/2012/07/19/reading-the-roman-missal-part-2-oblation/

Posted on July 19, 2012 Posted by Bertha Perez

/2012/07/19/reading-the-roman-missal-part-2-oblation/

Reading the Roman Missal, Part 2: Oblation

The Roman Catholic Church updated its missal last fall, and early reviewers worried the new translation wouldn’t be easily readable by most churchgoers.

Those worries have largely proven unfound, but a few items have caught my attention as needing more explanation or as just plain odd. Last week, we took apart the term consubstantial. Today, I’ll look at oblation.

Oblation

Oblation occurs in the first and third of the four Eucharistic prayers the priest can choose to say during the Mass. From the regular first Eucharistic prayer (there are variations for different holy times):

Therefore, Lord, we pray: graciously accept this oblation of our service, that of your whole family; order our days in your peace, and command that we be delivered from eternal damnation and counted among the flock of those you have chosen.

Oblation, says The American Heritage Dictionary, means “the act of offering the bread and wine of the Eucharist; something offered, especially the bread and wine of the Eucharist.” Unless you’ve studied Latin or etymology, this term isn’t easy to break down. It traces its history from the Middle English oblacioun and the Old French oblacion and ultimately to the past participle of Latin’s offerre, “to offer.”

Oblation isn’t any more common than consubstantial. It’s found just 26 times in the Corpus of Contemporary American English, which contains 450 million words from 1990 to 2012. Results are distributed among academic publications, books, magazines, newspapers, fiction, and speech, yet in the newspaper and magazine results, oblation is part of a name, such as Oblation Papers & Press (a print shop) and Meringue Oblation (an art show)

Worse, though, the text it’s buried in averages a grade level of 17.7 (graduate school). On the plus side, oblation is part of the priest’s lines; the congregation prays along with him. All the same, if these prayers are written at such a high level, few people will be able to follow along with full understanding. It’s more likely that they’ll zone out during this part of the Mass. I’d rather see the Eucharistic prayers written for an easier understanding than flowery language.

Next in the series: the problem of passive voice.

    

 

About Erin Brenner

With a BA and an MA in English, Erin has been an editing professional for 15 years, working on a variety of media, especially online. Her niche is business/marketing and online. In addition, she has experience teaching editing to non-editors and coaching writers. In 2008, Erin was bitten by the social media bug…hard. Follow her on Twitter, @ebrenner, and get a daily vocabulary word, a link to the article of the day, and much more. You can also find her on Facebook and LinkedIn.

This entry was posted in Usable Usage and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

/2012/07/19/reading-the-roman-missal-part-2-oblation/

Posted on July 19, 2012 Posted by Bertha Perez

2012/07/17/protecting-the-tower-or-holding-back-the-tide/

Protecting the Tower or Holding Back the Tide?

A copyeditor’s job is to apply rules and style to a manuscript, to correct what’s wrong and ensure that the writing is suitable for the writer’s, publisher’s, and reader’s needs.

How can a copyeditor make a decision about a usage that’s in flux? When do we hold the line, and when do we concede a change?

Read how on the Copyediting blog.

    

 

About Erin Brenner

With a BA and an MA in English, Erin has been an editing professional for 15 years, working on a variety of media, especially online. Her niche is business/marketing and online. In addition, she has experience teaching editing to non-editors and coaching writers. In 2008, Erin was bitten by the social media bug…hard. Follow her on Twitter, @ebrenner, and get a daily vocabulary word, a link to the article of the day, and much more. You can also find her on Facebook and LinkedIn.

This entry was posted in Usable Usage and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2012/07/17/protecting-the-tower-or-holding-back-the-tide/

Posted on July 17, 2012 Posted by Bertha Perez

2012/07/17/protecting-the-tower-or-holding-back-the-tide/

Protecting the Tower or Holding Back the Tide?

A copyeditor’s job is to apply rules and style to a manuscript, to correct what’s wrong and ensure that the writing is suitable for the writer’s, publisher’s, and reader’s needs.

How can a copyeditor make a decision about a usage that’s in flux? When do we hold the line, and when do we concede a change?

Read how on the Copyediting blog.

    

 

About Erin Brenner

With a BA and an MA in English, Erin has been an editing professional for 15 years, working on a variety of media, especially online. Her niche is business/marketing and online. In addition, she has experience teaching editing to non-editors and coaching writers. In 2008, Erin was bitten by the social media bug…hard. Follow her on Twitter, @ebrenner, and get a daily vocabulary word, a link to the article of the day, and much more. You can also find her on Facebook and LinkedIn.

This entry was posted in Usable Usage and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2012/07/17/protecting-the-tower-or-holding-back-the-tide/

Posted on July 17, 2012 Posted by Bertha Perez

2012/07/14/writing-productivity-measurements-and-tools/

Writing Productivity: Measurements and Tools

Recently on the Copyediting blog, I wrote about how editors could measure their productivity: what measurements are useful, how to measure your productivity, and what tools you can use to measure them.

Although writing is less linear than editing, productivity can be just as important to writers, particularly when you’re a writer-for-hire. You want to ensure that you’re getting paid for the time you put into thinking, dreaming, researching, writing, rewriting, and self-editing your piece. When someone offers you $250 for an 800-word article, is that a good rate? Is $75 for 200 words worth your time?

It’s tough to put a price on the art in writing—the creativity and originality you bring to a topic—but you can track the time it takes you to create that art and determine if you’ve gotten a fair price for your craft.

Read more about productivity on Copyediting:

    

 

About Erin Brenner

With a BA and an MA in English, Erin has been an editing professional for 15 years, working on a variety of media, especially online. Her niche is business/marketing and online. In addition, she has experience teaching editing to non-editors and coaching writers. In 2008, Erin was bitten by the social media bug…hard. Follow her on Twitter, @ebrenner, and get a daily vocabulary word, a link to the article of the day, and much more. You can also find her on Facebook and LinkedIn.

This entry was posted in Writing Life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2012/07/14/writing-productivity-measurements-and-tools/

Posted on July 14, 2012 Posted by Bertha Perez

2012/07/13/reading-the-roman-missal-part-1/

Reading the Roman Missal, Part 1: Consubstantial

US Catholics have been using the new edition of the Roman Catholic Missal for eight months now, and the worry over the new translation has proven mostly groundless. Congregations are reciting prayers and responses almost seamlessly.

One change, for example, was the response to “Peace be with you.” Formerly it was “And also with you.” Now it’s “And with your spirit.” When I attend mass these days, I hear the congregation say the latter in unity.

But a few items have caught my attention as needing more explanation or as just plain odd. Over the next few blog posts, I’ll pick my nits in detail.

Consubstantial

The first item that caught my attention was the use of consubstantial in the Nicene Creed, the prayer that outlines the basics of what Catholics believe:

And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
consubstantial with the Father
through him all things were made.

The term means “of the same substance, nature, or essence,” according to The American Heritage Dictionary (AHD). We can see this easily in its parts. The prefix con- is a variant of com-, meaning “together.” One of substantial’s meanings is “having mass or constitution.” Together + having constitution. In other words, Catholics believe Jesus is the same being as God.

I admit consubstantial doesn’t come tripping off my tongue. It’s just not a common word. It appeared just eight times in a recent Google News search, and three of those results were references to the word’s use in the new missal. The Corpus of Contemporary American English has only 30 instances out of the 450 million words it contains. Google Books returns just 10,200 results from 2000 through 2009, many of those theological.

But given the surrounding text as well as the commonality of the term’s parts, it’s not hard to figure out the intended meaning. It’s not a great choice, given the former phrase was “one in Being,” but not the end of the world either.

Stay tuned for part two: the story and usage of oblation.

    

 

About Erin Brenner

With a BA and an MA in English, Erin has been an editing professional for 15 years, working on a variety of media, especially online. Her niche is business/marketing and online. In addition, she has experience teaching editing to non-editors and coaching writers. In 2008, Erin was bitten by the social media bug…hard. Follow her on Twitter, @ebrenner, and get a daily vocabulary word, a link to the article of the day, and much more. You can also find her on Facebook and LinkedIn.

This entry was posted in Usable Usage and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2012/07/13/reading-the-roman-missal-part-1/

Posted on July 13, 2012 Posted by Bertha Perez

2012/07/12/the-many-dance-partners-of-enamored/

The Many Dance Partners of “Enamored”

I was recently taken to task for writing the following in a blog post:

That’s one thing with pet peeves: they’re our pets. We’re enamored with them.

Do you see the problem?

Read the rest of my article on Visual Thesaurus (subscription required).

    

 

About Erin Brenner

With a BA and an MA in English, Erin has been an editing professional for 15 years, working on a variety of media, especially online. Her niche is business/marketing and online. In addition, she has experience teaching editing to non-editors and coaching writers. In 2008, Erin was bitten by the social media bug…hard. Follow her on Twitter, @ebrenner, and get a daily vocabulary word, a link to the article of the day, and much more. You can also find her on Facebook and LinkedIn.

This entry was posted in Usable Usage and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.