Just Your TypeType, design, writing and other funny stuff
Adjectives describe something in more detail. A green car. A first job.
A compound adjective isn’t any fancier, it just takes two words to do one job. A blue-green car. Some first-hand experience. Really, we intend it to be a single descriptor—one word, really—so we use the hyphen to make it so. Without the hyphen, the reader can me misled: is a wild animal trainer someone who trains wild animals? Or an animal trainer who goes crazy at parties? Calling her a wild-animal trainer tames the sentence. It’s really a single description: what kind of trainer? The wild-animal kind.
So if you see a man eating chicken, ask for a bite. If it’s a man-eating chicken, you’re the one who’s going to get bit.
Previously on Just Your Type:
Is it okay to end a sentence with a preposition? How about ending one with five?read more
One guy, translating from paper to programming, made a typo—a big fat typo. A $156 million typo.read more
Take it from me: if you’re giving advice about spelling and quality, maybe you should spring for a proofreader. This screen shot came from our local TV station…read more
National Public Radio shared an interesting story about the redesigning of Helvetica. By far, Helvetica is used more often than any other face, so why redesign? Technical reasons, mostly to do with changing times. It's a great story, but not for here. Whew, what a...read more
Words matter. You want to get it right. So when it comes to ketchup versus catsup, which should you be using? Ketchup. See? See? I can get to the point. But I'm still going to ramble on about all the fun background bits. Like this, from our Department of Repetitive...read more
I had to laugh: only one typo in the message, but dang, what an exquisite typo. They misspelled typo.read more
You know what an italic font is. Bold type is simple enough to understand. Bold italic? Easy-peasy. But what if a font isn’t any of those?read more
About one in twenty manuscripts we receive starts with a "Forward." That makes sense because at that point it's the only direction you can go in the book, unless you want to read the title page again. The problem is that it is wrong. Where are we going with this?...read more
When you want to say something big — no, big — no, REALLY BIG, BIGGER THAN BIG, THE BIGGEST OF THE BIGS — should you choose italics, ALL CAPS, or underlined text? First, consider none of those. Try letting the text speak for itself, rather than using formatting to...read more
This problem came up in a book I was working on recently. The author italicized a lot of words, but didn't include any of his punctuation in the italicization. Put another way, his words were italic, but his punctuation was Roman. It left a lot of visual...read more