Editable offense

languagewriting

I came up with a new phrase yesterday. Drew asked me the correct punctuation when making a list: comma before the and – the much-debated “Oxford Comma” – to make lions, tigers, and bears; or no comma (lions, tigers and bears). I said that while I preferred a comma there, and many people do, an equal number of people prefer no comma, and neither punctuation option is an “editable offense,” meaning that if I were editing his paper, I wouldn’t mark it. (The preceding run-on sentences, however, are certainly editable offenses, although fairly mild. Perhaps an editable misdemeanor.) Drew said he liked the phrase “editable offense,” and at that moment I felt terribly clever.

Of course, this is the 21st century, and nothing is new under the sun anymore. These days a milisecond’s worth of Googling will confirm whether your feeling of cleverness is well founded or not.

My moment of cleverness is, I feel, still intact, but with a few dents to the armor. The search “editable offense” returned some hits, but only a couple pages worth, hardly signaling the robust preexistence of this phrase. And just about every hit was in regard to messageboard moderation; meaning, is saying such-and-such an offense worthy of the poster being “moderated” (the deceptively polite 21st century version of “censored”). I didn’t find anything relating to proper editing however, so I declare myself the inventor of the phrase “editable offense.”

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  • Har har. 🙂 Once again my perceived cleverness is shot through with holes…

    I never said I had prefect grammar…I just like the phrase.

  • Sorry, I found the phrase in an advertisement for RK water billing system, THUS (my fav. word) making it officially not invented by you! And I quote… “Editable offense description to suit the specific situation. ” Don’t mean to burst your bubble. However creating words seems easy and I am sure you will succeed at the neologism thing at some point in the near future…how about when you are drunk hiccuping at your upcoming birthday party!

  • It stings that you would try to hurt me like that, Miss Bartram. Too bad, though, that you are WRONG. I just looked it up myself. In the sentence “Editable offense description to suit the specific situation” the word “editable” is an adjective modifying the compound noun “offense description.” In my phrase, “editable offense” is a compound noun itself, like “full moon” or “dry cleaning.”

    Therefore, I am still awesome.

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