No Exceptions

Did your mom or maybe an elementary school teacher say to you “no ifs ands or buts!”? That’s how I felt today when I read this sentence about a website:

“This is another site big on text rather than photos, but it is packed with useful content.”

Well la-di-da, Mr. or Ms. Designer, try not to make your prejudices quite so blatantly clear. You might have well said “well, there’s a lot of words, which is highly unfortunate.”

It’s like calling a Harvard-educated black politician “articulate.” Some things should never be qualified. Your assumptions can be made screamingly clear by this remark. (By the way, Joseph “foot in mouth” Biden apologized for the above statement with the famous excuse that the adjectives were taken out of context.)

We all know that people are racist assholes and make simple-minded assumptions. But we, the copyeditors, can keep their idiocy from showing up in print. When editing, query (to yourself) every “but.” No exception.

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2 responses to “No Exceptions

  1. You can definitely write them, but (see, I do it too) you have to be careful when you do that you’re not introducing bias, such as if you were to say “She was freckled, but pretty.” You’re implying that there is something inherently wrong or ugly with having freckles by the use of the word “but.” It’s more balanced to say “She was freckled and pretty.”

    9.99 times out of ten, you’re probably using it correctly. It’s really more something for editors to look out for. Don’t lose sleep over it :).

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