But: such a little word, such a lot of confusion. You can go mad looking at grammar rules to find out when the use of But is appropriate – although it seems that a lot of people are not aware they need to think about it at all.
In my years as a sub-editor on South African newspapers, and as a trainer, I wrote some training materials. Below is one that’s intended as a one-page guide to the basic legal rules applying to SA journalism. It was first published on my sister Gill Moodie’s site Grubstreet:
I mis-spelt a word on Twitter today – conumdrum, instead of conundrum. Not the end of the world, and in the Twitter flow no one but me noticed (I hope). But it makes me unhappy when I get things wrong (especially when I do know the right spelling). And that is one of the foundations of editing, I guess: the striving to make things right.
I’m engaged in writing training materials for a bunch of people who are about to get to grips with a new web content management system. I had forgotten how boring and satisfying – all at the same time- that is. So much detail, so many places where you can forget one crucial detail. And the overwhelming feeling of being helpful…