“The Mutiny or Editing Sucks” rated AHS

Ok, I’ll say it.  Editing SUCKS.  I hate everything about it.

Since this post is rated AHS, After High School, I don’t have to worry about my high school English students reading this.  And throwing it back in my face.

“Good job, Student.  But don’t forget subject/verb agreement!”  I’m surprised I don’t have a mutiny.

That would be a pretty good movie, actually.  The Mutiny, starring Mrs. Knowles’ English as a New Language classes.

Me:  Now that you’ve finished your essays, please exchange them with another student and peer edit.

Students:  No.

Me:  Okay, we’ll review what you need to look for.  Let’s draw a Brace Map.  What’s the first thing you look for when reading an essay?

Students:  Nothing.

Me:  Then I’ll start you off.  It has to have a strong thesis statement.  A clear central idea.

Students:  No, it doesn’t.

Me:  Okay, we’ll do peer editing another day.  Take this time to read your essay again and use our strategies to edit your own paper.

Students:  No.

Hopefully, they don’t actually think it’s that bad.

Even as a young girl I loved writing essays.  It’s true.  Reading and writing essays were my favorite things to do in school.  Not counting lunch.  But I don’t remember having to edit papers much.  I think we just wrote them, handed them in and waited for our grade. The teacher marked where we should have written something differently.  But we didn’t have to fix it.

But with for-real, grown-up, nonfiction writing, I have to edit.

Just like my students.


I hate it.  I just want to write and have it come out perfectly.  On this blog, I usually end up with 25 revisions.  And I only write 500-1000 word pieces.  25 revisions.  And the main problem?

COMMAS.  In grad school, a friend of mine called me the Queen of Commas, because I use them correctly.  We had a course called A History of the English Language, or something like that, where we learned about how English has changed since the year zero, studied all the grammar rules and stuff like that.  It was wildly interesting but only to me.  The professor said that the biggest grammar mistake made currently is the too infrequent use of the comma.  He said I use commas, for the most part, correctly.  Hence the nickname.

As you might imagine, I promptly began to doubt my use of commas.  Add, a comma, no, erase, the comma,.

I can’t believe I’m writing about commas.  Hold on while I edit this.

The other night I was editing another post and yelled out loud, not on purpose, I CAN’T WITH THE COMMAS.  My husband just looked over at me.

My students hate editing.  I hate editing.  The State of New York loves editing.  My professional reputation as a teacher and writer hinges on editing.

Bleeeeeeeech.  Editing sucks.

p.s. The Oxford Comma should be outlawed.  Bring it on.




About Barb Knowles

The things that are important to me are family, friends, teaching, writing, languages and using my sense of humor to navigate this crazy world. Please join me on this blogging adventure...
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31 Responses to “The Mutiny or Editing Sucks” rated AHS

  1. katzlator says:

    I understand how you feel and because I do a lot of editing now, I have to allow time to write my papers for my masters program, but when I really want to do a good job, I read what I have written out loud. Having put in enough time writing, I now hear awkward phrasing, and I also “hear” how to do it better. That makes it more fun, but no less time consuming. I wonder how that read it out loud and see how that sentence sounds idea would work with kids, Probably would get a “no.”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Editing is the worst. My senior year in college, I had to write a paper on the Populist Party of the United States and William Jennings Bryan. It was a huge part of the final grade, so it was important to do a really good job on it.

    I must have rewritten that paper a hundred times. So many times, I thought I was done, only to catch another error while editing it. By the end of the term, I had read and re-read the thing so much that I hated the Populist Party and Bryan, and never wanted to think about them again.

    I got an “A” on the paper, though…

    Liked by 3 people

  3. stomperdad says:

    I must agree with you that editing does indeed suck. I hate it. I usually edit what I write on the blog, usually. I love the comma. We’re best buds. Oxford and I go way back. I’ll never leave it 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Paul says:

    But I love the Oxford comma.

    Also, I’ve grown to despise the phrase “subject-verb agreement”. I just had to Google what it means because no one ever gives the definition of it. They just say the three words and think kids know what it means lol.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Carrie Rubin says:

    I’m the odd person out because I actually enjoy editing. The first draft stresses me out a bit because I feel frenzied in trying to get everything out. Once I get to editing and revision I feel like I can finally sit back and catch my breath. Oh, and I love the Oxford comma. We can still be friends though, right? 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I am creating a “tone and style guide” for my company right now and I’m putting in there “No Oxford Commas!”
    It’s going to be great. My APA and AMA abiding colleagues won’t know what to do with themselves. Chaos shall reign!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Oh Barb, you must have a field day with my writing. I throw commas to the wind and it seems like they land all over my posts! And few correctly, I might add. 😀

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Almost Iowa says:

    I love commas, I give them life and let them fly.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Ann Coleman says:

    You are so funny! Personally, I am one of those weirdos who likes to edit, but only my own work. I hate it when someone asks me to edit their work, so I get where the students are coming from. Too often, editing becomes a case of finding and removing mistakes. For me, it’s just a matter of making the writing closer to what I’m actually trying to say. But then again, I also take personal satisfaction in cleaning…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb Knowles says:

      And there you go…….I just want to write. And I get so mad at myself. How can I have looked at something 20 times and not see the stupid “a” missing from “and?” I know it’s because we read what we think we’ve written. Not what we have actually written. My friend at work and I always peer edit for each other. So we don’t look like idiots since we’re English teachers. But you’re right. It shouldn’t be about mistakes, but often, especially when I read out loud, I find the phrasing awkward. A common thing I do is overuse a word. So I look for that. And “so” is a word I overuse lol. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. jessgallego1 says:

    I loved this. I actually hate using commas because I am afraid I am placing them in the wrong places. I am trying my hardest not to use commas in this comment.

    Liked by 1 person

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