Editing

My Copy Editor Confession

Over at The Subversive Copy Editor, Carol Fisher Saller has asked copy editors to share some of their embarrassing mistakes, which I think is a great idea. It’s good to remind non-editors that copy editors are both human and all too aware of our fallibility, and to reassure other copy editors that they’re not the […]

End of the Line

Today I’m wrapping up a two-and-a-half-day workweek, courtesy of Thanksgiving here in the states, and it has me thinking about one of the important tasks journalism copy editors do that doesn’t show up in our job descriptions: We make up time. Everyone in media works under a deadline, obviously, but deadlines are set according to […]

The Irrelephants of Style

Clearly fiction and poetry bring with them a different set of rules (i.e. basically none) to grammar and style, how does one deal with the challenges presented there? Is there any point at which an author’s decision to subvert grammatical norms goes beyond stylistic playing and becomes just plain aggravating? First, I should explain for […]

More Grammatical Than Thou

Gabe Doyle, the linguist behind the Motivated Grammar blog, put up a good post a couple weeks ago about the fine-for-me-but-not-for-thee attitude among some grammar peevers. Thus we see Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams writing a screed against sentential hopefully*, but then absolving herself for using stabby and rapey… When she says rapey, she sees it as the considered usage of a professional writer, […]

Test Your Mettle

Can you refer me to your favorite online copy editing test? I may have an in-person editing test for a new job next week, and I think I’ve developed some bad habits after seven years with the same company. I’d like to give my brain a workout beforehand. Thanks! –Brian Well, I can’t really refer […]

See Me After Class

Look, I try to be a nice curmudgeon, and I don’t normally get all outraged over people’s little mistakes. These things usually don’t really matter, in even the medium-size scheme of things, and besides, everyone is ignorant about something and everyone makes mistakes. But this, this chaps my hide. This was posted to Postsecret on Sunday, […]

Fixing What Ain’t Broke

I talked a little bit last week about how a copy editor’s job is not as much about commas and grammar mistakes as you might think, or how they’re at least lower on the priority list than is commonly assumed. This week I want to tell you about something I do do that you might not […]

Triage

Copy editors’ job description is unusual in that the whole point of the profession is to deliver perfection. But no item of text that has ever gone to print could be called perfect. Something could always be improved—an error could have been cleaned up, an infelicitous phrasing could have been avoided, the perfect word could […]

He or Him?

This morning I wrote this, prompting one of my readers to send me an angry email: “Aramis Ramirez was hit by a pitch yesterday for the 100th time as a major leaguer, making he and Rickie Weeks just the fourth pair of 100 HBP teammates in major league history.” I think their primary concern was […]

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