Views & Reviews In and Out of Hospital

The fight for good writing

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f4878 (Published 02 August 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4878
  1. James Owen Drife, emeritus professor of obstetrics and gynaecology, Leeds
  1. J.O.Drife{at}leeds.ac.uk

As a journal editor, I’m part of an ageing rearguard defending the English language. The job has changed over the years. Online editing is done at home, on a train, or even (heaven help me) on holiday, and most papers now come from outside the UK. Just how pedantic should I be?

The best English no longer comes from Britain or even Ireland. Scandinavia is reliable but not quite as good as China, where authors use commercial language services (though sadly, not for their revisions). But even professional …

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