21 questions you might encounter at work

The typical workday is full of mysteries. Here, one writer presents some that are particularly pressing.


As a regular contributor to PR Daily, my posts mostly cover writing, editing, grammar, style, and usage. However, I sometimes get a random tangent that pops into my head, one that doesn’t necessarily encompass strictly writers and editors.

Inspired by a recent XKCD comic—a “webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language”—here are 21 questions I asked myself one day at work:

1. Why do people send emails with 10 MB attachments?

2. What does “econometrics” mean?

3. Who keeps adjusting the thermostat?

4. Does “fail safe” have a hyphen?

5. Why is the answer always “no” when I ask for anything from the IT department?

6. Haven’t we been doing content marketing all along?

7. Why isn’t the paper copy of the AP Stylebook indexed?

8. Why do people think commas are periods?

9. Do you really think that using the word “utilize” instead of “use” makes you sound smarter?

10. Why do we continue to argue about the serial comma?

11. Could you make a presentation without using PowerPoint?

12. Why do you think it’s okay to send an 8-paragraph email to our customers?

13. Did you say “fax broadcast?”

14. Do people like their job titles capitalized because it makes them feel important?

15. Why haven’t I been able to capitalize on the Internet cat video phenomenon?

16. Why is that giant SUV parked in a compact parking space?

17. What’s another word for congenital?

18. Why do people feel they have to speak just because they’re standing together waiting for the elevator?

19. Is timeframe one word or two?

20. Why don’t English nouns have gender?

21. Does anyone use those copyediting marks any more?

PR Daily readers—care to share the questions that pop into your head during the average workday?

Laura Hale Brockway is a medical writer and editor from Austin, Texas. She is also the author of the writing/editing/random thoughts blog, impertinentremarks.com.

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