I loathe looking at my old articles. I am ashamed at what I thought were half decent articles three or four months ago. Or even two weeks ago. This happened to me last Tuesday: I opened an article I wrote last month, hoping to find out why one of my colleagues thought it was so great. I struggled to read it because of all the clichés. Well, perhaps there aren’t that many, but it was still painful.
Almost once a week I discover another grammar or spelling rule that I try to apply to my writing. So I browse through my older articles (especially my older blog posts) and correct what I can. This doesn’t always work, though. A different colleague told me it’s bad for Search Engine Optimisation, so she refuses to correct the mistakes I find in my old content.
Yes, it’s sad, but that just means I rarely visit the sites she manages; too many long winded sentences and terrible spelling (mine). But sometimes I have to, especially when I’m writing new content for it. And I cringe and shake my head at how bad I used to be. Though I often blame it on being rushed to write the content… And I thank whoever made me discover grammar books.
But what if I were a 24.com journalist? Or an iAfrica one? They at least have subeditors who should do what they do best: subedit. Right? Nope, folks. Every single day I see gazillions of these silly mistakes. There’s much confusion about ‘judgment and judgement’; ‘ageing and aging’; instalment and installment; and I have also noticed the very funny usage of ‘languishing’ when the more appropriate word would’ve been ‘luxuriating’ or ‘lounging’.
The okes at iAfrica.com and Women24.com must be gatvol of me; every day I send them an email with grammar and spelling ‘suggestions’. Some of these are applied; others not. The word fashionista’s on the Women24.com site implies the possessive form, not the plural form.
So I wonder: are writers and subeditors too busy to read our thoughtful emails (I promise I’m always pleasant when I write to them), or do they not care? Do they know that I am sans degree or diploma, and because of this, they refuse to listen to my pleas for grammatical articles?
I’ll admit this (I was tempted to use ‘concede’ here, but decided admit is more precise), though: I love finding faults in publications. Especially when the average writer or editor is an alleged graduate with a four-year degree who read Jane Austen and Tolkien and now believe he or she can *everyone gasp at the count of three* write.