Seeking Sewers, Riding Fairies: Why Editing is Important

Why Editing is Important

Why Editing is Important

Education: the older I get, the more I value mine. Most every day I’m confronted with real-life “story problems” requiring that I use basic math. And maybe it’s just because I’m such a verbal/language-oriented person, but even more often I scrutinize the written word and see examples of people who either never learned the language well, or who forgot their lessons.

Let’s look at a few recent examples of why editing is important.

Check out the top photo. This was taken from the front page of a newspaper from a nearby small town. I noticed that the same guy wrote every story on the page, so maybe he’s just overworked. But … a couple “poured” over shelves of writings? Did they have pitchers for that? The article got even better when I reached the part where they planned to take a “fairy” across Lake Michigan. I really hope the reporter will cover that event, with a big photo! Who knows, they may even encounter a unicorn as they make their journey on the fairy. That would be AWESOME.

Moving on — an organization from my girls’ school sent me an email recently, titled “Sewers Needed.” Hmmmmm. This was curious. Do some people just have pieces of sewer lying around in the basement? What would that even look like? I opened the email and then realized its true message: “We are also looking for sewers to create bonnets, dresses, and aprons.” Okay, then. Yikes, I guess *I* am a “sewer!” I suppose they meant seamstresses. But I’m kind of wondering if they’ll get any sewers donated.

Today’s final example comes from Amazon. I review items I’ve purchased there on occasion, and sometimes people will email me, asking if I’ll purchase what they’re selling and review it. I get it, since as an author I realize the importance of having the things you’re selling reviewed. But, sometimes the descriptions of the things I’m asked to review truly amuse me. In many cases, they are obviously written by someone with a command of English that’s tenuous at best. Check out these gems, from a description of a girls’ swimsuit:

  • “polk dot pattern”
  • “We highly recommend this style as it can fit all the princess no matter they are slim or chunk.” Oh my. I think we can make a blanket statement to businesses here: never refer to a customer as a “chunk.”
  • “Best wishes for angles in this world and best gift choice for every sweet girl.” Well, it’s nice to know they’re remembering geometry fondly.
  • “As a ballet fan, I know how elegant when our princess wears the ballet dress.” I don’t even have any commentary here. I emailed the … lady? back, telling her I no longer had any girls who could wear the swimsuits, but suggesting that she could hire me to re-write the swimsuit descriptions. She declined — and they’re still there! To amuse you too, my friends!

That wraps up today’s installment of why editing is important, my friends. What egregious examples of butchering our language have you seen recently? Do share in the comments.

4 thoughts on “Seeking Sewers, Riding Fairies: Why Editing is Important

  1. I always get a chuckle out of these. One that comes to mind is a recipe that said to place the ingredients in a bowel. A shortcut, I guess, to digestion. 🙂

  2. Since I was an Executive Secretary/Management Assistant before I retired, my job was to check every piece of correspondence that went to the Division Chief for review/signature. I worked for the Department of Army and some of the correspondence went to the higher-ups at the Pentagon, There could be no errors! I had training classes on editing so I could be sure to do a good job. Even though I am retired now, I constantly notice errors in correspondence, the daily newspapers, on emails I get, etc. When I order an item online, I usually read the reviews to see if there are any problems with the item. I cannot believe the reviews with all the errors.

  3. I commit loads of these just by being a horrible proof reader! The classics get me: their/they’re/there. “exspecially” is a common one. I also read student papers that make me believe grammar hasn’t been taught since 1066

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