The Demise of Copyediting?

Dennis Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Thu Feb 14 13:32:19 UTC 2008

To present this in a completely neutral way with regard to the
question asked (earlier "high priority"), wouldn't one have to show
that such substitutions are on the increase in the Times? Has anyone
done a search for such things over a period of, say, the last ten
years, showing their increase? Even after such a search, wouldn't we
want to make some finer distinctions. Some such "substitutions"
(e.g., "disinterested" for "uninterested") would probably show the
emergence of a new standard, very much unlike "proceed" for "precede."


>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       "Shapiro, Fred" <Fred.Shapiro at YALE.EDU>
>Subject:      The Demise of Copyediting?
>I recognize that prescriptivism-flavored postings are heavily
>frowned upon on this list, but let me pose this in a neutral way
>focused on the institution of copyediting:  In today's New York
>Times the following sentence appears: "Your fragrance should never
>be perceived beyond an arm's length, it should not proceed you into
>the room."  This is not the first time recently that I have seen
>major "howlers" in terms of traditional prescriptive usage standards
>appearing in the Times.  What is the specific cause of such
>proliferation -- have newspapers laid off their copyeditors?  The
>Times has in the past given a high priority to copyediting.
>Fred Shapiro
>The American Dialect Society -

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
Morrill Hall 15-C
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48864 USA

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list