When I edit someone else’s work, I try to be pragmatic and flexible. I strive to be open-minded.
I don’t want to be that guy who just ruthlessly rewrites, revises and reprimands without any compassion or democratic exchange. I don’t want to be a joyless enforcer of rules, an inflexible word accountant.
I like to let loose and get mildly subversive with a bit of well-timed, well-executed grammatical rule-bending as much as the next guy.
There is, however, a handful of words and phrases that rankle my soul and provoke my editorial indignation.
I understand that no one likes people who dictate what to do or how to write, so please take these with a grain of salt. Though let’s be honest we can probably do without all of the following:
Impactful. This is not a word. You hear and see this non-word so frequently that it seems inevitable it will eventually steamroll its way into some kind of official status. Though in the same spirit of fighting against the seemingly unstoppable stream of Jets and Patriots fans clogging up South Florida, I encourage you to push against the tide by rejecting the validity of “impactful.”