People think that, because I edit professional writers' work, I have all the answers to the little language problems that plague regular folk. And, really, who am I to correct them? Perhaps some people need to believe that linguistic perfection is possible and syntactical superheroes exist. Admitting my own weaknesses — that would be downright selfish. So I let 'em think I'm that good.
But just between you, me and the bird whose cage this column will soon be lining, I still have a lot to learn. Every day, I have to look things up — words and usage matters and style rules that continue to elude me even after years of trying to pass myself off as an expert. Almost as often, I fail to catch the very errors I'm trying to root out.
Here are some of the words that, in recent months, have threatened to expose my weaknesses.