Steve Provost


About Steve Provost

Steve Provost is a copy editor for The Tribune. His column, “Defining Moments: How Language Shapes our Lives,” explores the power of words — how they can bring us together or, conversely, lead to misunderstandings that cause ever-deeper rifts in an already fractured society. Reach him at 805-781-7913 or .

Archive by category ''Steve Provost


    The great comma debate

    I’m a serial killer — a serial comma killer, that is. The moment I became a journalist, I automatically enlisted on one side in a bitter and protracted war over whether or not to use the serial comma, otherwise known as the Oxford comma. We newspaper copy editors are oathbound to seek...


    No crying in the Olympics?

    The International Olympic Committee sent a letter to four Norwegian cross-country skiers, reprimanding them for wearing black armbands in memory of an athlete’s brother who died just before this year’s Winter Olympics got underway.


    Get creative to save every drop of water

    One barrier to effective communication is assumption. As one of my professors once said, it makes an (Equus africanus asinus, donkey) out of u and me.


    Richard Sherman is a poor communicator

    Anyone who watched the end of this week’s NFC Championship Game saw it — and heard it. Richard Sherman, the Seattle Seahawks’ star cornerback, did what he does best (and as good as he is on the field, that’s not playing football): He embarrassed himself.


    No constitutional right to a megaphone

    Up front: I’ve never seen “Duck Dynasty” and probably never will. I have very little interest in watching so-called reality TV, because I have enough reality in my life, thank you very much. If I want to see something about a duck, I’ll watch Daffy in a Looney Tunes short...


    More to charity than a bell

    Not all communication is verbal. Sometimes, people communicate with a smile, a handshake or by ringing a bell, as Salvation Army volunteers do every holiday season in front of shopping centers.


    No compromise on compose and comprise

    Yes, I’ve decided to write an entire column about one simple rule. It’s broken so often, I almost feel as though I’m whistling into the wind every time I complain about seeing it broken in print, but I have to make one last stand on this one. I may have as much chance as General...


    American exceptionalism: It’s a trust, not a birthright

    Whatever one thinks of Vladimir Putin’s op-ed piece in The New York Times , he appears to have gotten people’s attention … and touched a nerve. Not just about Syria, but perhaps even more so about the concept of American exceptionalism.


    The problem with ‘red lines’

    ‘You shall not pass!” You may be familiar with this saying from the 2001 film adaptation of “The Fellowship of the Ring,” where it’s uttered by the wizard Gandalf.


    No apostrophe? Catastrophe!

    Once upon a time, we got it right.

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