When you spend a good amount of your time going through all kinds of manuscripts and articles, you learn that not everyone shares your passion for proper grammar. Many people feel that creativity and the overall message they want to convey trumps any sort of rules that govern written language, and this is something that drives editors crazy. We tend to be a bit nerdy, sometimes bordering on militant, when it comes to grammar rules, but it’s only because we enjoy our work. After a while your job changes you, so there are plenty of small things that have a big emotional effect on editors, which other people just don’t get. If you are in this line of work, you will definitely understand these little struggles.
1. We have a deep appreciation of commas
Most people don’t use them nearly as much as they should, and when they do it’s usually in place of a good old full stop.
2. We get OCD about checking every little detail over and over
Sometimes it’s difficult to be sure whether or not you’ve missed a minor mistake, so you get into the habit of checking everything multiple times.
3. We start to apply our critical eye to real life events as well
All that attention to detail tends to carry over into regular life, making editors overly cautious and unable to make decisions without double-checking everything.
4. We’ve lost count how many times we’ve had to correct simple spelling mistakes like form instead of from
These may seem like simple mistakes, but they can often change the meaning of the entire sentence, and you have to go back to correct them. After a while, you start feeling like someone is doing it on purpose just to mess with you.
5. We face-palm every time a word underlined by Word is left uncorrected
Hey, we live in a wonderful modern world where programs like Word come with a decent spell check function, and yet some people don’t have the common courtesy to clean up the biggest mistakes that get underlined as they write. It makes you lose faith in humanity a tiny bit at a time.
6. We become a free editing service for our friends
You know that wonderful feeling when you’re a bit lonely and a friend calls you up? Well, imagine the disappointment when all they want is for you to do a bit of editing for them. Sure, they’ll owe you one or buy you a drink the next time you go out, but you still end up spending Saturday night in front of the computer.
7. We end up irritating people because we can’t resist correcting their texts
When our friends actually ask us to go out for some drinks with them, our editorial instincts take over and we end up correcting their grammar. Quick tip – most people are in a hurry and don’t worry about grammar when texting, so they tend to get very annoyed when you slow down the conversation in order to correct them.
8. We cringe every time someone uses further instead of farther
Seriously, a chill will go down an editor’s spine when he or she hears someone say: ”How much further do we have to go?”.
9. We have to bite our tongue when our dates make glaring grammar mistakes
Picture a lovely night out – you’re having dinner with a lovely guy or girl, you’re hitting it off and things are going great. Then, all of a sudden, your date makes a glaring mistake that you feel compelled to correct. However, you’ve had your share of dates get offended by your comments, so you summon all your strength and willpower, and just let it slide.
10. We call up other editors to discuss funny mistakes
Oh yes, we simply can’t keep our nerd rage bottled up. We have to share some of the funniest mistakes we come across with fellow editors, and we have some good laughs.
11. We want to cry when people misuse “per se” while trying to sound smart
“I don’t believe in God per se, but I am religious” – lines like these will leave me on the verge of tears. If you don’t quite know how to use a word or phrase, you should just leave it alone. It’s safer for everyone that way.
12. We are here to help you polish up your manuscript, not to ghostwrite it for you
If someone has a decent manuscript that he or she has gone over a few times before sending it in for editing, then we can point out all the little mistakes and help the writer polish everything up. However, some people will send us an incoherent mess that lacks any semblance of proper structure, expecting us to fill in the blanks. Well, good luck with that.
13. We look to the heavens, arms raised high, when we see a long and incoherent sentence
Long, incoherent sentences that stretch on and bombard the reader with unconnected bits of information are the bane of every editor’s existence. They are what happens when a person swears a death oath against full stops, and abuses commas in dark and twisted ways.
14. We get baffled by people who still try to copy material in the age of copyscape and similar services
Once in a while you still get the odd plagiarist who has discovered the uncanny power of copying and pasting chunks of text, and thinks he or she can just cobble up a Frankenstein’s monster of an article and slip it past you. We are not even angry at you at this point, dear misguided soul, just slightly baffled and disappointed.
15. We can’t bear to spend time on social media, lest we go blind with nerd rage
Too many… incorrectly spelled… words… Grammar, not even once. Must ignore.
16. We find your lack of grammar skills disturbing, and we don’t think you’re fully aware of that fact
Take a good look at that sentence. That is how you use “your” and “you’re” properly. See, it’s not that difficult.
17. We sometimes go with “The Grammar Police” costume for Halloween
It’s corny and even fairly silly, but we do feel a certain sense of authority, so a Grammar Police uniform seems quite fitting. It’s not like we wear it around the house or while we are editing. Alright we do, but not every day. Hey, at least it’s not a sexy Grammar Police costume.
18. We want to throw our laptop across the room when we see a word repeated a dozen times in a short paragraph
Sometimes you can’t really avoid using a particular word several times in a paragraph, but when there’s a particular word popping up in every single sentence then it’s time to throw some synonyms into the mix.
19. We jump in excitement and pinch ourselves on the rare occasion when we can’t find any big mistakes
It is rare, but you can sometimes hear editors telling tales of an error free article in a hushed voice. Few have had the pleasure of coming across this mythical beast, but those who do encounter it are said to stare in disbelief, stunned and awed by its glorious appearance.
20. We will burst into a hate-filled rant upon hearing Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic”
No Alanis, it is most decidedly not ironic, no matter how many spoons you have. That’s just not even close to the actual meaning of… You know what, I’m not even going get upset about it. It’s a stupid song anyway. I hope some of the fellow editors, who share my pain, can at least have a few good laughs while reading this article or perhaps just nod their heads knowingly with a little smile on their face.