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How Much Does Editing Matter to You
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 6635
Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 10:54 am    Post subject: Re: How Much Does Editing Matter to You Reply with quote

A wise woman once told me that correct speech and the ability to express yourself coherently is a quick intelligence test in the way a prospective employer may judge you. I think that applies to everyone you meet.


Agree, however, I get e-mails all the time from people with high paying executive positions, and they are filled with mistakes such as, alot..instead of a lot and there instead of their, and the list goes on and on. These mistakes are constantly made in every single e-mail. I have to wonder why their employees haven't corrected them. These are simple basic rules in writing.
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Diana



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 1044
Location: Washington DC

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
Poor copy editing still irritates, but it's so endemic to all kinds of printed material anymore that I silently emend and read on. Sometimes I get a good chuckle from misplaced modifiers which create an unintended meaning, but for the most part, I'm inured to most of the errors. But I think authors must share the blame, especially when the error is a confusion of close spellings or close meanings or close sounds--e.g. adverse for averse.


Lest I appear to be Miss Grundy from today's earlier rant, sometimes errors do give me a good laugh. "I could care less" always does it for me. I savor misused quotation marks that reverse intent, as in "Parking" or Big "Sale." Two signs I'll never forget are Open Dust to Dawn and my favorite Regrand Opening. A sign in a restroom asking that you "Please be mindful of the necessity of this facility and those who must use it" is a joy to behold.
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Niftybergin



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 1095

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Diana wrote:
Lest I appear to be Miss Grundy from today's earlier rant, sometimes errors do give me a good laugh. "I could care less" always does it for me. I savor misused quotation marks that reverse intent, as in "Parking" or Big "Sale." Two signs I'll never forget are Open Dust to Dawn and my favorite Regrand Opening. A sign in a restroom asking that you "Please be mindful of the necessity of this facility and those who must use it" is a joy to behold.


"I could care less." Ha! Although I suppose there are times when I COULD care less. And other times when caring less is frankly impossible -- my care-meter is already as low as it will go!
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Diana



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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Location: Washington DC

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 11:37 am    Post subject: Re: How Much Does Editing Matter to You Reply with quote

xina wrote:

Agree, however, I get e-mails all the time from people with high paying executive positions, and they are filled with mistakes such as, alot..instead of a lot and there instead of their, and the list goes on and on. These mistakes are constantly made in every single e-mail. I have to wonder why their employees haven't corrected them. These are simple basic rules in writing.


As I said before, I think it's because they simply don't know. They never learned. I'm very worried about the steadily slipping standards which have apparently become the norm and, even worse, accepted as the norm.

Miss Grundy with the pursed lips here again. Confused
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Tacilija



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 156
Location: California, USA

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Diana wrote:
Lest I appear to be Miss Grundy from today's earlier rant, sometimes errors do give me a good laugh. "I could care less" always does it for me.


English is not my first language, so I thought that was the reason why I couldn't figure out why some people say "I could care less" and others "I couldn't care less", when only the latter makes sense if you are trying to say that you don't care about something.

Several years ago, when my daughter was in preschool, one of the moms mentioned that she taught high school English before she had kids, so I thought she was the right person to ask about this. She told me that both forms are correct.
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Yulie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't mind a few minor errors (grammar, typos, or even historical inaccuracies) in a book if the story is good enough. As someone who does a lot of academic writing and editing, I know how difficult it is to find every mistake in a manuscript. Eventually you have to let it go and hope you got everything - or at least the important things Smile .

What does bother me is successful authors whose editors are apparently afraid to tell them something isn't working. As I see it, J.K. Rowling's later books suffered because of this. By the time she got to Order of the Phoenix, it seems that not a single person involved in the editing process had the courage to tell her that the book was 200 pages too long, boring in sections, and that in Harry's characterization she'd managed to use every known clichť about teenagers. I didn't bother finishing it (and DNFs are very rare for me) and never read or re-read her again. Diana Gabaldon's The Fiery Cross could have also benefited from more critical editing.
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Niftybergin



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 1095

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tacilija,
I'd say that "couldn't care less" is correct and the other one has become "correct" only by because it's used so often.

(Just as it's become "correct" that we say things like "Someone told me that their dog just jumped over the fence." In this case, "their" is the wrong pronoun -- plural instead of singular, for one thing -- but it's become accepted usage merely by virtue of its ubiquity.)
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Diana



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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Location: Washington DC

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tacilija wrote:

English is not my first language, so I thought that was the reason why I couldn't figure out why some people say "I could care less" and others "I couldn't care less", when only the latter makes sense if you are trying to say that you don't care about something.

Several years ago, when my daughter was in preschool, one of the moms mentioned that she taught high school English before she had kids, so I thought she was the right person to ask about this. She told me that both forms are correct.


I think "could care less" snuck into the language because people started saying it when they meant "couldn't care less." When I read or hear someone say "could care less" it sounds wrong.

From Wikipedia: Could or couldn't care less?

This is an issue to which logic is the answer:
I could care less means "I do care somewhat", since one can only care less if already caring
I couldn't care less means "I don't care at all", since one cannot care less if not caring
Evidently, if you mean to say "I don't care at all", the latter term, I couldn't care less, is the one to use. The matter changes slightly in American English, where both colloquialisms are used interchangably to mean "I don't care at all",[1] with "I could care less" meaning "I could hardly care less".[2].


I'm logical to a fault, but the logic of that explanation escapes me and I'm mightily resisting the temptation to say, well, you know.
Cool
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 3:14 pm    Post subject: Re: How Much Does Editing Matter to You Reply with quote

As I said before, I think it's because they simply don't know. They never learned. I'm very worried about the steadily slipping standards which have apparently become the norm and, even worse, accepted as the norm.

Miss Grundy with the pursed lips here again. Confused[/quote]


Actually, my daughter's school district pounded grammar into them every year starting in first grade, but it was difficult for even the brightest students. She will be a Jr. in college next year and does well with her writing, but I'm not sure she has retained all the grammar knowledge.
Ah...Miss Grundy, where are you when we need you? Gone like the dinosaur....
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 6635
Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm logical to a fault, but the logic of that explanation escapes me and I'm mightily resisting the temptation to say, well, you know.
Cool[/quote]


I've always thought saying, "I could care less" was sort of like being on the fence...like, you still care a little bit, but have room for a lot less caring. Wow...that sounds a lot like Jerry Seinfeld-type reasoning. Rolling Eyes
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Diana



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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Location: Washington DC

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 8:40 pm    Post subject: Re: How Much Does Editing Matter to You Reply with quote

xina wrote:

Actually, my daughter's school district pounded grammar into them every year starting in first grade, but it was difficult for even the brightest students. She will be a Jr. in college next year and does well with her writing, but I'm not sure she has retained all the grammar knowledge.
Ah...Miss Grundy, where are you when we need you? Gone like the dinosaur....


Lucky for her. My daughter attended a private school for 9 years and for my money (literally) she didn't get enough basic grammar. Plenty of esoteric stuff which does have its value, but not enough hard math or grammar. Darn good thing for her that she had Miss Grundy for a mother. Wink
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn’t make clear in my earlier posts that while I notice (and track) errors, they don’t stop me from enjoying books. I recorded 55 errors noticed in my last rereading of one of my favorite books, which I’ve read more than 20 times.
I edited a small quarterly astrology journal for 22 years and I think I’m fairly good at proofreading, but I got a reminder of the limits of proofreading when I worked on archiving the journal articles on the web (at http://www.ccrsdodona.org/m_dilemma/index.html). Many years of the journal were written before decent spell-checking software became common. I converted all the articles to a current version of Word while working on the archives. I don’t think there was a single older issue of the journal that didn’t have errors that Word flagged. It was a nice humbling reminder to be forgiving when I spot errors in published works.

I’ve suggested before that publishing could benefit from a beta-testing system. If books had version numbers like a lot of software, I would say the finished manuscript (or file) from most authors is a 0.9 version and the manuscript after editing is a 1.0 version. (Some authors with good proofreading skills produce 1.0 level manuscripts.) It is close to impossible for a few people to spot all problems in a few readings of any large document. This is especially true for factual/historical errors, but can even apply to grammar. A small group of people (an author and one or a few editors) simply won’t have as much knowledge as the eventual pool of readers of a published book. Readers with specialized knowledge will spot science errors, title errors, geography errors, climate errors, botany errors, horsemanship errors, etc. If publishers provided an easy feedback mechanism their books could benefit from the knowledge of readers. Then the publishers could release version 1.1 (or 2.0 if there are a lot of changes) of the book. This should be relatively easy with ebooks. It even happens occasionally with print publishing. Delaney’s Dhalgren and an early Eloisa James book come to mind (if I’m recalling correctly).
I often use the term typo too broadly since it is shorter than typing copy-editing problem. Typos (typing the wrong word when one knows better) are only one class of error in texts. Mental errors (mindos) are actually more likely to end up in a published book. One class of mindo is words that are almost right. Quite a few words in the “oops” list I posted earlier come from this. Another class is mistaken knowledge, where the author or editor thinks a particular word or fact is correct when it is wrong. I suspect the frequent lie/lay errors and grit errors I see are examples of this class.
There is a tendency to read what should be present rather than what is present in a text. This is what lets readers figure out scrambled texts, but it also makes the job of editing much harder. This is one of the reasons many authors have trouble spotting their own errors.
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Nicole



Joined: 23 Apr 2007
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Location: Las Cruces, New Mexico

PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sheesh, Mark that's amazing. Will you proof read my term papers?
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4225
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
I didnít make clear in my earlier posts that while I notice (and track) errors, they donít stop me from enjoying books. I recorded 55 errors noticed in my last rereading of one of my favorite books, which Iíve read more than 20 times.

I agree that if the book is enjoyable enough, we can excuse a few errors; but that doesn't mean, at the same time, that we condone them.

Mark wrote:
I donít think there was a single older issue of the journal that didnít have errors that Word flagged. It was a nice humbling reminder to be forgiving when I spot errors in published works.

Humbling, indeed. I couldn't agree more.

Mark wrote:
It is close to impossible for a few people to spot all problems in a few readings of any large document. This is especially true for factual/historical errors, but can even apply to grammar. A small group of people (an author and one or a few editors) simply wonít have as much knowledge as the eventual pool of readers of a published book.

I worked in a large educational public relations office for about 10 years; and you can imagine the number of bulletins, pamphlets, curriculum guides, media news releases, grade-level booklets, etc, that passed through our doors for proofing before they were finally printed. When it was time for the quarterly newsletter that is mailed to all the residents living within our parameters to be sent to the printer, we had umpteen people proof this document both visually and then with a spellcheck program. We believe we've had many "perfect" editions over the years; however, not as many as we should have had considering the eyes that covered the final proof. So I totally agree with what you had to say above.

Mark wrote:
Another class is mistaken knowledge, where the author or editor thinks a particular word or fact is correct when it is wrong. I suspect the frequent lie/lay errors and grit errors I see are examples of this class. There is a tendency to read what should be present rather than what is present in a text. This is what lets readers figure out scrambled texts, but it also makes the job of editing much harder. This is one of the reasons many authors have trouble spotting their own errors.

So true. And sometimes (in your first example), the person with the highest authority wins the round, and they may well be the one in the wrong. In your second example, many times we do read the misspelled word correctly. Our mind just fills in the missing or wrong letters.

Fascinating subject, Mark, and thank you for such a brief (but rather thorough) analysis of why proofing isn't as easy as we think it should be. Sometimes, the more people involved, the more complicated it really is. You know--like too many cooks in the kitchen! Very Happy


Last edited by Tee on Thu May 29, 2008 7:25 am; edited 2 times in total
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Nana



Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 948

PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think eding is very important. My husband and me are both big readers and we agree that grammer and spelling mistakes jerk us out of the story. Its just lazy, on the part of author's and the publishers. If you don't have a basic understanding of English, your in the wrong job.
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