Who am I?

I am your worst nightmare.

Well, actually, no — I’m not. That is, not unless you have a pathological aversion to discussions about proper grammar, punctuation and the Associated Press Stylebook.

I am also not, despite what the title of this blog might lead you to believe, a police officer.

The unusual application of “undercover” to “copy editor” stems from the fact that I have upon occasion gone into a public restroom looking like any other ordinary citizen … only to pull out a pencil and correct an improper use of the contraction “they’re” (to “their”) in the graffiti on the wall of my restroom stall.

I have worked as a journalist, writer, public affairs officer and … copy editor. I do not, however, claim to be an expert in grammar, punctuation and the AP Stylebook. I make mistakes all the time, which I why I have started this blog. I am attempting to review common mistakes and come up with ways to remember the rules. Let’s face it — especially when it comes to the AP Stylebook — sometimes the rules seem pretty arbitrary and capricious.

Note: We’re all in this together!

If you have a trick to remembering when to use “effect” instead of “affect,” or have an iron-clad argument for using the Oxford comma, please share it here.