The confessions of a recovering pedant

Here’s a blog — passed to me through Robin Lustig and Jill Matthews — that is easily the best about the English language that I have seen in ages. In my dreams I sound like this. What a disappointment to wake up each day, resuming consciousness as the smirking cad that I am.

Stroppy Editor

I love the English language, and I love being right. So I became a copy editor. But I grew to realise that my concept of rightness was wrong – and that if I truly loved the language, I’d have to change.

The rise and fall of my mental rulebook

I’ve always been this way. At school, I was the kid who got asked to spell difficult words to save my classmates a trip to the dictionary. In my first job, I was the guy who got given reports to proofread before they went to the client. I played these parts with quiet relish.

But I wanted more.

And when I started getting into editorial work, I knew I needed to be more. My instincts needed to be sharper and my arsenal bigger. So I scoured books and websites for grammatical constructions to avoid, semantic distinctions to maintain. I built an…

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