It hasn’t reflected publishing standards since the Jazz Age. And it isn’t Chicago style. But some people continue to do it in their own documents—from manuscripts to emails. You’ll even see it occasionally on social media.
Its generic name is the serial (or series) comma, but a lot of people refer to it by a fancier name: Oxford comma.
In 1929, when the song “Ain’t Misbehavin’ ” became a big hit, composers Thomas “Fats” Waller and Harry Brooks probably weren’t too worried about that final apostrophe.
Microsoft Word does a lot of things automatically, and it does them by default. Some of these interventions are welcome. But to a copyeditor, Word’s meddling can be dangerous.
If you follow Chicago style, it’s a safe bet you know that a Chicago-style ellipsis consists of three spaced periods. You probably also know . . .
Okay, now that I’ve introduced myself, let’s talk about that headline up there. If you’re like me and edit or proofread for a living, you’ve probably noticed that something about it isn’t quite right. . . .
I love Microsoft Word shortcuts, and I post them from time to time when I stumble across a new one. But how’s a body supposed to discover all the features of this gigantic application when so many of them aren’t even visible on the ribbon? To root them out, I went online and browsed around. Confession: half of these tricks
Do you ever find at the end of workday that even though you know darned well you weren’t slacking for even ten minutes, somehow you didn’t make any progress in editing your manuscript? Or do you ever try to explain to someone why even though you put in forty or fifty hours a week, your editing time is way, way less? Recently I was ransacking my archives looking for something, and I ran across a file
This morning I was looking at a writer’s website and once again wondered about an anomaly I see all the time in author bios. You know what I mean: those short blurbs that appear on book jackets, at online bookstores and fan sites, on guest posts, conference programs, and other hangouts where writers need to be identified.
How does a professional copyeditor know when it’s time to retire? Freelancers especially may be tempted to sail on past the age at which in-house editors are encouraged to put down the red pencil. But in either case, how long is too long? Here are some questions to consider.