Let's eat, Grandma! Let's eat Grandma! This cannibalistic joke is a favorite among copy editors and writers but gets right to the core of proper punctuation and comma usage. As a copy editor working in tech, I see many of the same flaws in writing over and over again. One common mistake I'll be discussing (and a frequent point of contention between my developer husband and I) is the proper capitalization of the abbreviated form of identification. Like many developers whose work I've edited, he tends to write "id" as you would in your code. Id, however, is a psychoanalytical term referring to a specific portion of the psyche; whereas ID is the abbreviated form of identification. Being a developer isn’t only about writing code. Devs must be able to communicate via verbal and written means properly. Sometimes, it’s something as simple as writing an email or message in Slack to a coworker, or contributing to the much-dreaded documentation. For some, it’s sharing your knowledge via authoring blog posts, articles, or books. Even conference speakers spend hours writing text for their slides. In this talk, I’ll point out some of the most common and most frustrating grammatical issues such as double spacing after punctuation, how and when to use a comma, and how grammar can help you assert your expertise on the topic of your choice!


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Brian Fenton at 13:43 on 9 Mar 2018

I found the typographical & lexicographic history pretty interesting, but a lot of it was a "do this, not that" type of list. Unless you are really concerned with the why behind the choices, a good text linter could fix a bunch of these issues for you. Could stand to be a bit more energetic/dynamic.

I realize a number of "write better/clean code" talks are also glorified "do this, not that" lists, so that's not meant to be entirely critical.

Adam Englander at 13:47 on 9 Mar 2018

Very useful content but could be more engaging. The engagement during Q&A was much higher.

Riley Major at 13:51 on 9 Mar 2018

The talk was clear and well paced, but seemed scripted. The joy of getting this information from a talk rather than a blog article would be in the stories and excitement of the speaker.

You mention a beef with the AP on the Oxford comma but don’t explain your reasoning. I thought you could have used a more powerful demonstration of the confusion which can be caused by the omission of the Oxford comma specifically (rather than some of your other comma comics).

Thank you for including information on gender bias in writing.

(Sorry, I missed the first third.)

Alex Barrett at 13:53 on 9 Mar 2018

Clear content and great examples. Try asking a few surveying questions during the talk to get more engagement from the audience. It's tough to break through the audience's lunch coma!