What, me worry?!

English editorIt seems that everyone is afraid of something, even those who are almost fearless. I have a good friend who is scared of geckos, another who can’t stand cockroaches, and a third who is terrified of needles. Personally, I’m not a fan of planes or elevators (understatement of the year.)
A while ago, I found myself feeling just as worried and uncertain when I decided to write a thesis for my MA in English Linguistics. I could have just taken an exam, but I decided to go for gold.
So why I was worried? Well, I had no idea how I was going to write a valid questionnaire, get permission to access a school, and find students who would agree to complete the questionnaire… You get the picture.

 

To boldly go where no person has gone before

In the end, I got it done, and enjoyed almost every minute of it. Once I stopped getting confused between adjectives and adverbs, affixes and suffixes, I managed to build a questionnaire. After submitting a dozen or so forms, the Ministry of Education gave me permission to conduct the study. Our local high-school let me conduct the study there, and most of the students were very cooperative. I even managed to write the Discussion chapter, the place where you have to be really creative and write something original.

 

However… you know the the saying: The shoemaker’s children always go barefoot? Well, in my case this should be The editor always goes barefoot. The only thing I didn’t do was have my thesis edited by a professional. After all, I’m an English editor. I’ve edited dozens and dozens of PhD dissertations, research papers, academic books, company websites, marketing brochures, and business presentations. Surely I could edit my own paper. The problem is, however, that when you write something yourself, and then re-read it, correct it, re-re-read it, and so on, it becomes increasingly difficult to notice errors. I don’t just mean spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. When you are so familiar with a certain topic, you can’t see what’s missing or what has been repeated.

 

So next time you write something, whatever it is, ask a friend, colleague or neighbor to read it. Just to be sure.
Also, let me know if you spotted the deliberate error in this article.

 

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[email protected] | Beverley Yohanan

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