Thursday, June 13, 2013

Can You Get a Minor in Blemishes?

Thanks be to Kevin Eagan (check out his site Critical Margins for one of the most insightful stops you'll make on the Internet today) for finding this article from former American Copy Editors Society president John E. McIntyre's Baltimore Sun column post: "Editing as a portable skill." In this charming recap of his experiences teaching editing to Loyola University Maryland students, McIntyre poetically muses:
They begin to see that precision in grammar and usage has an aesthetic benefit, by not distracting the reader with minor blemishes. They notice that eliminating wordiness increases the impact of expression. They begin to see how proper editing can lead to elegance: not the frou-frou and carpenter's gothic produced when writers mistake fanciness for elegance, but the genuine elegance that rises when diction and syntax and cadence and metaphor are apt to the writer's purpose.
Speaking of "minor blemishes," there's an extra space on the Sun's website just before "minor," although it didn't copy over, strangely enough. Does that show up on other people's browsers, too, or just mine?


  1. Thanks for the mention and the compliment.

    What I like most about this article is his focus on simplicity leading to elegance. Many writers don't think about editing in this way. A good editor takes a writers excellent idea or concept and shapes it and makes it elegant.

    Also, I'm interested in the American Copy Editors Society. It looks like a great resource. (There's another editing-related issue: copy editing, copyediting, or copy-editing? I prefer copyediting.)

    p.s. I didn't see the extra space. Possibly a browser issue?

    1. Copyediting, all the way. Why? Because simplify, that's why. English is a Germanic language. We can smash our words together if we want to. It's our ethnolinguistic right.

      Probably a browser issue, thanks for the feedback. This is slightly alarming, considering my profession. Reliable tools are kind of essential.