Manuscript Preparation, Copyediting, and Proofreading

Q. I subscribe to a magazine that recently hired a new editor in chief. This editor has changed the byline of authors to “words by.” I disagree with this usage because the authors did not create the words but rather assembled them in a proper order to convey a story. Am I off base?

A. “Words by” does not usually mean that a writer created the words—in fact, it usually means that the writer merely assembled them—but as a way to identify the writer of an article, it’s a bit precious. So while you’re off base in your reasoning, your reaction is understandable.