Sunday, July 01, 2007

They May Have A Point

One complaint regarding bloggers that I've heard from writers of print reviews is that bloggers don't have editors going over their work before it's tossed up on the Internet for all the world to see. Is this really such a problem?

For some of us, yes.

Yesterday morning I woke up around 6:20 (on a Saturday, mind you) and thought that while I don't usually work on weekends, I might just run downstairs and write a few paragraphs on The Durand Cousins so I could stay emerged in my work. Work goes so much better when I'm emerged in it. I'd get up to speed faster on Monday if I could do some emergion over the weekend.

I didn't get any further in my thinking than that because I was, as they say, struck by lightening. I had been awake a minute, maybe two--three tops--when I realized that one cannot be emerged in one's work. One can emerge from it, perhaps, but only awkwardly. One can only become immersed in one's work.

I got up, hurried downstairs, and changed two posts in which I'd used the word emerge for immerse.

Cindy, my favorite copy editor, would have spared me the humiliation of making such a glaring usage error. And since she already knows I'm an idiot who, among other things, uses commas randomly, no harm would have been done. It's not as if I can go down any lower in her esteem.

Lack of precision in language impairs communication. It's also careless. If you're careless with your use of language, readers have a right to suspect that you're also careless in your thinking.

Print reviewers may also be imprecise and careless with their language. But they do have the benefit of editors who, one hopes, will catch them and set them straight. There is, I'm sorry to say, a great deal to be said for that.

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