To improve by critical editing: emend a faulty text
[Middle English emenden, from Latin emendare : e-, ex + mendum, defect, fault.]
e•men•date (e'-men-date, e-MEN'-date) tr.v. -dat•ed, -dat•ing, -dates
To make textual corrections in. --e'men•da•tor' n. --e•men'da•tory adj.
e•men•da•tion (ee'men•da'shen, e'men-) n.
1.The act of emending.
2. An alteration intended to improve: textual emendations made by the editor.
--The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, 2000. aka AHD4.
Note that each definition above includes the word text. Emend and its cognates concern the editing, correcting, and altering of texts or manuscripts in order to improve them. Teachers of English typically help student writers emend their essays for precision and grace.
I first learned this word in a summer graduate course taught by a kindly professor (with tweed coat, pipe, and stained, crooked teeth) whose name I, unfortunately, have forgotten. One day, after class, he took me aside in the hallway, and said in a voice softened with halting, gentle concern, "Ahem, John. About your work. This, ah, paper needs . . . emendations. What we have here, coming from you, given your past work, will, ah, not do!"
There were too many technical blunders and syntactical infelicities in the hastily written paper to satisfy his standards. That embarrassment promptly seared the word emendation hard to the hide of my memory.
"patiently adjust, amend and heal" (Hardy).
Amendment: The act of amending or improving, but specifically, alteration in or addition to a legislative act or resolution.
"Let us hastily amend the amendment."
Amends: Reparations or compensation for loss or damage.
"And doth not a meeting like this make amends,/For all the long years I've been wand'ring away?" (Thomas Moore).
--Bugaboos, Chimeras & Achilles' Heels. Engelwood Cliffs, NJ, 1993.
BLOGGIN' JOHN COMMENTS
Emend edits and proofreads documents at the sentence level, with a blue pencil, paying attention to spelling, punctuation, diction, syntax, arrangement, and style. The results are called emendations.
Amend works at a larger scale of magnitude, altering substantive issues related to legislative acts or resolutions. The results are called amendments.