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The Copy Editor Goes on Vacation: The Red Pen

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Though the copy editor knows no rest, it is time for me to take my vacation. Two weeks of the ocean, seafood, cocktails, friends, and a good book or two—sounds incredible. 

Here I am four days away from my break, knowing I have to write this column before I leave. As you know by now, I am usually pretty ornery—I never really have to get myself amped up about all the errors I see; it comes to me as naturally as breathing. But I am not feeling very worked up about the appropriate uses of apostrophes today, which is probably an indicator of how much I really need a vacation … 

The one thing I am worried about is who will be minding the store when I am gone. My boss, the Editor-in-Chief, is a wonderful person and a highly capable editor, but she’s not a copy editor and she doesn’t have the time (or the sadistic desire) to run down every error I encounter in my average day; after all, that’s why she hired me. 

Because pictures speak slightly under 1,001 words, I wanted to share some pictures of gross errors that made me wonder—was the copy editor on vacation? And if not, WTF

Source: Telstar Logistics (cc) 

I am actually frequently disappointed with major publications … but the freakin’ headline? The whole editorial department must have been on vacation that day—think about how many people must have seen that before it went to print. 

Source: Matcochr (cc) 

The hills are alive with the sound of my voice giving acknowledgment that I have read the document concerning clearer guidelines on exam leave … 

Source: GrinGod (cc) 

Nothing I write will be funnier than that picture. 

I have a dream, too … of mandatory Spellcheck microchips embedded in all humans from now on and preferably retroactively as well. 

A friend who knows what a freak I am about editing sent this to me. I started to write something cheeky and clever about this, but really, why bother? It’s just … ew. 

Photo source: sylvar (cc) 

Error on a Web site—bad. Error in a magazine—badder. Error written in stone—baddest.

Photo source: sebFlyte (cc) 

I am categorically opposed to adding new (especially fad-ish) words to the dictionary, but I kind of like “limated.” Limate: A friend who lies? When two limes have “relations”? 

Photo source: stevefaeembra (cc)

Why? It’s not like you do. 

Photo source: piblet (cc) 

That’s it. I give up. See you next month!

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