I've been an editor for over a decade, but I couldn't tell you what a dipthong is without resulting to google and my knowledge of predicates comes from Skee-Lo's version of The Tale of Mr. Morton. None of this worries me, because none of that grammar jargon matters to my authors or my readers or my authors' readers.
What does matter? Clarity and flow. When editing legal and other professional documents, I trend towards clarity. A document has clarity when it makes sense all the way through.
When I've got poetry or creative prose in front of me, I'm biased towards flow. A document has flow when you can read it from beginning to end without being tripped up in any way. Things that trip people up include:
- when something doesn't make sense (or is just plain wrong),
- when something is out of place (like a word that doesn't make sense with the document type),
- when a sentence is badly constructed (passive construction when it's not warranted, sentence fragments, etc.), and
Both clarity and flow are essential qualities for any document that you want people to understand and to stick with all the way through.
Have a quick editing question? Want to hire me to do a piece of editing? Send me a message via my contact page.