Every profession has its hazards, some more serious than others. Professional drivers know that if they drive too long, they risk falling asleep at the wheel and causing an accident.
Last week, a few examples of the hazards of being a professional copyeditor were on display. I don’t mean there were copyeditors charged with vandalizing public signs. Instead, there were cases of editors missing the forest for the trees and of editors judging harshly without thinking or researching.
This semester I’ve been teaching Copyediting II in an online certificate program. The middle of three core courses, Copyediting II focuses on what Amy Einsohn calls language editing—grammar, usage, syntax, and diction. During the lesson on parallelism, one student asked about when copyeditors should edit for parallelism. “What criteria require restructuring the whole sentence?” she asked.
We’ve all heard folks proclaim they’d make good copyeditors because they pick typos out of books. Today’s articles demonstrate that noticing the occasional typo isn’t enough to become a good copyeditor.