To Edit or Not To Edit

January 14, 2008
By Clark Benedetti, Collierville, TN

To edit or not to edit, that is the question... Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous grammar, or to take arms against a sea of misspellings and, by highlighting, correct them. To relax, perchance to let slide... and by relaxing end the scorn and the thousand funny looks that editors are heirs to. 'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.

To leave uncorrected - to skip proofreading, to mistype - aye, there's the rub, for in that relaxation of standards what errors may come when we have shuffled off this mortal keyboard must give us pause. There's the consideration that makes calamity of so long writing. For who would bear the whips and scorns of misplaced apostrophes, the student's wrong answer, the author's insult, the pangs of despised correction, the SpellCheck's delay, the insolence of the ignorant, and the spurns that patient proofreaders take? Who would bear this burden, to grunt and sweat under a weary round of editing, but that the dread of something after "The End", the undiscovered country from whose border no comma returns, puzzles the will and makes us rather bear those errors we have than fly to others that we know not of?

Thus abbreviation does make cowards of us all, and thus the native hue of a good storyline is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of misplaced modifiers, and essays of great pitch and moment have their paragraphs turn awry and lose the rank of "A" papers. Oh, all-too-imperfect literature! In thy pages be all my corrections remembered.

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