My wife is attending the annual American Copy Editor’s Society (ACES) conference in St. Petersburg this weekend.
This afternoon she sent this tweet.
You know it's good, because my wife never tweets.
It's a great point about editing. Editing is not about the editor. It's about the reader.
An editor is the first reader of a work. Her job is to make sure a piece makes sense, content wise tonally, for the reader. It's not about making corrections. A good editor loves nothing more than a piece they don't have to do anything to.
Last week, there was news about a court case in Maine being decided because of a serial comma. And it drove me crazy. The serial comma is one of those things that grammar nerds will argue about. I rarely use it but only because I learned AP style so I think in that. My wife, who is a genuinely gifted copy editor, believes that what matters is not adherence to any rule or style but clarity. If the reader knows what you’re trying to say, the grammar is fine. If they don’t, there’s an issue.
It’s not a blind adherence about rules, it’s not about showing off your linguistic snobbery and it’s not about you.
It’s about the reader.