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Barbara's Virtual Pen

Editors and Errors...

An editor recently complained about a company he was thinking of working for with the following comments.

"Well, if you go to their sample of Level 1 proofreading, you will see that the sample of proofing did not do a very good job:"

[He should be careful about saying that the "sample” did not do…]

"This sentence, for example, was untouched: The CEO and/or President role is unlike any other role in a company.

"At the very least, shouldn't "President" be "President's" with an apostrophe "s?"

[Actually, what would be correct is: The CEO’s and/or President’s role is unlike any other in the company. Both need the possessive.(Actually, I think I might leave out the “or” and stay with the “and”)]

"I would question the legitimacy of the organization from it's own lack of proofreading in a sample that is meant to show proofreading..."

[it’s own lack of proofreading…! Yikes! it's!]

This fellow’s complaint about the proofreading sample has merit in that the sample is incorrect, but his “correction” not only did not fix the problem, but evinced his own poor grasp on grammar. And then to compound that, his comment, most glaringly with that awful “it’s” being used as a possessive, reflects rather poorly on his candidacy as an editor/proofreader!

Why would I bother to post the above, which I hope is not read by the person who made the comment? My motive is to point out that even working editors often do not have sufficient background in English grammar to adequately do their work. Having a degree in English does not mean that someone has learned the mechanics of the language. Grammar deals with the structure of the language and as such is never dealt with in literature classes or, alas, even in most writing classes, although it should be. This will not change until English majors, and particularly anyone considering becoming an English teacher, must take at least ne, better two, linguistics classes in order to teach. Such courses would be invaluable for journalists, writers, and editors as well.

If you want students to learn, you first have to teach the teachers. “
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