Remember that experiment I wrote about last week? Where I say it's better to stand up when editing?
It works! Only problem is I get kicked out of the kitchen around 4pm, just about an hour after I really properly get to work.
Today I want to talk about a little pet peeve I've developed with English over the past few days.
Since my d3.js book is supposed to be very inclusive and inviting I use the first person plural a lot. It just sounds better when going through examples to say "Here we do X" instead of a preachy "You should do X" or a self-absorbed "I did X" ... you know, like this post.
As such there are a lot of instances where I write "Let's do something or another". Let's being a contraction of let us.
Talk about overloading operators, Scala can hide in shame before the might of English.
Let's - see how I sneakily used the possessive form and not a contraction of let us - primary meaning is roughly "to allow", so when you say "Let's go!" you are pretty much saying "Allow us to go!". But with slightly less imperative in your voice.
All fine and good.
But in the book I also talk about third parties a lot. It's not just me and the reader that are having fun, behind the scenes d3.js's functions are working hard to keep us happy. I often write "This or that function lets us do this or that"
Using "lets us" feels more appropriate than saying "allows us to" or even "enables us to", especially when I'm supposed to be shortening my manuscript by 60 pages before publication. And it just feels snappier and better paced than the alternatives.
Here's the dilemma: "lets us" works in some cases, "let's" in others and "let's us" is far out. Laughably wrong.
And one of those appears almost in every other paragraph. Paragraph after paragraph, page after page, for 180 pages.
Every single time I see those six letters I have to stop, take a deep breath, and make sure they are correct. Every. Single. Time.
I write articles with real insight into the career and skills of a modern software engineer. "Raw and honest from the heart!" as one reader described them. Fueled by lessons learned over 20 years of building production code for side-projects, small businesses, and hyper growth startups. Both successful and not.
Subscribe below 👇
Join Swizec's Newsletter and get insightful emails 💌 on mindsets, tactics, and technical skills for your career. Real lessons from building production software. No bullshit.
"Man, love your simple writing! Yours is the only newsletter I open and only blog that I give a fuck to read & scroll till the end. And wow always take away lessons with me. Inspiring! And very relatable. 👌"
Have a burning question that you think I can answer? Hit me up on twitter and I'll do my best.
Who am I and who do I help? I'm Swizec Teller and I turn coders into engineers with "Raw and honest from the heart!" writing. No bullshit. Real insights into the career and skills of a modern software engineer.
Want to become a true senior engineer? Take ownership, have autonomy, and be a force multiplier on your team. The Senior Engineer Mindset ebook can help 👉 swizec.com/senior-mindset. These are the shifts in mindset that unlocked my career.
Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, for frontend engineers 👉 ServerlessHandbook.dev
Want to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own? Learn how to build scalable dataviz React components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization
Did someone amazing share this letter with you? Wonderful! You can sign up for my weekly letters for software engineers on their path to greatness, here: swizec.com/blog
By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❤️