mabfan (Michael A. Burstein) (mabfan) wrote,
mabfan (Michael A. Burstein)
mabfan

Light Bulb Joke For Editors!

I thought people who read my blog might get a kick out of this, so I'm sharing it here.

Over on the SFF Net newsgroups, specifically the newsgroup sff.publishing.daw, Steve Leigh quoted the following joke, which I copy verbatim:


Q: How many copyeditors does is take to screw in a lightbulb?


A: That sentence isn't clear. Does it mean to have sex in a lightbulb, or to place a lightbulb in its socket? Please clarify.


Deborah J. Ross then chose to pass along the joke to Lyn Dupré, a friend who edits scientific articles, and she came up with the following response (which to my mind just makes this a better joke overall):


Q: How many copyeditors does is take to screw in a lightbulb?


A: That sentence isn't clear. Does it mean to have sex in a lightbulb, or to place a lightbulb in its socket? Please clarify.

Suggest: 

A: (1) Sentence as written is ambiguous. Does it mean to have sexual intercourse inside of a lightbulb (in which case, pls clarify size of bulb), or to place a lightbulb in its socket? (2) The phrase "does it take" is messy. The anticipatory pronoun has no reference. Who or what is doing the taking? Pls recast. (3) The term "copy editor" is a not complex noun, and thus has no excuse for being set as a single word. It is an adjective (copy) and a noun (editor). A dress the color of mammalian blood is not a "reddress"; it is a "red dress." Note also that, when set as two words, "copy editor" does not take a hyphen, unless the phrase is being used as a complex (non-predicate) adjective, as, for example, "a copy-editor hissy fit." (4) There is an obvious typographical error. Suggest you proofread manuscripts before submitting them as final.
Tags: silly, writing-advice
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