More Blog Posts

Monday, March 10, 2014 - 10:35am
Mark Allen
Be Inspired: That's What Copyediting Conferences Are For

The American Copy Editors Society annual conference is 10 days away, and it will be informative, invigorating and enjoyable for hundreds of copyeditors honing their skills and making connections. I’ve been to six ACES conferences (which is not a great many among conference regulars) and three or four similar conferences.

I have wisdom from attending these as a novice and as a board member doing my bit to keep things running smoothly. The Las Vegas conference is my focus, but the following tips should apply to your conference in Toronto, Runnymede,...

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Editing, How to
Friday, March 7, 2014 - 3:59pm
Dawn McIlvain Stahl

If you over-imbibed on all the Grammar Day activities, posts, chats, and contests this week, here’s the perfect chaser: a Wordoku puzzle. It keeps things verbal by using letters instead of numbers, but it provides the same calming, orderly fun of traditional Sudoku.

To correctly solve the Wordoku, make sure that every row, column, and 3x3 box contains the following letters exactly once: 


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Friday, March 7, 2014 - 10:37am
Mark Allen
Another National Grammar Day Frenzy is Behind Us

National Grammar Day is hard to contain in just one day or within the borders of one nation. Of course, every day is grammar day to a copyeditor

National Grammar Day is March 4, easy to remember because it can be said as “march forth,” which is a sentence in itself with imperative verb and implied subject. Of course, “march fourth” also is a sentence, theoretically useful for establishing the order of bands in a parade.

There is, as yet, no parade for National Grammar Day, but there is a lot of buzz and contests and baked goods. Three simultaneous grammar-related discussions occurred at 2 p.m. EST on Tuesday. Copyediting hosted a...

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Editing, News
Thursday, March 6, 2014 - 1:03pm
Mark Allen
Ellipses Seem the Most Poetic of Marks

There is certainly something poetic about the word ellipsis, which figured in several entries to the National Grammar Day Tweeted Haiku Contest. Two of the top 10 winners featured the punctuation mark.

Birdseed scattered on 
melting snow. Ellipsis points
between winter and spring.

Julie Linden (@julieatlife) won third place with that one. And Lisa Cherett (@LCherrett) earned fifth-place honors with:

Dreamy ellipsis
three little dots unfettered

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Thursday, March 6, 2014 - 12:41pm
Adrienne Montgomerie
Wrangle Footnotes into Place with Note Stripper

The file was in a right hot mess. Cue editing stage sub-1: panic. The publisher wanted end notes created using Word’s built-in End Note feature. Numbering was to restart with each chapter. The author submitted this:

  • footnotes numbered using Word’s feature, but with no content in the linked footnote area at the bottom of each page
  • separate file of 633 footnotes, numbered using Word’s numbered list feature
  • one more numbered note than there were footnote numbers in the file

The books I work on do not have footnotes or end notes, so you might imagine how paralyzed I felt with this first introduction. It's enought to make you strip the keys off your keyboard.

"To the interweb!"

On Facebook, I asked my network of colleagues if there...

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - 12:55pm
Adrienne Montgomerie
Judgment Calls

One of the signs of maturity in an editor is the realization that she imposes different sets of “rules” depending on the client’s preference. There are few indisputable rules, the editor realizes, as she is exposed to more and more sets of preferences.

Yesterday I blogged about the that/which distinction being a choice rather than a hard-and-fast rule. A judge emailed me directly to say that “folks whose readers depend on precision (as do those in my field) ignore the rule at their peril.” It’s hard to take issue with a group who focuses on language as much as we do. Though lawyers may want to structure their writing so that meaning doesn’t hinge on defining a single word—or on a “rule” that is not universally observed...

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - 11:44am
Mark Allen
Between You and I, This is the Way to Make Me Cringe

Don’t fear me

A Daily Mail story from the other day contains a quote from a 1964 letter between two TV executives discussing the interviewer David Frost. The controller for BBC1 at the time wrote: 

His option to continue beyond the initial six weeks should not be taken up without further discussion between you and I.

Ugh. From a senior staff member at the BBC no less.

The between you and I construction is one that makes me particularly cringe, as widespread as it is. It scratches my peevish...

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - 6:55am
Erin Brenner
Weekly News Roundup: Grammar

Featured Topic: Grammar

Hung over from yesterday’s National Grammar Day festivities? Try a little hair of the dog.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - 11:30pm
Dawn McIlvain Stahl
2014 National Grammar Day: AnaGrammar Contest Winner

Thanks for joining us for National Grammar Day today! We had a great time hanging out in #GrammarChat and posting special Grammar Day posts on grammar’s double identity, the prescriptivist and descriptivist straw men, and the that/which camps. And, of course, we enjoyed holding our annual AnaGrammar contest.

We had more people than ever enter...

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - 12:55pm
Adrienne Montgomerie
That With Which I Will Put Up

In the one camp are people who think that and which should be used in different circumstances, exclusively. They feel those differences are vital.

In this camp, that is a word that restricts meaning; which does not. Which adds information but is not necessary to understanding the main clause. Satellites will fall from the sky if the spec docs use which where that applies.

The other camp contains what Editing Canadian English calls “language authorities [who] increasingly concede that which can introduce either type of clause.” ECE is a publication of the Editor's Association of...

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These tips surely help copy editors to enhance their skills and also help with assignment submission.
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