Even Grammar Gurus Make Mistakes
I’ve noticed that I’ve been overlooking more mistakes in these posts recently — or perhaps it’s just that I haven’t been making fewer errors as I go along, as I would have expected after six months’ worth of almost daily submissions.
Thanks to astute site visitors who (usually) politely point out typographical errors, I note that occasionally I type the wrong form of a word (necessary instead of necessarily, for example), or that, when I provide a sample sentence with an error and then provide an annotated correction, sometimes I forget to actually correct the sentence. (Does that jive — I mean, jibe — with your observation?)
I’d like to be able to tell you, “I meant to do that — I just wanted to see if anybody was paying attention,” but the truth is, I make mistakes. And, like most bloggers, I don’t have an editor to sweep up after me. And, as I’ve often said, especially to people unfamiliar with the professional publishing world’s writing-editing-proofreading protocol, everybody needs an editor — even editors.
But before you send me your resume, note that we’re not hiring — blogs are, by their nature, a more or less spontaneous medium of communication (though I try to review my work carefully), and, anyway, DailyWritingTips.com doesn’t have the resources to implement a more traditional editorial procedure (not yet, at least).
I realize all too well that in my advisory capacity, I have a responsibility to strive for rigorous flawlessness — a nearly impossible task I will nonetheless continually attempt to accomplish, but I also thank you in arrears and in advance for your (good-natured, I hope) comments about each lapsus clavis.
Speaking of slip-ups, there are mechanical errors, and there are errors of fact. I do not claim to be an unimpeachable authority on every topic I write about. But I have spent many years intensively acquiring a practical knowledge of language, and by teaching editing (which I used to do), writing about composition (which I do now), and researching language usage (which I have always done), I have learned and processed much about writing and editing. In this forum, I welcome the opportunity to share that knowledge and insight with you, and in this forum, you are welcome — and encouraged — to respond in kind.
Note this well, however: If you disagree with anything I write about writing, that’s your prerogative. But don’t rely on your assumptions — or your education. (Those influences often coalesce imperfectly, and educators make mistakes, too.) The best way to learn is to consult multiple sources and develop your own understanding at a point where those sources intersect — and note that I didn’t refer to a fixed point. I endeavor to be consistent yet flexible, and I heartily recommend that attitude to all.