Editing tests taken as part of a job interview are a contentious topic among copyeditors. While some editors have no problem taking them, others are quite vocal about not taking them.
In this new series, I’ll look at the question from both sides: the test takers and the test givers. Why would editors want or not want to take a test? Are there alternatives to taking a test? And what about the hiring agent: Should you give a test? And if so, how can you best test someone’s skills, especially if you’re not an editor?
May I Quote You on That? by Stephen Spector (Oxford University Press) is a new grammar and usage guide for the layperson, that is, anyone who needs to write well without necessarily being a professional communicator. For the professional writer or editor with at least some experience and training, “grammar for the masses” books are often of limited use.
A regular Copyediting reader outlined the following situation to me:
She’s been editing a client’s periodical for years. Recently, the publisher’s policy has changed to allow writers more freedom and to ignore house style and common sense. The result is a publication that no longer looks professional.
Recently I did something unusual (for me, anyway) in a client document: I added a smiley face to a comment balloon in Word.
I’ve worked for this client for years. I’ve met this author in person, and we have a good relationship. I wasn’t worried that she would take it the wrong way but that the smiley would do what I intended: lighten the mood.
Writing headlines takes a combination of creativity and skill. In our new weekly blog post, headline-writer extraordinaire Matthew Crowley teaches you how to write headlines that will encourage your audience to read on. His inaugural post is our Tip of the Week.
Last week, I looked at what the dictionaries and style guides have to say about the structure x-year-olds, as in We hosted a party for eight 10-year-olds. Those references that listed it used the hyphenated version, but I have a habit of using it without hyphens: 10 year olds.
In my Copyediting III course this past spring, one of my students wanted to know why I had marked on her editing test that 24-year-olds should be 24 year olds. Doesn’t the phrase contain hyphens?
As happens with copyeditors sometimes, I had made the correction reflexively. My thinking was that the x-year-olds form, where x is a number, is a noun, so hyphens aren’t needed. But the student’s question made me stop and think. And I couldn’t answer my student without some research first.
In April, Copyediting began a year-long celebration of 25 years of publishing and training for copyeditors. We’re proud to still be here, enlightening copyeditors and helping them do their jobs better, no matter how the industry changes.