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Malcolm Gladwell

The tricks to not writing badly

We copy editors like to think of ourselves as guarantors of accuracy, protectors of the reader, guardians of the language, and other noble roles. But the plain fact is that our basic task is to keep people from making asses of themselves in public. 

Now, of course, our numbers are much diminished, something like half of the nation's newspaper copy editors having lost their jobs in the past decade. (Of course, not all of them are selling their plasma today, many contriving to make a living as freelance editors.) You're pretty much on your...