Sometimes I feel like Atlas, using both hands to keep the world from getting stupider.
Just kidding, y’all. I have long been a natural copy editor–constantly pointing out typos, missing words, and incorrect punctuation wherever I see it (and I see it everywhere).
To a lot of people, copy editing seems like nitpicking. LET ME TELL YOU WHY IT’S NOT.
Copy editing pays (my) bills.
Aaaand on to the next one.
Copy editing improves reading comprehension.
People understanding what they read is pretty much super-pivotal. How many times have you tried to read the impossible “English” on product packaging and been completely enraged by its obscurity?
Or have you ordered breakfast from a badly written menu, and received something other than what you were expecting?
Copy editing makes text as perfect as it can be.
For anyone who appreciates the sheer beauty of words, this is a crucial consideration. There’s nothing like getting into the flow of a piece of writing, and having a typo or missing word straight-up donkey-kick you out of your Reading Rainbow reverie.
Beauty is important. Copy editing, in its small way, helps preserve beauty. [Click to tweet]
Copy editing preserves the English language.
Ding ding ding! Ladies and gentlemen, in all of its truthiness, here is the crux of the issue. English is a living language, yes. But like all living things, it can only take so many unceremonious gut-punches before it shudders and dies.
Please stop misspelling “night” as “nite”. Please stop thinking “you’re” and “your” are synonymous. Please stop eliminating commas, one by one, from every sentence (though if it’s a stylistic choice, I’m down for that. But you have to be doing it on purpose; most people are not).
And please understand that these things matter, for the reasons listed above.
I’m not casting myself as the last, valiant defender of a dying art–but I am saying that if you speak to me in “abbrevs” one more time, I will break your laptop.