?

Log in

No account? Create an account
atom

Light Bulb Joke For Editors!

I thought people who read my blog might get a kick out of this, so I'm sharing it here.

Over on the SFF Net newsgroups, specifically the newsgroup sff.publishing.daw, Steve Leigh quoted the following joke, which I copy verbatim:


Q: How many copyeditors does is take to screw in a lightbulb?


A: That sentence isn't clear. Does it mean to have sex in a lightbulb, or to place a lightbulb in its socket? Please clarify.


Deborah J. Ross then chose to pass along the joke to Lyn Dupré, a friend who edits scientific articles, and she came up with the following response (which to my mind just makes this a better joke overall):


Q: How many copyeditors does is take to screw in a lightbulb?


A: That sentence isn't clear. Does it mean to have sex in a lightbulb, or to place a lightbulb in its socket? Please clarify.

Suggest: 

A: (1) Sentence as written is ambiguous. Does it mean to have sexual intercourse inside of a lightbulb (in which case, pls clarify size of bulb), or to place a lightbulb in its socket? (2) The phrase "does it take" is messy. The anticipatory pronoun has no reference. Who or what is doing the taking? Pls recast. (3) The term "copy editor" is a not complex noun, and thus has no excuse for being set as a single word. It is an adjective (copy) and a noun (editor). A dress the color of mammalian blood is not a "reddress"; it is a "red dress." Note also that, when set as two words, "copy editor" does not take a hyphen, unless the phrase is being used as a complex (non-predicate) adjective, as, for example, "a copy-editor hissy fit." (4) There is an obvious typographical error. Suggest you proofread manuscripts before submitting them as final.

Comments

Except that "copy" is not an adjective, it's an attributive noun.

And, fwiw, I prefer the first version (although with "copy editor" corrected). It's subtler.
Oh, another interesting tidbit. NI3 lists "light bulb" but 11C lists "lightbulb."
I wonder what the current American Heritage says.

My company's house style is "light bulb," based on Webster's New World Dictionary Third College Edition (which is not a Merriam-Webster dictionary). The book does not give a separate definition for the phrase "light bulb," so I assume that "light" is considered the adjective modifying the noun "bulb."
Since this is the nit-picking thread, "light" in "light bulb" is another attributive noun, not an adjective, unless you mean that the bulb isn't heavy. Attributive nouns function adjectively but are not themselves adjectives. A subtle but useful distinction.
Well, the bulb doesn't feel heavy to me... :-)

(It's still the modifier, though, right? And I do have to point out that the dictionary we use does give one definition of light as adj. 1. having light; not dark; bright 2. pale in color; whitish; fair.")
It's still the modifier, though, right?

Right

the dictionary we use does give one definition of light as adj. 1. having light; not dark; bright 2. pale in color; whitish; fair.")

But i don't think either of those senses is what one means in talking about a light bulb. The first sense would only apply when the bulb is powered but not when it's off. ("Be careful, the light bulb is hotter than the dark bulb.") The second sense would apply when talking about the color of the bulb. ("That red bulb is too light, I'm looking for a deeper shade.")

Mind if I take this in to my editing class? :)
Since Steve and Deborah posted it in a public forum on the Internet, I would say there should be no problem. Just make sure to include the links so people know where it came from.
That's fantastic. :)
This makes me happy in ways no joke really should. Really. Editorial humor. I am a hopeless case.
*dies laughing*

I have to show this to my boss...
Very cute!
I totally missed my calling...why am i not copy editing?

Although, my copy editor side has started to come out of work. I added a comma to a card for a sick kid the head teacher was writing. I'm not sure if she was amused or miffed.
atom

December 2016

S M T W T F S
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
Powered by LiveJournal.com