When we copyeditors learn to edit, we tend to tackle one rule or one set of rules at a time. We practice reducing repetition in one exercise and fixing comma errors in another. But when we get to real-world editing, we’re trying to fix all the errors in one or two passes. We’re no longer editing in a vacuum, and one edit often leads to another.
After a long dry spell of books to review, I now have a stack on my desk wanting my attention. In an effort to review books for you before they hit the remainder bin at your local bookstore, this week’s Tip covers two dictionary-style books: The Right Word and The Oxford Dictionary of Journalism.
This semester I’ve been teaching Copyediting II in an online certificate program. The middle of three core courses, Copyediting II focuses on what Amy Einsohn calls language editing—grammar, usage, syntax, and diction. During the lesson on parallelism, one student asked about when copyeditors should edit for parallelism. “What criteria require restructuring the whole sentence?” she asked.