Here be the edited test
given to those who wanted to apply for the editing committee. This is the unedited copy
Now I'm just going to a little into what changes our committee made, some of the things they did wrong, and a little into the test itself.
The 'test' is an adapted exercise from Nicola Harris' Basic Editing: A Practical Course
(now out of print). The final copy here is the final copy from that particular book. Personally, I would probably argue with some of the changes and some of the things that weren't changed--and that is one of the first things I wanted to point out. You will never give a manuscript or other piece of writing to two different editors and get back the same thing. Never. Pretty much 101% guaranteed. While some grammatical rules are 'unbreakable' and should
be picked up by all
editors, there is so much in writing (and, thus, editing) that just comes down to personal preference. The Oxford/listing comma, semi-colon usage, splitting infinities; starting sentences with 'and'.
There was an article
I read the other day on double/single quote usage that made a very interesting point: grammatical rules are mostly just made up!
Basically, what I'm saying is that it is okay to argue with your editors. You can say STET to their changes; though, you should still consider their advice equally.
That said, here are some of the things I found upon checking over the editing committee's tests:
- Only half of the tests received removed the hyphen from 'sea-gulls'. I would consider this an error. 'Seagull' is an acceptable term and it is listed as such in a majority of current dictionaries. On that note, however, while the final version from Harris' book removes the hyphen from 'cooperative', I would allow the hyphen. This is a term that is still currently argued over and is still commonly seen in both forms.
- 'War' was also only capitalised by 50%. 'Second World War' is a proper noun and thus each word needs to begin with a capital. Everyone picked up on capitalising 'French', but no one realised 'downland' was incorrectly capitalised.
- One of the editors actually changed the last paragraph's tense from present to past. This was an error. While the preceding section was in past tense, this was because that section was reflecting upon a different time. The rest of the piece, however, was set presently.
- Not many of the editors bothered much with the formatting of the text. While it was not specifically asked to be done as part of the test, it should be noted that formatting is also a part of an editor's job. If this were a professional contract, it would often be expected for the editor to also 'style' the document. If there is interest I can go more into this process later.
Overall, all the editors that applied did incredibly well, picking up on the majority of errors and rephrasing sections so that they were far more comprehensible.
If anyone has any specific questions--fire away!