The Best Way to Irk an Editor? Use Too Many Capitals


“I hesitated to write you because I’m sure you’ll catch many errors.”

“You’re probably noticing a ton of mistakes I’m making right now.”

“Please excuse the many embarrassing grammar errors you’ll probably find in this email.”

I hear stuff like this a lot. No one is 100% secure in their grammar knowledge, so it’s easy to feel insecure when exhibiting your language skills to someone who gets paid to find mistakes.

But if you think you can guess how editors scrutinize your writing, guess again. We’re not judgmental about most of the “errors” people worry about making — wrong verb tenses, wrong word choices, the occasional comma splice or dangler.

As we know well, everyone makes mistakes. Plus, when a sentence comes out naturally, that’s usually a good argument for it, whether it conforms to stickler rules or not. Casual speech and writing are fine with us.
We can be extremely peevish — just not in ways you’d expect. Exhibit A is a recent exchange between copy editors on social media that I look at in my recent column.


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