Have the proof-reader shot


Some nice Twainisms in David Crystal’s Guardian article about his new book Making a Point: the pernickety story of English punctuation.

Yesterday Mr. Hall wrote that the printer’s proof-reader was improving my punctuation for me; I telegraphed orders to have him shot without giving him time to pray.

I give it up. These printers pay no attention to my punctuation, Nine-tenths of the labor & vexation put upon me by Messrs Spottiswoode & Co consists in annihilating their ignorant & purposeless punctuation & restoring my own.
This latest batch, beginning with page 145 & running to page 192 starts out like all that went before it – with my punctuation ignored & their insanities substituted for it. I have read two pages of it – I can’t stand any more. If they will restore my punctuation themselves & then send the purified pages to me I will read it for errors of grammar & construction – that is enough to require of an author who writes as legible a hand as I do, & who knows more about punctuation in two minutes than any damned bastard of a proof-reader can learn in two centuries.

Photo : http://www.flickr.com/photos/12176921@N05/5474226142


12 thoughts on “Have the proof-reader shot

  1. Laugage, spellling, grammar and punctuation have all changed. It is a living language. I must admit I’ve become quite sloppy about the whole matter. One becomes a bit frustrated when your computer steps in and changes it all to gibberish.

      1. Aoife, there you go, it didn’t do that for me, however, that goes to show you there is no consistency to Autocorrect. I wish it would correct me when I spell my name wrong.

          1. How many members? I’m a stickler too but on a personal level–my red pen days are over. Would never write an essay about the topic. There are so many other things to get upset about.

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