A blog for copyeditors and for students who want to develop proficiency in copyediting
This is an important question, one we have touched on lightly. We'll go into detail tomorrow. This evening, I'll post a few things to consider when making such a determination.
I think a lot of it might depend on the format. If it's something formal, like a newspaper article or a research paper, then I think an editor would be tightly bound to make everything by-the-book grammatical. But if it's more informal--a piece of fiction, or poetry, or something--then I think it really falls under the personal judgment of the editor. When I get stuck editing a classmate's short story, for example, I usually leave things alone when possible, so as not to screw up the author's style. Even if it's wrong, as long as the meaning is clear and it feels like the author is in control of the sentence, I'd most likely leave it alone.
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