But then there’s the other 15% of the time. When we don’t have the answers. And the reactions we get during those times range from simple acceptance to amusement to outright glee -- the editor doesn’t know! Huzzah! I’ve stumped the editor!
So what does all of this have to do with Star Trek? The connection is actually very straightforward. There are fans of Star Trek -- folks who know the character names, the episode titles, and more than their fair share of quotes. And then there are fans of Star Trek -- folks who know how old the characters were in a given episode, which planets are in Beta Quadrant, and entire episode scripts verbatim from start to finish. Fans.
Similarly, there are editors and writers who know when to use a semicolon, whether it should be who or whom, and the common exceptions to the i before e rule. And then there are editors who know the pluperfect subjunctive, the difference between dependent and independent clauses, and what a gerund is. They tend to be former English teachers, and not only do they lord the information over regular, unsuspecting folk, they lord it over their fellow editors as well. Which is a really dick move, by the way.
I freely admit it: I don’t know what a gerund is. And I don’t care. I also don’t know which episodes Kirk wore his green tunic instead of his gold one, and I don’t care about that, either. I know what I know, and that’s always been good enough for me. The other 15% of the time, you can go ask the professor. But don’t expect to escape without a lecture on ergative verbs.
By Steve Boudreault