Solidus Editorial Solutions Thnaksgiving
We have a bit of a tradition here at Solidus. Every year just before Thanksgiving, we repost a blog we wrote titled "While You're Stuffing Yourself with Stuffing." It was about a woman with whom Emily and Emily and I used to work who would almost always close e-mails with “Thnaks.” Not “Thanks,” but “Thnaks.” It was a great post, which we would always end with a wish for a very happy and safe Thnaksgiving.

But in the years since we first posted that blog, it would seem that the typing of "thnaks" instead of "thanks" -- metathesis, for all you hardcore word nerds out there -- is not only a widespread phenomenon, it's positively commonplace. I'm not sure if there's been a spike or if more people are just owning up to it, but there's a Facebook page for Typing 'Thnaks' instead of 'Thanks' and the Urban Dictionary defines thnak as "Thank you, or at least the first part of, commonly mistyped by almost everyone on the planet when signing off an email."

It's nice to know that we weren't the only ones who were experiencing this strange and amusing quirk, but at the same time, there is a bit of a sense of loss. We had adopted thnaks as our word. We would use it intentionally in e-mails to one another. And now, knowing it belongs to the world -- and maybe always has -- it's a little strange. Like finding out your favorite book by your favorite author was ghostwritten.

Still, in all, we have a great deal for which to be thnakful, not the least of which is all the great folks out there who read our blog and enjoy our daily typo posts. To all of you, a heartfelt thnaks.

And hell, tradition is tradition, right? So to all of our friends, family, and colleagues from all of us at Solidus, we wish you a wonderful and happy Thnaksgiving.

By Steve Boudreault

This is a true story.

I recently met a gentleman who hauls trash for a living. Well, not trash per se, but junk. He hauls junk for a living.

He showed up to haul away an old couch of mine, and while his partner fiddled with some paperwork, he asked me, “So what do you do?”

I get this question a lot, and since I do so many things within Solidus, unless someone is genuinely interested in everything I do, I usually answer simply, “I’m a proofreader.” So that’s what I told this gentleman.

“A proofreader?” he replied.

“Yes, a proofreader.”

“Whazzat?” was his response.

“You’ve never heard of proofreading?”

He shook his head.

“Well, I read through and find errors in copy.”

This seemed to turn on a dim bulb over his head. “Oh, you make copies?”

“No, I read through copy. You know? Like text?”

“Oh,” he nodded sagely. “You send texts?”

(I know how this sounds, but this was the actual conversation.)

“No, no,” I said patiently. “Um … you know how when you’re reading a book?”

He nodded, but without conviction.

“And sometimes you find a typo?”

He nodded again. “So you type books?”

Was he only hearing the last word of every sentence?

I was starting to think the couch would never be hauled away, so I said, “Forget it. I’m an anthropologist.”

“Oh,” he said. Then after a pause: “Good money in that?”

By Steve Boudreault

Solidus Editorial Solutions Prostrate
There are certain typos that drive certain proofreaders crazy. Just batshit crazy. I have a proofreader friend who loses her everlovin’ mind when she sees decades written out as “the 1920’s” or “the 80’s.” (And if you don’t see the problem with those, I suggest you steer clear of her.)

I was forced to confront mine at the Topsfield Fair last month.

I was wandering around the fruits & vegetables barn, nonchalantly examining the prize-winning tomatoes and the best-in-show eggplant, when I stopped to read a little blurb set up next to the cabage (their spelling, not mine). The text listed some of the health benefits of cabage, including its ability to help prevent prostrate cancer.

Really, Topsfield Fair people? Really?

I really wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve seen the phrase “prostrate cancer.” I could buy Mars. Just for the record, once and for all, it’s prostate cancer. It’s not prostrate cancer. There’s no such thing as prostrate cancer, nor has anyone ever had a problem with an enlarged prostrate.

To be prostrate means to be stretched out with face on the ground in adoration or submission. The prostate is a male gland that secretes an alkaline, viscous fluid.

And if you’re a guy who can’t figure out the difference between prostate and prostrate, you’re in for quite a shock during your next physical.

By Steve Boudreault

Solidus Editorial Solutions Punctuation
It’s funny that most people consider proofreading to be nothing more or less than a quest for typos. Not saying that finding typos isn’t important, of course, but what about that perennial bugbear, punctuation?

It’s easy to find a misplaced apostrophe or a question mark placed outside quotation marks when it belongs within. The real challenge is in finding punctuation that changes the meaning of a sentence entirely.

Consider “It’s raining cats and dogs!” versus “It’s raining, cats and dogs!” Or how about “What are we having for dinner, grandma?” as opposed to “What are we having for dinner? Grandma?”

There are a lot of other great examples:

Quality, service, and attention to detail.
Quality service and attention to detail.

A woman without her man is nothing.
A woman: without her, man is nothing.

The man dropped the bullet in his mouth.
The man dropped, the bullet in his mouth.

When I sing well, ladies feel sick.
When I sing, well ladies feel sick.

If you’re still not convinced, remember that the next time your work schedule comes out, you could be working twenty-four-hour shifts instead of twenty four-hour shifts. But then you won’t have time to worry about punctuation, will you?

By Steve Boudreault