HomeAll postsGettin' me an edjucayshun - Introduction to Editing

Gettin’ me an edjucayshun – Introduction to Editing

by Nalini Haynes

‘What is grammar?  Why are we studying grammar?’  Penny, the Intro to Editing lecturer, asked today.  Penny welcomed us into the lecture hall with ‘The Way I Are’, a song that caused outrage and controversy in literary circles.  The Grammar Nazis were furious.

The grammar nazis completely missed the point: Black English is a valid dialect.  To Anglicise African Americans violates their culture and freedom.

The other highlight of the lecture was watching an award-winning reporter go from formal to his natural speech patterns in three seconds.  We analysed the below video.  After students asked to see it again.  And again.

His disgust overrides his training; his natural musical intonation kicks in along with foul language expressing his OUTRAGE.

Thus the first year Professional Writing and Editing students discovered that we learn the rules of grammar so that we can break the rules to more effectively portray characters.

Books to read:

Blooming English by Kate Burridge
Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft by Janet Burroway
The Help (written in Black English)
Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss

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Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


  1. I studied one year of editing when I was a Professional Writing and Editing student a number of years ago. Wow, was it rigorous! But I loved it. I loved learning the rules, so I can now keep them, and break them, with confidence.

    And where I took the evening classes, there were many cafes. I loved that too.


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