More Blog Posts

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 12:55pm
Adrienne Montgomerie
4
The 4 Stages of Editing

These are not the production steps, but the stages that each editor goes through when editing. I learned this at Jim Taylor’s workshop on Eight Step Editing, one of the most popular offerings of the Editors’ Association of Canada. These stages rang so true that I’ve had them posted on my wall for nearly two decades:

  1. paralysis
  2. contempt
  3. superiority
  4. acceptance

He was applying this to individual assignments, I think, but it may apply to one's whole professional career.

Those who have attained the status of “mature editor” may happily find themselves in the fourth stage, which I sometimes think of as “resignation” — wherein you just...

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 11:17am
Mark Allen
1
Don't Make it Hard: Party with Heart

A friend asked me to settle a language debate argued countless times at bars everywhere: Is it party hardy or party hearty?

My short answer is anyone who writes party hardy is working too hard at it. You’re not chopping firewood or going for a walk in Minneapolis in February.

But the debate is far from settled. Either word makes sense for different reasons, and either has the better claim to rhyming correctly depending on how party is pronounced. For me, the later at night, the more likely for the t in party to be turned into a d sound.

Appetites are hearty; so is a jovial or energetic person. Hearty means full of heart, and we’ve been using...

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 6:55am
Erin Brenner
0
Weekly News Roundup: Editorial Methods

Featured Topic: Editorial Methods

How we approach editing is as important as how well we edit. This week, we focus on the difference between rules and styles, the different types of quality, and some punchy alternatives for very.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - 9:55am
Erin Brenner
3
Tip of the Week: Why Should Clients Pay for Copyediting?

Last week on Twitter, I linked to an article by Rich Adin about editing freelancers not underselling their services. In response, @wattsteph tweeted:

What's Next?

Good question. Good editors can’t stop poor editors or bad business owners from undercutting them. Those folks who will accept a $10-an-hour rate aren’t going away, and Adin did a good job of explaining...

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Monday, February 24, 2014 - 1:58pm
Dawn McIlvain Stahl
0
Featured Job Post: Freelance Copyeditors for McMurry / TMG

Copyediting’s own publisher, McMurry/TMG, is seeking freelance copyeditors to partner with its content marketing teams. McMurry/TMG has 30 years of custom-publishing experience and is now the largest content-marketing agency in the United States. It connects companies and prospective clients or customers by providing genuinely useful content. Clients include CBS, HP, the Ritz-Carlton, Sesame Street, Thomas Reuters, WebMD, and more.

Freelance copyeditors will collaborate with project editors, managers, and social media journalists to copyedit and fact-check online content.

These part-time, contract...

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Monday, February 24, 2014 - 11:03am
Mark Allen
1
Creative Punctuation Can Be Key to the Narrative

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further... And one fine morning —

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. 

So, how would you edit that? Of course, you had better not edit it. But a copyeditor hungrily wielding a red pen eager for blood might seize on those stops and starts and odd punctuation. And the literary world would be a bit worse off for the loss of that disjointed ending to The Great Gatsby.

Great writing takes us out of the familiar and forces us to look at the...

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Friday, February 21, 2014 - 9:21pm
Dawn McIlvain Stahl
2
National Grammar Day Doublets: Your Marching Orders

National Grammar Day is 10 short days away, on March 4th, the day of the year that forms a handy imperative sentence. It’s not all commands and demands, though. You’ll have a number of fun options for celebrating. Here are a few you'll want to check out:

Copyediting’s AnaGrammar game will be back -- unscramble the grammar-related anagrams for your chance to win a basic membership (includes a 12-month subscription to Copyediting newsletter). [Update: The contest is complete;...

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Friday, February 21, 2014 - 10:29am
Mark Allen
0
OED Seeks the Words of the Great War

The assassin’s shot that sparked "the war to end all wars” was fired 100 years ago in June, and four years of fighting gave rise, as wars tend to do, to many words that have stuck with us: shell shock, cushy, tank, trench coat, ack-ack, and more.

The Oxford English Dictionary is marking the centenary of the First World War with an appeal for evidence of words from the era. For more than a year, the OED has issued appeals to the public to help them antedate words, issuing the appeals through its website and social media accounts. It has asked the public for early examples of disco, header, Earl Grey, and others. These sort of appeals go...

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Thursday, February 20, 2014 - 10:20am
Mark Allen
0
If It's Not Fully Baked, It's Parbaked

We’ve been parboiling our food for centuries despite an odd, early shift in the meaning of the word from fully boil to partly boil. I was recently asked about a new-to-me word: parbake.

A par baked or par-baked or parbaked pie crust or loaf of bread is partially baked and then frozen, to be thawed and fully baked later. I might have used half-baked, but that’s not accurate. Parbaked items are mostly baked, needing a quick visit to the oven to finish them off.

A division exists over whether it should be one word, two words or hyphenated. A search of Google seems to show some preference for a divided form, par bake or par-bake. But a Google Books search suggests an even split. At...

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - 12:55pm
Adrienne Montgomerie
3
Do Quotes Deserve Clean-up?

“Don’t clean up the quotes.” Ever been given that instruction? Ever thought it unfair?

People don’t speak smoothly. Not most people. Their speech is full of hesitations, corrections, and — if you’re like me — outright flubs. I tend to combine terms in bizarre ways when I can’t decide which to use on the fly: “child labour” results when I mean “child birth or being in labour.” So if you’re quoting my thoughts about giving birth, I’d appreciate your help in not sounding idiotic.

On the other side of the issue, sometimes the person’s exact words are important. I’m not advocating that we edit transcriptions or fix up statements made in legal contexts. I’m talking about cases when that person’s voice, their word choice and syntax, and the rhythm of what they say are important...

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