Books Magazine

What Your Editor’s Notes Really Mean

By Robert Bruce @robertbruce76

If you’ve ever worked with an editor, you know that receiving a colorful track-changes-filled document back isn’t uncommon.

Some editors are straight to the point. Others can be a little too friendly and encouraging when tough love might work better.

In both cases, editors have their own little language with accompanying symbols. So it helps if you can interpret what they’re ACTUALLY saying and read between the lines. Having been brutally edited more times than I’d like to admit, I’m well-versed in editor speak.

So here’s my little guide to interpret what your editor actually means:

“Awkward, rephrase”

I’ve been a professional editor for [insert large number] years, and even I can’t fix this.

“It’s a good start, but…”

I liked the first word. Everything else sucked.


Come up with more than one original thought, please.

“Word choice?”

Read a dictionary, you half-wit illiterate.

“Are you sure about this?”

You can’t possibly have an opinion this stupid.

“Transpose these sentences.”

Did you mean for this article to be published in Hebrew?

“Do you have a source on this?”

Or do you just make crap up?

“Not following.”

You should try and connect two coherent thoughts together. It’s fun.

“I reworded this for you.”

I fix things that are broken, like your writing.


This next paragraph looks long and, based on your previous paragraphs, I don’t feel like reading it.

“Break this paragraph up.”

Walls of text were acceptable in 3rd grade.

“Pay attention to [insert grammatical error here].”

I’ve fixed this same mistake 58 times last week. You better not be ACCEPTING ALL CHANGES without looking over them.

“Let’s get together to talk about this article.”

Find another editor. I can’t even…


Editors are your friends, I promise. And with this little guide, you now know how to interpret these unusual creatures.

Next time you see “awkward, rephrase,” you’ll know exactly what it means!

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Harry and Meghan Announce That They Are Expecting Their First Child

    Harry Meghan Announce That They Expecting Their First Child

    The Duke and Duchess of Sussex while arriving in Australia for their first official overseas tour have released some special news. They are having a baby. The... Read more

    The 15 October 2018 by   Solarisastro
  • Concert Review: Some Roads Lead to Rome

    Concert Review: Some Roads Lead Rome

    Sir John Eliot Gardiner brings old-style Berlioz to Carnegie Hall. by Paul J. Pelkonen Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Photo courtesy Carnegie Hall. Historically... Read more

    The 15 October 2018 by   Superconductor
  • Cali Mavericks DoubleWood Whiskey Review

    Cali Mavericks DoubleWood Whiskey Review

    A craft bourbon made in California, through contract distillation, and finished in toasted French Oak; Cali Mavericks DoubleWood Whiskey is the latest thing to... Read more

    The 15 October 2018 by   Josh Peters
  • The Definitive Guide to Surviving Shopping at DMart

    It is a known fact that shopping at a DMart store can be a life-threatening experience. Which is why a guide like this is absolutely essential. Read more

    The 15 October 2018 by   Tejas Nair
  • Halloweens from Our Youth & Hellish Costumes

    Halloweens from Youth Hellish Costumes

    Let’s start with the obvious here. You could not breathe in these masks back in the 70s. You felt like you were being suffocated or worse. Read more

    The 15 October 2018 by   Midlifemargaritas
  • North American P-51D Mustang

    North American P-51D Mustang

    @ Camarillo Municipal Airport, CA August 2017 This P-51 Mustang “Bunny”, from the Palm Springs Air Museum, taxies by for takeoff at the Wings Over Camarillo... Read more

    The 15 October 2018 by   Htam
  • ✔638. Westleigh Park

    ✔638. Westleigh Park

    Havant Waterlooville 0-1 GatesheadNational League Saturday 13th October 2018 Havant is a town in the south east corner of Hampshire, situated in between... Read more

    The 15 October 2018 by   Smidrophenia