Applications are open for the toughest job in grammar

Get ready to research.
Get ready to research.
Image: Reuters/Toru Hanai
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

The Modern Language Association, better known as the MLA, is hiring a copyeditor.

To be more exact: A 136-year-old organization that positions itself as an authority on written grammar and style is looking for a person to enforce that style in publications read and analyzed by people who also consider themselves authorities on written grammar and style.

A minimum five years of experience is required; flak jacket is optional.

The MLA’s job ad on LinkedIn seeks a full-time employee in the group’s New York office to copyedit the organization’s journals, books, and online publications. Copyeditors are the heroes who save writers from themselves, catching the errors in grammar, spelling, semantics, and formatting that mar the quality of written work.

We probably would have referred to them as copy editors, but the MLA uses the one-worded copyeditors in the job posting, so we’ll go with that.

The MLA’s style manual is one of three major style guides typically used by editors at academic publications to settle disputes of grammar and language. (The others are the Chicago Manual of Style and the APA Publication Manual.)

Being a copyeditor at an organization that advises other copyeditors is like being head of HR at the Society for Human Resource Management, or chief of accounting at a state CPA society. No mistake will go unnoticed. No decision will go unquestioned. Go ahead and read the editorial titled “Why I hate the new MLA handbook” or search for “MLA oxford comma” on Twitter and ask yourself if you have the strength for that intensity of debate.

If so, your dream job could be waiting.