The Editorial Itch… Are You Lucky Enough to Have It?

Just a quick note about a concept called “the editorial itch,” as it may be little known but as soon as people hear about it, it resonates for them if they have it or know someone who does. It’s that almost-indescribable reaction some of us have to a typo, a misused word, or–horrors–a malapropism (defined as 1 : the usually unintentionally humorous misuse or distortion of a word or phrase; especially : the use of a word sounding somewhat like the one intended but ludicrously wrong in the context), with the last often turning up when someone is speaking or writing to impress using language that he or she doesn’t fully comprehend. If you have it, you can almost feel the wrong word or punctuation or spelling pulsate at you. What a boon to those of us who love to proofread! For others, a commitment to studying and using great grammar and usage resources can end up being their editorial safety net instead. I believe a sense for such things can be cultivated, though for some it just comes more naturally, as with many other aptitudes. Just to loft a question out there in case it’s of interest to anyone with that editorial itch: How often do you forgo (the preferred spelling!) mentioning what you’ve noticed to someone as you’re not sure the input is welcome? Virtually everyone I’ve talked to who thrives on editing and/or proofreading has shared a tale of things he or she had to not mention out of concern that it would not be well received. That’s it for now… Nancy

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