Is there right and wrong in editing?

Writers use editors to get their work “right”, but what does right mean? No two editors will edit a piece of writing exactly the same way, but that doesn’t mean one is right and one is wrong. Often there will be several ways to suggest changes to improve writing. For instance, a previous post discussed ways to rewrite sentences to avoid gender-specific pronouns and be gender-inclusive.

Getting it right in editing means:

  • right for the audience
  • right for the purpose of the writing
  • right for the author’s voice.

Getting it right also means the basics:

  • right spelling for names, organisations and places
  • right details such as times, dates and references
  • right grammar.

But language is always changing and what is considered right can vary over time as usage evolves.

What is wrong in editing? Introducing errors when editing is wrong. If the editor is unsure of the meaning or cannot check a detail independently, the editor will make suggestions and include notes and queries for the author to confirm. The final responsibility for a piece of writing belongs with the author.

3 thoughts on “Is there right and wrong in editing?

  1. Pingback: Use your table of contents to check consistency of headings | Right with Rhonda

  2. Pingback: Paralysed by perfection and permanence | Right with Rhonda

  3. Pingback: Editing as decision-making: making thousands of decisions quickly and accurately | Right with Rhonda

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