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.
Copyeditors are word people. We push away numbers as though they were plague-ridden. I make sure, then, to teach fact-checking math in my Copyediting III class. I want my students to become copyeditors who don’t blanch at the sight of an equation.
During the math lesson discussion this spring, several students had some great ideas about how to approach numbers, how to fact-check them better, and how to decide which tools copyeditors can use to work with numbers better.
Last week in the EAE Backroom, a Facebook group for editors, Sophie Hutton-Squire wanted to know if she had more than one Curly Wurly (a British candy) whether she would have Curly Wurlys or Curly Wurlies. In addition to making us all hungry, the comment provoked an interesting discussion of how we deal with trademarks, particularly when they’re created from irregulars.
Trained copyeditors know that when you repeatedly come across a phrase used to mean something different than you know it to mean, it’s time to do some research. Perhaps there’s a new meaning gaining ground or a meaning you were unaware of.
A student of mine recently asked me about doing that kind of research, and I decided to share my advice here.
One of my Copyediting III students asked a particularly useful question on our forum last week. In a couple of manuscripts, she had come across on the other side used to mean “on the other hand.” How could she determine if on the other side was becoming acceptable way to identify an alternative?
To avoid #plagiarism: When you use the ideas of another person, whether quoting or paraphrasing, give credit with a citation.—@APA_Style
Ah, yes, citations. They make strong copyeditors cry and weak ones quit. When we discussed citations in my Copyediting III class last week, my students’ overall opinion was that they didn’t like them and would be glad to skip them altogether.
With a real sense of spring blossoming in the United States and Canada, copyeditors are feeling an increase in energy and a desire to organize. If you’ve got spring fever, the first step is to go outside and do something you love. More than anything, this will renew your spirit, making you a better editor.
Back? OK, if you still have energy, here are five ways to use that energy in your editing life.
Writing and editing are related skills, and the more writers and editors know about each other’s work, the better they can work together. Because of this, I will sometimes recommend books for writers to copyeditors (e.g., the April–May 2011 issue of Copyediting).