None of the Above

Q. I have a moral dilemma. I’m a contract editor for a consulting company whose client is a federal agency. Recently I recast the phrase “on which it depends” to “which it depends on.” An agency reviewer reversed my edit and commented “horrible grammar!” I want to keep my client and their client happy, but I also don’t want to compromise good editing principles. I quoted CMOS 5.180 to my client but got no response. How far should a diligent editor pursue an issue such as this?

A. Put your mind at rest. As an editor, you’ve done your job; the client gets the last word in matters that are negotiable. (After all, the original is not incorrect.) Second, even though the client didn’t reply, it’s likely that the strong wording of paragraph 5.180 had some effect. (“The traditional caveat of yesteryear against ending sentences with prepositions is an unnecessary and pedantic restriction. . . . Today many grammarians use the dismissive term pied-piping for this phenomenon.”) The next time the issue arises, your clued-in client might not object to being edited.