Friday, April 5, 2013

Whither an editor?

Would it surprise you to know that I'm an editor in the real world? Given my previous post, I'll guess YES. Have you ever read such long, rambling, badly structured sentences in your life?  Rereading it myself, I can only say "Yikes!"

Even an editor needs an editor. Especially an overexcited one who just cannot wait to hit that "Publish" button and share her glee with the world. Alas, that's me pretty much each time I write a post.

Oh, I try to force myself to go back and trim, but more often than not, my stream-of-consciousness ends up posted for public consumption, barely proofed.

Lucky me, though: I forgive myself because I am probably the least prescriptive editor you'll ever meet. Don't get me wrong: at work, I can be as meticulous and dogmatic as the next guy, if the next guy is another editor. It's our job; it's what we do.
However, I have little patience with the increasing ranks of grammar police out there, patrolling everyone's casual conversation and communication.

You know them: they're on Facebook, and in the comments sections on a million websites, correcting everyone's typos and dispensing the rules of usage for "there," "they're," and "their" with a sneer of condescension. Before the digital age, they were the ones interrupting your cocktail party anecdotes with "you split your infinitive, dear" or "don't end a sentence with a preposition."

This phenomenon is represented by T-Rex in the following cartoon.

See? Even dinosaurs knew better. So c'mon everyone, a little patience, a little kindness. Sure, if your pal is having you review their resume ("they" as a single gender neutral pronoun is another favorite topic for me) or the report they're presenting to the management committee, correct away--you're helping!

Otherwise, you're just being T-Rex in panel 5. By panel 6, nobody will be his pal anymore. Here endeth the lesson.


  1. Oy! Yer bein' too hard on yerself. It's yur blog so do as you damn well pleeze. I like rambley posts because I feel like I'm talking to the writer instead of sitting through a seminar. :o)

  2. Aw, you nice. I feel the same way, except as an editor I tend to be hard on myself.