writing rengeek magpie mind

July 2014



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jarts: internet lawn defense league

you kids get off my lawn

Dear world: it's "Bury the lede," not "bury the lead."

We're fucking up the organization of a news story, not attending DiCaprio's funeral.


Seriously. I can abide misspellings; I commit plenty of those myself. I cannot abide using the wrong word.
It's pretty much the same thing, for all intensive purposes.
I saw what you did there. *g*
You should of given tactical_grace the benefit of the doubt. I'm sure zie was posting without malice of forethought.
I did not give you free reign for this kind of behavior.
And on your own blog, you're not one to be truffled with.
Mmm. Truffles.
Shouldn't that be behaviour? Or does droppin' letters not count?
That is *very* brave of you, given her location, tag and mood. :)
You get to live because Grendel icon.
The one that frustrates me most is when people are balling their eyes out. Because that's when they're most upset, so they really don't need their old neighbor/cousin/whatever to come around telling them that it's BAWLING, dammit. And yet. And yet.
I guess balling your eyes out is okay between consenting adults, but... NMK. And in fact, so thoroughly NMK that I'd rather not ever hear about its existence...
Right, I almost always think, "Don't wanna know. Unless it's with a melon baller, in which case, still don't wanna know."

The one that's been bugging me lately is "pouring over" some bit of text. What are you pouring over it? Your coffee?
That one makes me batty, too.
Well, I think that's pretty much a mute point.
I actually kind of like "mute point". It's a point which cannot speak. *laugh*
This must be a US usage; I've always seen it spelt as 'lead' in the UK.
Yes, I believe this is so. I still don't have to like it.
I had to google it, never having come across it in the UK (either the concept or the term - I assumed it meant 'swinging the lead' but it seems to be solely US media-speak). Google sources give both spellings as 'correct' for US though. If you believe the internets...
The internets would never lie!
Yes, well, 'lede' is a bit of essentially obsolete American journalist jargon. It means exactly the same thing as 'lead' (rhymes with greed) but was deliberately misspelled phonetically so as to be orthographically unambiguous for the sake of the typesetters, back when type was still set with lead (rhymes with dead) type. Since 'lede' is just a deliberate misspelling intended to serve a purpose which no longer exists, I don't personally see much point in fussing about the retention of the spelling.
Whenever I hit these, I hie myself to the Eggcorn Database to drown my sorrow in giggles.
Thank you ever so much for the link. When I am upset and disgrumbled with the world, I shall go there to have my mood lightened.
Meh. Given the reasons the alternate spelling of "lead" arose, I can certainly see an argument for letting it fall on the scrap heap of antiquities. Which is to say, writing it as "Bury the lead," might well be a deliberate, informed choice.
So you're in favor of burying the "lede" in favor of "burying the lead"?
Heh. I could see where what I said might lead you to that conclusion, but I couldn't possibly comment.
Well, I've been led to like the "lede", since "lead" might lead you to think it was "lead" instead of "lead". As the printer was led to set the lede in the lead type, "lead" instead of "lede" could lead to trouble.
It's hard to read when you have too much leading.
Well, after you read the lede, then you will have been led to read what you will have read.
No doubt many a heteronym-loving invalid, has spent a happy evening over her bass pate, evening the social score by finding invalid pronunciations for her priggish peers to object to in a game where the object is to addle the pate of the opponent. But the rest of us generally can tell a bass from a viola when the wind is southerly.

Most users of English manage to negotiate heteronym-infested waters quite well by attending to context, and I doubt that there's much ambiguity available in the phrase "Bury the lead" even if you don't use Chaucerian spellinge.
The reason "lede" was spelled like that, though, was because there genuinely WERE problems Back In The Day. The editors would send notes down to the printers, and it made a real difference if you were talking about shifting the lead up, which would mean that the physical type was misaligned, or if you were talking about shifting the lede up, which would mean for the printers to make an on-the-fly edit to pull the topic sentence out more prominently.

Yes, at this point, it IS an archaic holdover piece of jargon. But it's one that I'm rather fond of.
Actually, not all that archaic.

We still use both terms regularly in publishing and printing.
I guess the question is, at this point, do you use "lede" because it genuinely can be confused with "lead", because "lead" is just plain overloaded already and you'd like to give the poor word a break, or because it's pretty cool?

In my opinion, they're all valid reasons. And, for me, it probably saves me a couple milliseconds to read "lede" rather than figuring out which meaning of "lead" is intended. But my impression was that genuine confusion was less of a problem now than it was Back In The Day of hot type.

On the gripping hand, I feel that "lede" is a specific enough, and important enough, concept to DESERVE its own word.
Typesetting still happens, and we still call the space between lines leading, and it still needs to be adjusted on a very regular basis. Even in the era of DTP.

So, all of the above.
I like spelling the color word "grey" myself. I'm just saying that of all possible usages to get exercised about, lede/lead is not my first choice for demonstrating the benighted ignorance of the user. There is room for informed difference of opinion on the matter.

Talk to me about people who use "begs the question" when what they mean is "raises the question" and can show you as much towering fury as the next pedant down the road.
I prefer "Lede" because it's the correct word. It also has the advantage of not have a whole bunch of extra meanings depending on how you look at it or pronounce it. It's clear.

I think it's a case of "don't know it - therefore use wrong word - therefore make 'lede' even less well known". But that's not really an excuse: it just reinforces the attitude that one can get away with a minimal vocabulary, as opposed to the assumption that one will ALWAYS be adding to the words one knows.
There may be some instances of not choosing 'lede' that are driven by unfamiliarity, but I think you'll find that there are plenty of people who are familiar with that spelling and choose to avoid it for considered reasons. Avoiding unnecessary proliferation of jargon, for example.
I had to google that word. ;-p
Do you still write "Add 1" for your SECOND page of copy? Or write (30) or ### at the end of the manuscript?
No, because fiction manuscript conventions are different--but I follow those. And there is a tag on this lj that answers that question:


Right, I know fiction ms. conventions are different.

I was just being snarky bringing up other archiac journalism practices that are essentially as dead as "lede" for "lead."
In that case, I am rather sorry I responded.
The what now?
Old newspaper copy conventions called for a slug line on the first page of copy and "Add 1" on the second page of copy, followed by "Add 2", etc, for the next pages. The end of the copy was marked with (30) or ###. (I can't remember if 30 or ### was developed first).
@ matociquala -- when you're not wearing any shoes or socks, are you Bear-footed? Just curious.
If you can manage to convince anyone to stop using "to reign it in" as well, your internet powers will be supreme. THAT one, alas, I see from writers who really are good enough to know better.
*claws at eyes*