The Job of Editing as a Grammar Referee

What publication are you reading if you see the following in print?

  • naïve
  • teen-ager
  • coöperate

Well, if you must know, it is The New Yorker

Mary Norris is the copy editor for The New Yorker and she has some rather interesting tidbits to share about editing, language, readers and writers.

Copy Editor Mary Norris

As an example, Ms. Norris pointed to the following sentence that appeared in the magazine:

“Last Tuesday, Sarah Palin, the pre-Trump embodiment of populist no-nothingism in the Republican Party, endorsed Trump.”

She was apparently raked over the coals, so-to-speak, for not catching the error [Did you?].

Mary Norris also quoted E.B. White’s comment about commas in The New Yorker: “They fall with the precision of knives outlining a body.”

If you enjoy exploring the English language in this way and learning about the process of editing, I urge you to watch this engaging presentation by Mary Morris via here TED talk.

You can watch the presentation HERE.

Mary Norris is author of Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen


While JBRish is pleased to write about Mary Norris and her TED talk, the original content is derived from the linked resources above.

See previous Words Worth entries HERE

Save the Ocean, Save Ourselves – TED Talk Video

Beautiful purple starfish with white spots
“Image Courtesy of TED Talk Video Screenshot”

Ocean photographer Thomas Peschak has long been concerned about the envirionmental impact the world’s population has had on ocean life. At one time he sought to shock audiences into action to protect the ocean and all forms of its life. Today, however, he teaches them to love the ocean life and appreciate the inter-connectedness we have with the ocean and in that way, people will be motivated to work to save the oceans from destruction.

Thomas Peschack - Environmentalist and Photographer
“Image Courtesy of TED Talk Video Screenshot”

Hammerhead shark
“Image Courtesy of TED Talk Video Screenshot”

In the video below Peschak takes us into several of his favorite realms and lets us explore why they are so unique and vital. Included in the video are a variety of sharks, manta rays, dolphins, whales and special ocean-related geographical locations. I think you will find this fascinating.

IlluminateTED – Bryan Stevenson -Talk About Injustice


Bryan Stevenson – We need to talk about an injustice

Bryan Stevenson is an Attorney who fights for the rights of the poor, underprivileged and often disenfranchised people in the United States. His presentation is poignant and to the point. No American should feel at peace while justice is not served equally to all citizens regardless of economic, social, physical or other circumstances.

What are TED Talks?
You can read more about the history of TED here

If you want to be educated, challenged and yes, even entertained, watch Bryan Stevenson’s TED talk. It will be time very well spent.

Bryan Stevenson’s TED TalkWe need to talk about an injustice

Bryan Stevenson - Equal Justice Initiative

Bryan Stevenson at TED 2012” by James Duncan DavidsonOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Bryan Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, fighting poverty and challenging racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.” – From the website of the Equal Justice Initiative

TED Take-A-Ways

Highlights excerpted from the transcript which can be viewed in full:

Bryan Stevenson – We need to talk about an injusticeTranscript

  • “The United States now has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. We have seven million people on probation and parole.”

  • “We have a system of justice in this country that treats you much better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent. Wealth, not culpability, shapes outcomes.”

  • “The United States is the only country in the world where we sentence 13-year-old children to die in prison. We have life imprisonment without parole for kids in this country. And we’re actually doing some litigation. The only country in the world.”

  • “Death penalty in America is defined by error. For every nine people who have been executed, we’ve actually identified one innocent person who’s been exonerated and released from death row. A kind of astonishing error rate — one out of nine people innocent…In aviation, we would never let people fly on airplanes if for every nine planes that took off one would crash.”

  • “And yet, in this country, in the states of the Old South, we execute people — where you’re 11 times more likely to get the death penalty if the victim is white than if the victim is black, 22 times more likely to get it if the defendant is black and the victim is white…”


Read more about Bryan Stevenson on Wikipedia



What are Ted Talks?

TED is an acronym that represents Technology, Entertainment and Design and refers to a series of conferences around the world that features “Ideas Worth Spreading.” From its small beginnings in 1984 as a single conference, it has developed into one of the premiere venues for the sharing of information and ideas.

Included among the TED presenters are:

  • Madeleine Albright, Former US Secretary of State
  • Isabel Allende, Novelist and author
  • Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of
  • Bill Clinton, former President of the United States
  • Billy Graham, spiritual leader and consultant to many influential people
  • John Legend, Musician, activist
  • David Pogue, Technology columnist
  • Amy Tan, Novelist
  • Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia
  • Siegfried Woldhek, Illustrator

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Read more about TED on Wikipedia