I've copied and pasted this verbatim from an article off Yahoo:

"There are (sic) not any artificial obstacles for this process," he told ABC News.

Can you tell me what the real problem with this sentence is?

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Well, it should probably be "no artificial obstacles."  No problem with "are."  The subject is obstacles, plural. Not sure what the "sic" is doing there.


However, about editing:  I've encountered mistakes being edited into my books in just about every title that has passed through the hands of people working for big publishers.  The copy-editing by my small British publisher was excellent.

This is one reason I don't like other people editing my work. I suppose I'll have to get over that to be published, but I want a clause written into my contract that I get final proofing rights before the thing goes out.

Yeah, that's pretty much what I was thinking.  There actually isn't anything wrong with the sentence except for the "sic", other than the word choice is just a tad awkward.

The real problem with the sentence is that the editor seems not to have a good grasp of English grammar.

Ah, yes.  Well, as I said:  no surprise.

Yay, let's hear it for the Brits! (Ahem, my editing services are quite cheap ... )

Seriously, I know that most publishers farm out their editing to independents nowadays. And while the independents are probably the same gals and guys who were doing it before, only on salary, I guess you can never be quite sure of the quality if you've outsourced to the cheapest bidder ... I know of someone who proofread one of the latest Terry Pratchetts, and he did it for a ridiculously cheap fee, considering the kudos attached to Pratchett. So if you pay cheap, how much time and effort can you expect from the proofreader?

I found a major mistake in a recent Martin Cruz Smith book - I mean major, where two characters were introduced on page 12 (let's say) and were then reintroduced on page 14. What the f ... ? I contacted the publishers, Simon and Schuster, and got a reply to say they'd forward the query on to Editorial ... but of course I heard nothing more.

At least they answered.  I wonder if this could have been a glitch when transferring text.  They do the type-setting digitally these days.  I'm appalled by serious grammar errors, like not knowing the difference between "lie" and "lay."

I wish I could afford an editor and would certainly call on you, but as long as my self-publishing efforts don't pay major bucks, I'll have to do it myself.

Oh, and yes, the copy-editing at Severn House is in-house.

I wish it were a simple transfer issue ... but this was a case where two characters who we'd met earlier in the book were shown to us as the hero, Renko, got on board a subway in Moscow. He knew them because he'd interviewed them about a murder on the subway the day before. So he sits on the train and ruminates, and two stops later, over the page, the train stops and these same two characters are described getting on ... this is a major editorial miss. As though someone was reading the book and just didn't pay attention. Which is a shame, because Martin Cruz Smith's books are excellent reads.

...WHOM we'd met earlier in the book, you mean.

Oh, ha ha ... ;-)

"Whom" is gradually disappearing. At least from crime fiction. I heard someone call it stilted.

I read that book.  Mind you, I don't give books all that much attention. I probably assumed Renko was ruminating later about two guys getting on the subway.  :) And yes, almost all of Martin Cruz Smith is excellent.  The Japanese one is the exception.


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