How can I say a particular manuscript has been edited, annotated, verified by a person? The verb I'm looking for will appear on the cover of a book. The verb should mean to do textual criticism of, as in:

This manuscript's textual criticism has been done by so-and-so

This manuscript is [verb] by so-and-so.

I suspect edit doesn't quite capture all the things a textual critic would do. I'm also inclined to use critically edited by, but not sure this is the right way to go about it.


Suppose there are many handwritten editions of an ancient manuscript that's 500 years old. These editions are not identical and therefore only one of them is or closer to the original manuscript as intended by its author. Suppose I've traveled from country to country to collect them, and then for two years I've studied and compared each one to find out which one is the original. Once I've found out which one is the original (or the most likely to be the original, or error-free), now I add footnotes, annotations and explanatory information to make things clear for modern-day readers whenever necessary. Now I'm going to publish this manuscript, what should I call myself on the book cover?

  • Is this person the editor of the manuscript? The phrased "edited by" or the noun "editor" does convey all of those functions when a scholarly edition of a manuscript is produced.
    – TimR
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 14:13
  • Yes, it is the editor. I thought in the context of manuscripts an editor would be called something else.
    – Sara
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 14:17
  • There is often a phrase on the title page like "Edited, with introduction, bibliography, notes, glossary and appendices by Sara Somebody".
    – TimR
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 14:21
  • 1
    Sara, I studied philology in grad school. Trust me, you can call yourself "Editor". If the work is a scholarly edition of a manuscript, the editor, the person who created the edition, is expected to do all of those things you mention. But you don't even need to call yourself anything. The title should indicate that the work is an edition--you're not the author of the manuscript being edited. "Critically edited by" would be the wrong way to go. The work is a "critical edition"
    – TimR
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 15:57
  • 1
    – TimR
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 16:02

2 Answers 2


With regard to books, which may differ slightly from magazines.

Manuscripts are: edited or copy edited.

Even very famous authors are edited. They have an editor at their publishing house who reads their manuscripts and makes corrections. Also, this can apply to articles to be published in book form.

That said, when the corrections/changes are more in depth, this is sometimes called copy editing and may not be done by an author's editor (the person handling the manuscript) but one of the editor's editorial assistants.

Annotation is not right. Annotation is done by authors not by editors.

Textual criticism is an academic activity under the general topic of literary criticism. That is an entirely different subject. It involves critical reading and commentary of literary texts. Those readings are contained in articles published in journals or books. A book with a series of essays on a topic has an editor.

Finally, you might be looking for another verb tense:

The manuscript was edited or copy edited by [name of person].

Example: The Purloined Letter

Sorry, there is an overprint. This book had two editors. It is a collection of essays.

With all due respect, editors names do not usually appear on book covers, unless the book is a collection of essays. Then, the person collecting the essays and putting them in a book is the editor and the editor's name is given in lieu of the author's name.

Whether critical or not, an editor is an editor and often makes a lot of changes to a manuscript.

  • 1
    You are the editor. No doubt about it. Look at the Annotated Alice in Wonderland: The cover says: edited by X. AND:Introduction and Notes by Z.
    – Lambie
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 16:13
  • Thanks a lot for the confirmation @Lambie, I'm sufficiently confident now. I'll go ahead with editor.
    – Sara
    Commented Oct 19, 2018 at 16:15

I'm still a little unclear exactly what idea you are trying to convey, so let me offer some examples:

If you want to say that someone has checked the accuracy of the information in the book, you can use "verify" or "validate":

The contents of this article have been verified/validated by reporters working with the New York Times

If you want to say that it has been thoroughly checked for background accuracy, particularly with regard to sensitive topics, you can use "vet" (or its synonyms "investigate", "check out", "screen", and in some cases "audit")

The information in the report was thoroughly vetted by researchers before publication.

If you want to say that the information is approved by some authority, you can use "approve" or "authorize".

The FBI has approved/authorized the release of these photos to the public.

You can also use "endorse" when the person or group wants to officially show support.

This book has been endorsed by a number of physicians' groups, including the National Association of Pediatricians.

This is just a partial list, to help figure out which might be closest to what you mean.

(Edit) Reading your edit, I'd have to say "annotate" seems most accurate. "Annotator", while technically correct, is not often used. Instead say something like:

Manuscript of [Something or Another], dated circa 1330, with annotations by Sara Lastname, Professor of Medieval Literature at Regency College

  • 1
    @Sara updated my answer. "Annotations" seems most correct in this case.
    – Andrew
    Commented Oct 20, 2018 at 0:28

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