The craft of improving other people's writing. It's absurdly fulfilling, taking a mediocre sentence and making it better. Copyeditors correct for grammar, punctuation, and spelling, as do proofreaders, but copyeditors also rewrite for style and clarity. I've rewritten entire stories because the writer refused to vary his sentence structure; because the writer obscured his point with unnecessary reliance on cliches; or because he just ended up making himself sound stupid.

Copyediting is like QA for the English language. At Netscape, during the AOL takeover, we called ourselves English Language Engineers.

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