Copy Editor’s Corner

Unleash Your Inner Editor

A good editor can take good writing and make it great. But every writer can expertly edit themselves with these simple tips. 1. Read the first sentence of every paragraph. If your piece is well organized, the topic sentences should come together to form a brief...

It’s copy editing time

Our entire company went to Six Flags America yesterday. Check out our photos on the culture page. Anyway, one of the rides was called The Wild One, a wooden roller coaster originally built in 1917. It was terrifying, not because it was particularly steep or fast, but...

Copy Editor’s Corner | Blogpostapostrophe

As copy editors, we work with words day in and day out, and we sometimes forget how confusing proofreading marks, punctuation, and style rules can be. Lately, a rash of people have been puzzled by a common mark, the apostrophe. Which direction does an apostrophe point? What...

A pinch of this, a dash of that

Dashes -- beloved by copy editors, often loathed by, well, everyone else. Hyphens (-) join words (good-looking, long-term). An em dash (—) is often used to add emphasis or set off thoughts mid-sentence, and can be an effective alternative to parentheses....

Copy Editor’s Corner | Dare to compare, correctly

What’s the difference between “compare with” and “compare to,” anyway? Let’s compare the two phrases. According to The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, “To compare to is to point out or imply resemblances between objects regarded as essentially of a different order; to compare with is mainly to point out differences between objects regarded as essentially of the same order.” And The Associated Press Stylebook offers this example: “She compared her work for women’s rights to Susan B. Anthony’s campaign for women’s suffrage.” To simplify both entries from these style gods, use “compared with” to point out a difference and “compared to” to point out a similarity. It’s much likelier that you’ll use “compared with” in a piece than “compared to.”

Copy Editor’s Corner | Grammar vs. Style

What’s the difference between grammar and style? It’s similar to the difference between a dictate and a suggestion -- when a copy editor marks a change because it’s grammatically incorrect, you really should make the change. Style is more subjective, but for the best copy possible, adhering to consistent style is important. People often treat copy editors as human dictionaries or style books and approach them with questions like “Which is right, e-mail or email?” The answer is that neither is wrong because this is a matter of style, not grammar. However, most publications follow one style guide (and magazines and newspapers usually follow the Associated Press Stylebook, or AP style), and that resource likely has a preference.