Blog: The Educated Reporter

Copy-editing “Superman.”

Perhaps the most famous Strunkian edict is “Omit needless words.” Yes! Nathan Heller of Slate, who is dedicated to “copy-editing the culture,” wishes—as do I—that more people also lived by this one: “Omit needless quote marks.” Heller wants to know why there are quotation marks around “Superman” in the movie title “Waiting for ‘Superman.’” I can’t say I know why (something copyrightish? how can that be?), but I can say that omitting them is a mistake many writers are making, myself included. So let’s not.