Monday, 16 February 2009

Dear Large Publishing House

Dear Large Publishing House,

Editors work for you, right?

Then you will forgive me for losing a little bit of respect for you when you have grammatical errors in a catalogue advertising books intended to help children learn to read.

I can let typos go. It’s an awfully big catalogue. I am also ok with a few mistyped ISBNs. When you’re listing 900 or so books, typing in 13 digits for each one, a zero per cent error rate is unrealistic. There’s bound to be a slip of the finger somewhere.

But entire grammatical dogs’ breakfasts, when the people you employ are editors?

Most people may neither know nor care about dangling participles. But it’s an editor’s job to know and care. Getting it right would have the sentence in front of me saying the book is ‘packed with bright, full-colour photographs’. With its merrily dangling participle, at the moment the sentence tells me the young readers are packed with those very photographs.

It’s not only confusing, but it sounds deeply uncomfortable.



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