A Day in the Life of an Editor

life of an editor - homeforlearning-© swellphotographBy Mandy V. Robinson

I am an editor. Everywhere I go I see grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes. Some are slight, while others are not so slight. Every time I see a mistake, I think to myself, “This means I will always have a job.”

Some gems I’ve found recently: A T-shirt for sale at a kiosk in the mall: “D.A.D.D. Dad’s Against Daughter’s Dating.”

This is something I have been seeing a lot lately: using an apostrophe (‘) to pluralize something. An apostrophe is used before an “s” in a word to make that word possessive: Dad’s shirt, Melinda’s lunchbox, Harriet’s hamster, you get the idea. Apostrophes are also used at the end of words ending in “s” to make them possessive: the dogs’ collars, the babies’ diapers, etc. Another use for the apostrophe is to make a contraction. Instead of saying, “Susan is going to the party,” you could simply say, “Susan’s going to the party.” I have seen this misuse of the apostrophe all over the place from Internet memes to professional business marquees.

Another T-shirt at the kiosk read: “Beinng Normal Is Boring.” I’m sure that I could agree with the general sentiment, but the word “being” only has one “n,” not two. Some spelling mistakes can actually say something entirely different from what you intended, because you used a different word entirely. For example, the time my sister and I saw a marquee for Village Inn that said that they were having a sale on all of their “deserts and pies.” At first glance you might think, “Yummy!” Yes. Desserts and pies are yummy, but the sign said deserts. A desert is an arid piece of land that usually has limited amounts of water. A dessert, on the other hand, is a delicious, sweet treat. My mom always taught us “Dessert has two esses, because you want more of it.” That is called mnemonic device, a way to help you remember and retain information.

I have seen many other errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation around town, but those were some that really stuck out to me. Have you seen any errors like those mentioned above?

Mandy V. Robinson has been a freelance, telecommuting editor since 2002. She started out editing homeschool curriculum for her mother, Valerie Bendt, while she was a teenager. She has also edited professional blogs, essays from students ranging from middle school to graduate school, senior theses (both at the Bachelor’s and Master’s levels), a self-help book, screenplays and stage plays, and much more. She is a full-time, stay-at-mom to three children and a wife of six years to her husband David. She can be contacted atMandyVRobinson@gmail.com.

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