The Non-Expert


Experts answer what they know. The Non-Expert answers anything. This week we illustrate, exhibit, and display how proper editing makes English all that more the understandable.

Have a question? Need some advice? Ignored by everyone else? Send us your questions via email. The Non-Expert handles all subjects and is updated on Fridays, and is written by a member of The Morning News staff.


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Question: Gotta English question for you. Sometimes I see ‘hat, mittens, and gloves’ and sometimes I see ‘hat, mittens and gloves.’ I learnt it the first way, but which one’s right? I’m no editor. —Jim

Answer: The importance of writing at all is, of course always in question, especially for the recent rise of television, online, and blogging but the importance of consistent style in writing should, never be underesteemed. It’s using the common words in a consistent way which makes understanding others possible. If I say to one person, ‘This means this’, and then say to another person, ‘This means that, than the communication between us has become broken.

So who do we turn to? In times of we’re needed help? For a steady, understood usage and spelling of words & phrases that acts as the platform for which readers can comprehend -- whats being said? without having to overanalyse it but just getting it, right?

The editor thats who!!

While it’s understandable that, thru the global nationalization of cultures, writing and editing styles may alter and need clearing up and the way such people will understand them that there’s little to do for many editors but to criticise and decide, if for nothing else than—for rushing to the defence of writing for mass consumption, where mistakes only noticable by there own audience may have lain and at sometimes the very centre of.

Which, as a writer who trusts an editor too much is dangerous..

For we beware, how ever, the lazy editor that will grab a coffee, donuts, and say okay I'll do what I can given the circumstances and situations and conditions the tenacable editor will instead choose, 1) an expresso, sit, and, B: Think.

Yes, its the editor who should fix the erratum, the slight oversights we, as, writers make, but it’s also the job of the writer to hold the grasp of basic writing rules, never travelling too far from what we all expect as good writing, good and good trasnitional statements.

You will feel exactly the same way.

But if your not the type to care about those sort of things, its:

‘Hat, mitten’s, and gloves’.

Though we all are all afforded a mistake here or there


Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack