For your consideration: What my editing class sees in the future

I teach editing at the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communication. So I’m often discussing unfamiliar “rules” with students.

For instance, in discussing use of comprised and composed, 100 percent of the students in the summer 2019 class said “comprised of” is correct and “compose of” is wrong. After we discussed why that’s not the case, one student asked me if I think that distinction will go away.

I’m not sure on this one. But I had already told them I think “whom” will be jettisoned from everyday language at some point. It’s part of my “Language is Living” lecture.

Right about the time we discussed the definition of decimated (in my days as an editing students, I would have gotten a red X for using it in any way except “reduced by 10 percent”), I asked what they’d like to see change.

Here’s part of the list:



Affect/effect (I told them not to expect this to happen soon)

Beginning a sentence with a conjunction (I told them they can do this now, but apparently some of their liberal arts professors don’t agree.)

It/they (They’d like to see “they” as the collective pronoun.)

What do you think?


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