Corectin the gramar in the SDSU Colegin


Who, whom; their, they’re. These commonly misspelled words make my job what it is.

I’ll be the first to admit it. I’m especially picky when it comes to grammar.

Thankfully, my job as copy editor has provided an outlet for me to use my grammar obsession for good.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve offended friends and relatives by correcting their speech. My passion for correct grammar has changed the way my fiancee speaks forever. Every word he even uttered that was mispronounced or used in the wrong context was immediately corrected by yours truly.

Thankfully, the people at the Collegian offered me a job as copy editor. For those of you not familiar with journalism speak, a copy editor is in charge of correcting spelling errors, grammar errors and making sure facts are correct. Each and every week, I read the entire paper at least once, maybe twice.

Since all of my “talent” is used up on the paper, I have stopped correcting the way people speak.

I must admit, though, I am now more of a stickler for correct spelling and grammar in written works, however. At times, I’ve forgotten that I was reading a textbook and started editing. I’ve actually found some pretty nasty errors.

And don’t even get me started on some of the terrible errors in the notes and tests I get from some of my professors. It’s always startling to see a simple word misspelled by someone who is supposed to know more than I do. But maybe that’s just me.

Copy editors aren’t infallible, however, especially me. Sometimes, when the paper comes out, I see mistakes that are completely obvious. I feel stupid and figure everyone who gets the paper will think I’m incompetent.

Last week, for instance, my boss pointed out an error I should have caught in two seconds. I thought I was going to pass out right there on the spot.

But I learned that most people don’t notice, and when they do, they understand that journalists are only human and we can’t expect to be perfect. And if I do mess up, it’s not the end of the world. But, still, I think I should know better.

The Associated Press stylebook, Webster’s Dictionary and I have formed a closer relationship than I ever thought possible.

I am becoming the resident expert in spelling and grammar rules. This job requires more work than I thought. Contrary to my earlier belief before I got this job, I am NOT the grammar queen. I rely heavily on that trusty little spiral bound book better known as the AP Stylebook.

This job has been a real eye-opener.

Well, actually, my eyes will never recover; reading those teeny-tiny words on the proof pages has rendered me nearly blind.

Some people may think checking the newspaper for grammatical errors would be boring and they’re probably right. But this particular journalist finds it terribly interesting.

Grammar can make or break a newspaper. It can either make them look like they know what they’re writing about or it can make them look stupid.

I take my job very seriously, it’s important to me that the paper appears competent.

However, please don’t feel compelled to stop me on the street to let me know I let the misspelling of “the” slide.

Trust me, I know, and I feel awful!

Lindsay Bland is the Collegian’s copy editor. Tell her how to spel “spell” at [email protected].