Rebecca Taylor: Dear Editor

Most writers work with editors in a spirit of friendly cooperation and mutual respect. Others.. well… The letter below was sent to one of the Funny Pearls editors from the alter ego of a regular contributor. As she’s a fictional character, we decided it would be OK to post it.



Dear Editor,

Thank you so much for proofreading my recent letter to the Mayor. It is extraordinarily kind of you to offer your services, and I hasten to express my gratitude. I am also keen to clarify a few points.

I note that you have added a hyphen (-) between ‘chip’ and ‘in’. Had the combination of the two words amounted to a noun or an adjective (e.g. ‘walk-in’ as in ‘walk-in closet’), you would have been correct. However, in the context in which I use the phrase, ‘chip in’, it constitutes a phrasal verb, and should therefore not be hyphenated. For clarity, think of similar verbs such as ‘to chuck in’, ‘to jump in’ or ‘to cash in’.

You point out that the expression ‘us townies’ ought to read ‘we townies’. Now, grammar has admittedly been compromised in this case, seeing that I use the first person plural object pronoun where technically I should be using the first person plural subject pronoun. However, my usage in this case is colloquial – jargon if you will – and necessary in order to maintain authenticity. My writer’s voice is a precious asset. It must never be sacrificed on the alter of rigid textbook rules hammered into pupils by schoolmistresses back in the day. (In fairness, I accept that you are not from these parts and that, as a consequence, you may be unfamiliar with our little British eccentricities).

With respect to various punctuation issues, I am grateful for your assertive eye and thoroughness. I am also pleased to say that I agree with many of your suggestions. In fact, it is impossible to exaggerate the levels of gratitude I feel knowing that there are people in this world who have the time and inclination to give such matters the attention they so clearly deserve.

Yours sincerely,

Fiona Mitchell

PS: I follow with interest your husband’s public-service updates on Instagram and observe on that basis that you are not the only member of your household with excessive time on your hands. Sadly, to many of us time has become a rare resource, and for your life choices, I salute you both.

You can read Fiona’s letter to the Mayor here.

Rebecca Taylor is a regular contributor to Funny Pearls.