Chapterhouse has been teaching people to copy-edit and proofread for twenty-five years! We ran our first little seminar in our sitting room with a log fire and red wine. Then came our correspondence courses and a small office in Exeter. We’re still small and have always wanted to keep the business as a family firm.
As the cliche goes: we embrace change. That is, like most people we eventually accept the inevitable. In fact, Chapterhouse has always been an early adopter of technology. We had a website before most of our neighbours abandoned scampi in the basket.
But some changes rankle.
That is, they chafe, they grate, they rub against the sore of our sensibility. We resist and abhor them. But as editors and proofreaders we acknowledge that we have to go with the tide, the flow, the slide into barbarism. The philistines are no longer at the gate; they sit at our kitchen tables blocking our waste disposals with their tasteless chicken legs.
Words changes their meanings. They always have; they always will. Copy-editors and proofreaders know this and respect that authors’ uses of language may be different from their own but just as acceptable.
But in spite of therapy from family and friends some changes are hard to bear. Today’s wound I want to share is the destruction of the word enormity.
Until recently (last Wednesday, perhaps) it meant wickedness or evil; it had nothing to do with size. Now it means the same as hugeness. This blow I shall never accept even though it has been pointed out to me that before it meant wickedness it probably did mean hugeness! I don’t care. In my youth it meant evil and for me it always will.