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Watch out for the cops!

Rosie Right

The online edition of The Atlantic Monthly has been running an amusing interactive feature by Barbara Walraff "Word Police Commissioner, The Atlantic Monthly" Visitors to the site can take a brief quiz, and if they pass, they become members of a branch of the Word Police. So far, three such exams have been posted, but according to the editorial department of The Atlantic, the quizzes will be posted every two weeks for the foreseeable future. Of the three that have posted so far, one tests the aspirant for the Anti-Redundancy Squad, another for Division of Sex and Gender Crimes, and a third for "Mistaken Identity." Rosie is pleased to report that she passed these three (best she stop, it would be devastating if she failed one!).The next one will be posted on Wednesday, Feb. 23.

The quizzes gave Rosie a membership in the Word Police, and she was able to print off a certificate recognizing her as a member of the Word Police. The part that is, perhaps, the most fun about the little exercise is the citation list The Atlantic also supplied. Rosie, as a copy editor, may now, she is told, issue citations for a list of "crimes against the language" among which are the following:

"The thing/problem is"
"Feel badly"
"Between you and I"
"Everyday"/"every day" abuse
"Perspective juror"
"For free"
"Free gift"

For the guidance of the police, here are the "Sentencing Guidelines":

"Please give whatever fine you consider appropriate to the charity of your choice."

If you are interested in this little exercise visit The Atlantic site at

Uh-Oh: One of our careful readers has taken us to task for a silly misplaced modifier. On Jan. 20, in the article about the new YMCA, our architecture critic wrote "Having discarded their pinstripes ..., you might spot your lawyer...' Says our reader :"So I've thrown out my lawyer's pinstripes?" Touché. We are mortified, but it seems to Rosie that this misplaced modifier problem is one of the most pervasive errors writers make. Avoiding it seems to require constant vigilance. It is too bad when such a modifier gets into print, Rosie supposes, but like the lawyer's pinstripes, the error is a fine source of

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