And the edits continue…

I wrote, “In a fierce, epically bloody battle, the Korean soldiers surrounded and decimated the Chinese troops.”

My editor writes, “Decimated, as you will know from your Roman research, has a specific meaning (one in ten, the punishment of a cowardly legion) and a looser, more widely used one. But since we are so close to discussions of the Roman Empire here, let’s use this word strictly. Don’t put ‘decimate’ if you mean ‘destroy,’ ‘obliterate,’ or ‘annihilate.'”

I swear, he has corrected this usage at least once in EVERY manuscript I’ve sent and I can’t seem to remember it.

Anyway, I like “obliterate.” We will use “obliterate,” just as we will avoid “lassoo.” (I also like the way he uses the royal first-person for these corrections…)

Showing 5 comments
  • e

    Yes, he’s technically correct. But the OED recognizes the rhetorical use of “decimate” as well.

    I like “raze”. But apparently it only applies to writing. Go figure.

  • e

    Uh, disregard that. I just read your entry more closely. Sorry!

  • Ev.

    OK – I officially start the petition to re-inset “lassoo”.

    if it isn’t re-inserted, I will put it back in my own copy 😛

  • Karin

    Okay, I have to take cookies to leave a comment, so I’ve gone back and copied what I wrote before (unedited!)

    Even though it’s a lot of work for you, I enjoyed reading your posts about your editing. Of course, unlike posts and internet things, I’m rather an*l about things, even if it’s not about lassoo and decimate (lasso or lassoo?).

  • cw martin

    a state cop who arrived at the scene after a friend hit a wood cabinet in the middle of I69 told my friend, “you really abbreviated it!” do you think that usage might slip past your editor?

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