Authorial Timecheck and Grumble

So I’m sitting here writing a piece in Microsoft Word where the phrase ‘media consultants advise’ is flagged as problematical by the grammar checker because Word thinks I mean to use the noun ‘advice’, not the verb ‘advise’. Which I can assure you (since there’s no point in assuring the grammar checker, which won’t listen to me) does not make sense in the context of the structure of the sentence.

It suddenly occurs to me to wonder how much time writers spend recasting sentences to avoid spelling and grammar checker flags. Not because there’s anything wrong with the sentence, but in the fear that some copy editor will assume that some checking algorithm is infallible and make an inappropriate ‘correction’ to appease it.

Yes, it really does happen. And there are publishers I won’t work with any more because they just make the change and don’t check with the author.  Fortunately, the piece I’m working on is for a blog that won’t be edited by anyone but me. So I’m using the time I’ve saved by not having to recast the sentence to have a little moan here.

Darn. Apparently by solar time, today is 21.3 seconds short of 24 hours, so I’ll have to make up that time somewhere else. (HT to Anders Nilsson.)

David Harley
Small Blue-Green World
ESET Senior Research Fellow


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