One suggestion was to rewrite it as "Several native grasses grow here." This is certainly a direct and active approach to rewriting, although it changes the meaning slightly. In situations like these, we need to put on the editor's hat and ask the writer, "Are you saying that the grasses naturally grow there? Or are you saying that someone is intentionally growing the grasses there?"
If the answer is that they naturally grow, I would suggest the rewrite above. If the answer is that they are intentionally grown--in a restoration project, for example--let's stick with the sentence as it was presented but with a change.
The principle that Amy Einsohn discusses is that the use of the indefinite article "a" receives different treatment than the definite article "the."
On June 5, I posted this tricky sentence: "A variety of natives grasses is grown here." It stirred up a lot of conversation. The sentence deserved all of this attention because it is one of twenty-five grammar principles that Amy Einsohn, in The Copyeditor's Handbook, called the "most prevalent perplexities and controversies in subject-verb agreement" (p. 340).
All of the academic editing that I do is in the American Psychological Association (APA) style. I know the manual inside and out and have memorized page numbers for most rules. On page 99, you will find a list thirty-nine common suffixes and prefixes that APA doesn't hyphenate before and after, except in certain situations.
When I edit for simplicity and clarity, I like to explain to the client why things are being done. But, first, I always ask for an explanation because I'm curious as to the sentence's meaning. I never make assumptions about what the author is intending.
Next, I point out the weaknesses, and I sometimes offer suggestions for how the sentence can be stronger.
To clean up the file that you've just received back from your editor, you'll need to become familiar with the reviewing tool bar. By the time you're a few pages into your document, you'll be an expert!
Meet the Editor
I'm Coreen, and I am a copy editor, writer, instructor, digital marketer, and student of PR and Communications for organizations doing positive work in the world.