • Un-reputable is not a word. Disreputable is.
  • And for the sake of clowns, leave the juggler alone. Go for the jugular--if you must.

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