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Here’s some snark you can hear among Episcopal churchgoers: Once the clergy have gone through the three-year lectionary cycle once, you have heard everything they have to say and all further is repetition.

In December 2005 I wrote the first post for this blog, and over fourteen years* I have said pretty much everything I know about editing. More than once.

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Writing these posts has been an education, involving conversations with a widening group of fellow editors, and also with linguists and lexicographers. As you have seen in following these posts, much of the hard-shell prescriptivism of my early career has gone over the side in favor of embracing a broader sense of what constitutes effective editing.

Following a set of rules of formal English (some of them imaginary) or the dictates of stylebooks is less important that judging what is important for the writer, the subject, the occasion, the publication, and the reader (the party most commonly neglected in these operations). It is the more humane and reasonable approach that Carol Fisher Saller takes in The Subversive Copy Editor.

Over the past year, under the pressure of new duties at work—and fear of boring you—I have posted less frequently, but this is not a valedictory post; I have not quite run out of things to say.

What I particularly want to do is to say to you, dear readers, with special regard to those who have been along for a great part of this journey, is that I am grateful that you have offered your time and often your comments and suggestions. Some of you I have met at editing conferences, most of you I know only through the internet, and all of you have been part of this extended conversation.

The Sun would never have allotted space for a column on language and usage because of its appeal to such a narrow audience, but here I have found that a narrow audience can have broad minds.

*That is thirteen years at The Sun’s website and one year at the backup You Don’t Say I created at Blogspot the year I was laid off (the [cough] hiatus) and which I have maintained against the day that I am once again deposited on the curb.

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