There is a multitude of us riding this planet for whom apostrophe catastrophes, quotation bloatation, mad dashes, and other comma-tose errors squeak like chalk across the blackboard of our sensibilities. — Richard Lederer
Patricia Graca is a freelance copy editor who founded Pat's Syntax Repair Shop in 2005. Her work includes international publications, scholarly work, brochures and newsletters. Her clients run the gamut from publishers and authors to business executives and university professors.
Her mother is a retired schoolteacher who encouraged a great deal of reading. If Patricia didn't know a word, her mother often sent her to the dictionary rather than provide a quick answer. She is convinced her appreciation for language came from those frequent forays into the great glossaries of her life.
Her path to a copy-editing career began with an English degree even though her first editing job was an Introduction to Japanese course. She's had a lot of great mentors and has seen a lot of copy in her career, but the best advice she ever got—and the most important piece of advice she will ever offer—is that you will only ever catch 95 per cent of errors, and the next person will catch only 95 per cent of those. You're only human.
If you're like Patricia, a cursory read through any of today's publications or a walk through the city's streets has error-laden copy jumping out at you. If the mistakes are egregious enough, you just want to tell someone.
When she's not working full-time as an enrollment manager in SFU Continuing Studies, Patricia spends time with friends or on freelance projects and crossword puzzles (and smoothing her relationship with The Vancouver Sun).