Top 10 editing peeves from a peevish editor

In the course of a year, an editor sees certain linguistic gaffes over and over. It’s annoying; then again, it’s also job security.

The waning days of any year give rise to lists, so here’s my compilation of the top 10 writing flaws of 2010—in no particular order:

Two nouns, singular verb. “Establishing your commitment to excellence and reinforcing it to your workforce is paramount in today’s business environment.” Is? Really? There are two elements in your subject, so why the singular verb form? Plural, please. We’ve acquiesced on social media as a singular form, even though the word media is the plural of medium. Let’s not have subjects and verbs disagree. Can’t we all just get along?

Companies who/employees that. Speaking of disagreeing, I disagree with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that companies are people. I’m not talking about the political ramifications; that’s a topic for another essay, in another blog, on a different site. Here, I’m talking about the anthropomorphism of a business and the dehumanizing of its people. The word company should take that, as would any non-person. People get who. (OK, Fido and Mr. Whiskerton are near and dear to you; use a discretionary who, if you wish.)

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