What do you do when a client corrects something you know is right and in doing so, makes it wrong? Do you put it right, because it needs to be right to make them look good? And if so, how do you do it without embarrassing your client? Or do you leave it, because “the customer is always right”, even though they aren’t.
I tend to take a view. If something is a whopping blooper, I re-correct it. If it’s a spelling mistake, I re-correct it. If it is some odd thing that’s more about being technically accurate than creating clear, understandable copy; if the copy is just as articulate and the error doesn’t stop the reader in his or her tracks, then I leave it. Sometimes that goes against my perfectionist streak, but hey, that’s my problem.
The advent of social networking and text-speak has spearheaded a far greater informality in language and many of the more formal grammatical rules and structures seem to have become almost optional. There’s a right way, but then there’s often another way or several other ways, which are just as clearly understood, even if they are grammatically less than perfect. As time goes on, the alternative usages cease to be wrong and become tomorrow’s norm and since language is always on the move, why is there anything wrong with this?
Language today is less formal and more rapidly changing than at any time in the past. So, is the job of a humble copy writer to cling perilously to the vestiges of yesterday’s terminology and style, or acknowledge that change happens for a reason and it isn’t always bad and embrace the brave informal new world?