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33 Struggles Only Copy Editors Will Understand

I got 99 problems but a serial comma ain't one.

1. You are literally blinded by pain any time you see "is" or "be" lowercased in a title.

2. You're either staunchly for or against the serial comma — nowhere in the middle.

3. You're excited to get an email from a friend you haven't heard from in a while...until you realize it's a presentation, résumé, or application they'd like you to edit.

4. You'd rather skinny-dip through the New York City sewer than subject your eyes to a hyphen after an adverb.

5. You often have to handle very sensitive questions and requests from your colleagues and boss.

Getting an email from your editor-in-chief asking if blow job is really two words is why I do what I do every day

6. You evaluate potential mates on their ability to correctly use "fewer" vs. "less than."

7. And you've canceled more than a handful of dates based on red-flag texts.

8. The pain of forsaking proper spelling and/or punctuation in favor of characters in a tweet is one you know all too well.

9. You've alienated a friend or two after correcting their grammar at the dinner table.

10. You silently judge people for not knowing the differences between a hyphen, an en dash, and an em dash.

11. You openly judge people for not knowing the differences between "their," "there," and "they're."

12. An extra space between words jumps out at you like a gap as wide as the Grand Canyon.

13. You know that it's *technically* correct to open an email with a comma after "hey" or "hi" but never do it because "Hi, Kate" looks super creepy.

14. You pray that the Associated Press will one day accept italics as a thing that writers actually use.

15. But you do get inexplicably nostalgic for old AP spellings every now and then, especially the golden days of "Web site."

16. You'd rather condemn yourself to a life of wearing nothing but Justin Bieber T-shirts than read a sentence wherein someone will "try and do something" ever again.

Attention English speaking humans: You "try to do something," not "try and do something." If you're doing it, you've succeeded in trying.

17. Your family and friends think it's a good and/or funny idea to get you books on grammar and usage for birthdays and holidays. And you probably agree.

18. The type-A tendencies that make you a great editor often spill over into other aspects of your life — you're crazy organized or can't stand mess.


19. You judge restaurants based on the typos on their menus or websites.

20. You feel guilty whenever you don't use correct grammar in casual spoken conversation.

"Yeah, I'm good! How are you?"

21. You've changed "e.g." to "i.e." or vice versa more times than you've had to say your own name in all your years alive.

22. You implode whenever someone uses "good" instead of "well."

23. You've come to terms with the fact that there'll never be an easy way to remember when to use "lay" or "lie" or "lain" or "laid."

24. You take it as a personal offense when you spot an en dash masquerading as an em dash and are just feeling so attacked right now.

25. You can't help but snicker or make a backhanded comment when someone's forgotten a very necessary comma.

26. (And sometimes you are downright terrified.)

27. You often have to explain what your quirky T-shirts or mugs mean to your non-editor friends.

28. You wear the nickname "Word Nerd" like a badge of honor.

29. People often respond with, "Oh, so you're a proofreader?" when you tell them you're a copy editor.

30. You violently cringe when someone says, "She's the type of person that..."

31. But there's a constant battle between your head and heart regarding whether your cat or dog is a "that" or a "who" on paper.

32. You'll defend the words of Strunk and White until death.

33. Though you probably do most of your work electronically these days, old-fashioned proofreader's marks will always have a special place in your heart.