Friday, December 19, 2014
Writing: It's Not Math ... Well, Maybe a Little
Some people love that with math the answer is always the same: 1 + 1 = 2. In English and grammar the rules are similar. You always use commas. You always use periods. Spelling though has its nuances. Did you know in American usage toward is always toward and in British UK usage its towards. One of the things that makes learning English so difficult is it's sometimes like a mechanical process of memorization. You have to admire those who can truly win a spelling bee. These people would have to know minor pieces of information like the difference between when you hyphen in-between (what does it mean in context defines the use of the hyphen) or in between. Tricky usage can make an editor crazy who doesn't have a photographic memory to even remember there is a hyphen in some cases. Two words that are really one word and so on. When people say they don't need an editor or their documents are completely perfect without mistakes, I nod with a glazed looked over my red, tired eyes. Those emphatic writers have not done it professionally if they've made that proclamation. I've never in my long career span as a professional editor and writer seen one "perfect" document. I don't care if the librarian or your finest English teacher edited it. Not one time, and once these committed writers who are certain they are right and I am wrong see what happens when the book goes through the professional process, the surprise is always followed by a sheepish, "Oh!"