Copy Editing in the Digital Age: Or, Why Mastering your Native Language is Still Important

First things first: I HATE the term grammar nazi (and really, all “blank-nazi” permutations).

I hate that it implies people who write poorly don’t deserve to be corrected. Anyone who had the good fortune to attend grammar school and high school should have at least a basic understanding of grammar. If European schoolchildren halfway across the world can manage to learn three languages, surely you and I can master one.

Of course, I also hate how it also seems to downplay the actual horrors and crimes the Nazis committed against humanity. If all the Nazis did was sternly reprimand people for word usage and punctuation, I’d feel differently. But that’s for another post.

The more often I copy edit, the more I feel like grammar is only a small, small part of what I do. Sure, I look for typos, stray commas and sentence structure errors, but if that was everything, any well-educated person with a relatively competent grasp of the English language could edit. As I have learned, that simply isn’t the case.

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