For Sue

From Righting the Mother Tongue by David Wolman (2008), and special thanks to the London Public Library and their wonderful website and book collection.

This is the theme song for the Society for Editors and Proofreaders, Great Britain:

On the twelfth day of the schedule

my client sent to me: 

Twelve sheets of briefing

Eleven text equations

Ten symbols lurking

Nine sexist pronouns

Eight footnotes missing

Seven misquotations

Six clauses dangling

Five chapters more!

Four fuzzy graphs

Three locked files

Two authors French

And a typescript all neat and tidee


4 thoughts on “For Sue

  1. Proofreading Sue says:

    Thanks Laura! I’m reprinting an item taken from Mike Sellars’ blog .

    A Little Proofreading Joke

    In a remote monastery, a new monk arrives to devote his life to contemplation, seclusion and thankless labour. He is soon assigned the task of copying antique texts. After a couple of weeks of this, it occurs to him that he and the other scribing monks are copying, by hand, books that have themselves already been copied by hand.

    “Forgive my impertinence, Brother Matthew,” he says one day. “But isn’t there a considerable risk that by copying from copies we might perpetuate earlier errors? Has anyone ever proofread their work against the original texts?”

    Brother Matthew admits it has never crossed his mind. He immediately takes himself off to the vaults and begins to scrutinise the original texts.

    In the small hours of the following morning, Brother Matthew emerges, tears glistening in his weary eyes. In his hands is gripped a particularly ancient-looking volume.

    “What’s wrong, Brother Matthew?” his brethren ask. “Please, tell us. There must be something we can do to alleviate your suffering.”

    It is some minutes before Brother Matthew is able to speak.

    He holds the dusty manuscript aloft. “The word is ‘celebrate’,” he says.

  2. Charlotte Fleming says:

    That’s great Laura. Now I have an ‘ear worm’ for the next 24 hours…;)

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