There is nothing worse than a pedant when it comes to the use of language and things grammatical; the last thing that any writer wants is to have some linguistic know-it-all ram rules down her throat. (You just know that all the pedant wants is to parade his or her own knowledge.) There have been and still are plenty of excellent writers of prose whose verbal accuracy leaves something to be desired, but fortunately the editing process by self or others eliminates the things which would undoubtedly annoy a reader. Where do I stand on all this?
The fact is, I am, I think, my own worst critic and I constantly read and re-read my work to pick up the inevitable errors that have occurred as I have striven to achieve what are, arguably, much more important things, such as creation of mood, descriptive interest or aspects of characterisation. I’m sorry to say that I’m a bit anal about the accuracy of what I post on this blog and (yes, I am a bit sad!) go back to look at past posts because I read them again with a greater distance and objectivity. I do find things I’m not happy about and sometimes (to me, anyway) shocking mistakes like lack of agreement of subject and verb.
I hope that writers on the receiving end of an editor’s amendments take them in good part; the additional critical eye is something to be grateful for, not to squirm under. If someone else ‘corrects’ my prose, my first instinct is to bristle, but then to remember what this is all about: improvement. I may not agree with the amendments, but if they make me re-think, as well as re-read, I can do it better! I’m married to a pedant who provides an in-house critical view and we have some humdingers of disagreements, but, in the end, I do realise that he is on my side. Annoyingly, he is frequently right.