The misprints’ maze: the many levels of correction

The word correction is usually related with straightness. It gives us the idea of making straight something that is not yet so, literally “rectifying”. Straightness is measured with a rule, the tool that at the same time serves as a point of comparison and measurement. Without the rule as our reference point, we cannot determine if we are missing “straightness”.

Correction as an activity related to the word, has inevitably, its own rules or reference points from where we can determine whether something is missing straightness; something that therefore, needs “correction”. The rule, as a reference point, should not be mistaken for rigidity and a lack of judgement. A rule should be firm enough so it fulfills its function appropriately, and flexible enough so it doesn’t break in the process. The huge amount of rules of a language has contributed to view the editor as a “police of the word”, as if an error would be the equivalent to a misdemeanor, that can be judged and punished.

Correction, within the field of printed communication, has many levels, at the end all of them related to the word, the writing and the letter itself (or graphic signs). Before start correcting, the terms of the task should be very clear: Is it necessary to check the way the ideas are organized, the design of the information, the development of the topics, or the selection of the contents itself? It is necessary to correct the communication, the expression or the way of exposing the information and the ideas? It is necessary to sort out the writing according to the general rules of sentence, phrase, word and paragraph construction used in the specific language (syntax and morphology)?