English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am in a situation on Meta Stack Overflow in which I dispute the validity of the system notification text "Code in your answer has been edited", because there was no code in the answer before the edit; merely, code was added to the answer after the edit.

Another user claims that this is simply a "more vague" meaning of "edit":

Saying it was edited is not wrong, it's just more vague. [..] I'm asserting that your definition of "edited" is incorrectly narrow.

I'm fairly confident, though, that in the phrase "to edit X" the "X" is what was present before the edit, not as a result of it. That is, you cannot edit something that is not there by adding the thing.

However I'm struggling to find a way to prove it.

How may I prove the following in a semi-formal manner?

"Hi there."  => "Hi you."         # "I edited the second word".  <-- OK
"Hi there."  => "Hi there you."   # "I edited the third word".   <-- NOT OK
share|improve this question
The code sample was edited from being very succinct (0 characters) to somewhat more elaborate. Remember the zero-length swipe? – sehe Jan 29 '13 at 19:31
@sehe: Lulz. For the record, the "code" in question is a single backticked-word in a phrase that previously did not even exist. – Lightness Races in Orbit Jan 29 '13 at 19:32
I suppose I would have to accept the subtly different "code in your answer was edited in", though in such a case I'd have recommended "code was edited in to your answer". – Lightness Races in Orbit Jan 29 '13 at 19:37
If you consult any dictionary, you will see edit defined as "to revise, correct, change". It is self-evident that you cannot change something that does not exist (yet). There is no way to prove what is evident. So perhaps you should just ignore those people and spend your time on something more interesting and important! With in it would be all right, as you say. – Cerberus Jan 29 '13 at 19:55
up vote 2 down vote accepted

For what it's worth, The American Heritage Dictionary, 4th edition, has this entry for edit in and edit out:

phrasal verbs: edit in To insert during the course of editing: An additional scene was edited in before the show was aired. edit out To delete during the course of editing; A controversial scene was edited out of the film.

So, you could, as Cereberus suggested in his comment, suggest that they edited in code to your answer. I personally would say they added code to your answer.

As for the system notification phrase in question, it's probably too cumbersome (or too sophisticated to expect) for an edit that includes an addition to be signaled with: "Code in your answer has been edited in."

share|improve this answer
And, of course, if there were to be edited out as well, then why not have just a single message, has been edited ? – Andrew Leach Apr 23 '14 at 13:21

Please read this sentence carefully and you will have the solution: "What they think good and bad editing is, as well as how editors are, in a way, instruments of mind control." Also, you may write something link: "Hey, I have just edited the second word." Semi-formal manner has been included here.

share|improve this answer
Only 40% of this answer made any sense whatsoever. You may be in the wrong place. – Lightness Races in Orbit May 27 '15 at 3:48

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.