Perhaps unsurprisingly, writers – whether journalists or copywriters – love the written word.
But sometimes we love it too much. We can all be prone to bouts of superlative hysteria, with cliches clanging into one another like chocolate-crazed kids on a slippery bouncy castle.
Without the fine hand of a sub editor, things like this would regularly get published:
“Britain is about to be deluged by a mushrooming avalanche of roadworks”
or “the elephant in the room that dares not speak its name“.
It’s the subeditor’s job to iron things like this out and make sure our reading experience is a pleasurable one, not bogged down in mixed metaphors or typos. Subeditors are at the cutting edge of what gets published, regularly saving the writer from embarrassment.
But they, like the rest of us, are only human. Sometimes errors slip through and ‘subs’ bear the brunt of eagle-eyed reader’s grumpy corrections.
So next time your eye is caught by a clumsy cliche or grammatical mistake, spare a thought for the poor sub who no doubt got a rollicking for not spotting it as readily as you did!