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I’m in the processing of copy editing a 1,000-page textbook that is due in two batches. I’ve already sent in the first batch of chapters, and as I’m editing the second batch of chapters, I’m coming across errors I missed in the first batch. I’ve already sent a list of close to twenty errors (although some were related, such as the same word misspelled twice) that I missed to my project manager, but I’m still coming across more. Another person is doing the proofreading for this project so I won’t have the opportunity to fix these mistakes myself.
Is there a certain number of errors,
perhaps based on the number of pages, that copy editors miss and that is
expected? This is my first project with this company and my first time editing
a text of this length. I don’t want my project manager to think I’m careless.
How should I proceed? Any advice you could provide would be greatly
appreciated. Thanks so much.
So far you’ve been doing the right thing, and quite honestly I don’t see any alternative to continuing to send lists of errors. To withhold the errors wouldn’t be right—and in any case, the proofreader will probably notice them later. Your only decision is to weigh the nuisance of sending several lists against the cumulative embarrassment of sending one long one. You might ask your project manager which she prefers.
But don’t be defensive or apologetic when you send a list of errors. When I edit a long work, I’m constantly making new corrections in the early chapters, so I know that a certain amount of this is to be expected. And at least you’re catching the errors! The supervising editor might be impressed that you are so meticulous, honest, and thorough. This might be routine for her.
As it happens, I rarely edit in
batches, and I don’t send batches to my freelancers, so it’s not something I
would normally encounter. I’d love to hear about the experience other readers
have had with this issue.
Dear Ms. Saller,
I just read your Chronicle column on citation forms—acceptable or otherwise. One of your early examples called to mind a minor irritant of mine. That is, the occasional practice of including the place of publication but not the publisher. I know of no useful knowledge that comes from learning that a book was published in New York rather than Boston. Knowing the city (unless it is, say, Chapel Hill) provides little clue as to who published the book. Academic publisher? Trade book? Self-published? So why bother with city only?Ben
I am told by scholars that in some disciplines, it is indeed helpful to know
what city (or country) a piece of scholarship originated in, since sometimes
research develops in different directions among, say, German scholars and American scholars. They contend that the place of publication can be more
meaningful than the name of the publisher, and in their work they often omit
the publisher’s name.
Dear Ms. Saller,
On my home computer, the antivirus software frequently displays a message, “Your system is secured.” To me, that’s like saying on a shopfront sign, “Everyone is welcomed.” I am positive that the correct message should be “Your system is secure.” “Your system is secured” sounds ungrammatical because “secured” here is and should be an adjective, and the adjective form of “secure” is “secure.” I’ve posed this question on other forums, and some people have defended it by citing the use of a “past indefinite passive voice.” The term “secured” would then be a passive form of verb, but used loosely as an adjective?
The verb “secure” is unique in that it cuts both ways. It can refer to the act of taking over a target; or it can mean preventing external acts of acquisition. In the case of computer antivirus software, the term “secured” can apply in two opposite scenarios: (1) The system has been secured by XXXX virus. (2) YYY antivirus software has secured your system against viruses. Of course, argumentative people will just say use your common sense. But to me, the fact that a possible alternative meaning exists means that this is bad communication. My question is: Is the original message “Your system is secured” grammatically sound and totally acceptable in terms of communicative effectiveness, when compared to “Your system is secure”?
Hope you can find time to entertain my frivolous questions.
I do have time for a frivolous question! Both
constructions are perfectly grammatical and commonly used and nearly identical
in meaning. The past participle “is secured” serves as an adjective, so it
meets your own requirement in that regard. As a copyeditor, I would indeed use
my common sense and not spend time worrying about hidden or subtle or unlikely
meanings. It’s the sort of thing a grammarian—an argumentative one—might
consider in depth, but luckily, I’m not one.
All the best,