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What Is #StetWalk?

Hey, editors! Get moving with #StetWalk.

By
Mignon Fogarty
the word stet in a dictionary

I’ve been using the hashtag #StetWalk on Twitter and Instagram, and every time I do, someone asks what #StetWalk is, so here’s a quick explanation. It’s a hashtag that editors use to post pictures they took while they were out walking. Editors tend to be sedentary, and we can all use some encouragement to get out of the office and get moving!

It started a few weeks ago when Tanya Gold, who goes by @EditorTanya on Twitter and Instagram, posted about how she had fallen out of her habit of daily walks. She asked if anyone else was having the same problem and if people wanted to do something fun to hold each other accountable. She said, “I've done photo exchanges with friends over the years and have always loved being able to see how others see the world. And what better way to show you've been somewhere and done something than taking a photograph?”

EditorTanya's original stetwalk post

Tanya asked some friends to help her come up with a name, and she liked Heather Saunders’ suggestion the best: #StetWalk. [Here's Heather on Twitter.]

Heather said, “I brainstormed a tag with the goal that it'd be fun, memorable, and related to editing. But most of all, I wanted it to be cheerful so it would be fun to post. I liked the playfulness of #StetWalk because it combines a term that means ‘let it stand’ with doing anything but standing still—walking, running, even simply getting outside for a minute.”

Heather's  original stetwalk post

I’m more of a writer and podcaster these days than an editor, but anyone can participate. Heather said, “I was thrilled when Tanya came up with this idea and am beyond pleased to see it growing into a supportive community of editors, freelancers, and remote workers, all sharing pics of our daily adventures as we get outside to better our physical and mental health.”

You can browse everyone else’s pictures for inspiration too. Last week I saw a pig on a leash while out walking, and that made for a great picture. It doesn’t have to be all about exercise either. I #stetwalked to the yogurt shop the other day. Tanya said, “We all have different reasons for wanting to get outside more—for some it's exercise, for some it's taking a break, and for some of us it's just appreciating the world around us.”

If you want to play along, just take a picture while you’re out on a walk, and post it with the hashtag #StetWalk.

This also got me thinking about the word “stet” and why we use it. It’s an editing term that, as Heather said, means “let it stand,” and it comes from Latin. You typically use it when you want to reject a copy editor’s suggestion—to let the original text stand. 

It goes all the way back to the 1700s. The first example in the Oxford English Dictionary is in a chapter called “Of Correctors and Correcting” in John Smith’s book “The Printer’s Grammar” published in London in 1755. It reads, “Where words are struck out that are afterwards again approved of, they mark dots under such words, and write in the margin, Stet.”

A little more than a hundred years later, people started using it as a verb, saying things like “If you don’t like my edits, you can stet them,” and “Ugh, I stetted so many edits yesterday.”

And that 1755 book, “The Printer’s Grammar” is available free on Google Books and looks really interesting. It’s mostly about the history of printing and has multiple chapters on different typefaces. The only problem is that it’s slow reading because it uses the long S, which is the lowercase letter S printed in a way that makes it look like the letter F to us reading it today. The long S was common in the mid-1700s, and only fell out of use around 1800.

Stet image courtesy of Shutterstock.

About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of the Quick and Dirty Tips network and creator of Grammar Girl, which has been named one of Writer's Digest's 101 best websites for writers multiple times. The Grammar Girl podcast has also won Best Education Podcast multiple times in the Podcast Awards, and Mignon is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame. Mignon is the author of the New York Times best-seller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing" and six other books on writing. She has appeared as a guest on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and the "Today Show" and has been featured in the New York Times, Business Week, the Washington Post, USA Today, CNN.com, and more. She was previously the chair of media entrepreneurship in the Reynolds School of Journalism in Reno, NV. She hates the phrase "grammar nazi" and loves the word "kerfuffle." She has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and an M.S. in biology from Stanford University. Mignon believes that learning is fun, and the vast rules of grammar are wonderful fodder for lifelong study. 

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