Anyone out there editing or proofreading? Anyone?

I’m the wrong gender and not old enough to be a curmudgeon, but if there were a female version of this word, I would employ it here. Since I can’t find one on Merriam Webster’s site, I will go ahead and use the word.

If anything could make me curmudgeonly, it would be the lack of editing and proofreading in published material. I accept that for texts and tweets, a shortened version of English words and phrases is useful. I can understand that Facebook, by its informal nature, does not require that we write the same way we would in school or at work.

However, I am slowly being driven insane by the sloppily-edited books I read, by misused words on websites and in newsletters, and by misspellings everywhere.

For example, I read a lot of mysteries. One of the pleasures of this genre for me has always been that it’s light reading, yet intellectually stimulating enough that I’m not bored. These days, the Intellectual stimulation I get is mentally correcting sentence structure and noting continuity errors.

There is one mystery writer. Who writes. Like this. I understand that an occasional incomplete sentence can provide emphasis, but this is so distracting that I lose the sense of what is written. I like her characters, the settings of her books and sometimes even the plot, but I can no longer read her books because. Her sentence structure. Is so annoying.

Don’t even get me started on sentences that start with words that I was taught introduce a clause in an existing sentence. Because that’s another pet peeve.

Websites are rife with examples of sloppy editing or perhaps no editing at all. During a recent heat wave, the headline on an article about reducing energy consumption referred to ‘preserving’ energy. I am all in favor of conserving energy, but I refuse to boil it with sugar, put it in sealed jars, and place it on my pantry shelves.  

One of my favorite goofs appeared in an article I read recently on a major news site. The writer stated that the subject of the article had been arrested for ‘pubic intoxication.’ Really?

Believe me, I understand how mistakes happen; what seems to be missing these days is the awareness that one might have made a mistake and the will to correct it. This may be old-fashioned of me, but I think sloppy language is a sign of sloppy thinking. At best, it’s annoying; at worst, it’s potentially dangerous, even life-threatening. Please, editors and writers, pay attention!

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