Category Archives: English Language

Idioms

According to the Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus (1996), an idiom is a group of words established by usage and having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words.

I will never forget the first time I learned about idioms. I was in the third grade and our homework assignment was to figure out a group of phrases that were completely alien to me. Continue reading

Last Copyediting Class

Monday night, our instructor went over the homework assignment which was primarily about subject and verb agreements. I had to look up what the subject for a sentence was because I hadn’t studied this since junior high school.

Upon reviewing the homework, I did well – better than I expected. Where I was lacking was in changing subject/verb agreements in sentences.

Then we did an in-class exercise which consisted of rearranging sentences, subject/verb agreement and a long article about Black Jazz Vocalists with crazy errors to remedy.

At the end of the class, I realized I’m not cut out to be a Copyeditor. I thought I’d enjoy this but knowing myself, I would get bored. I think if I had a job like say, Production Editor, where I oversaw edits on manuscripts and did other things other than only copyedit, I would be happy. Freelance Copyeditor? Me? I don’t see it.

For those interested in looking for Copyediting jobs, I have conveniently provided the websites referred to me by my instructor. Enjoy.

Copyeditor Job Board: http://jobs.copyeditor.com

The Slot: http://www.theslot.com/howto.html

Freelance Mailing List: http://www.comteck.com/~tanuki/

Editorial Freelancers Association: http://www.the-efa.org/

Copyediting Job Resources: http://www.nyu.edu/classes/copyXediting/eresources.html#job

Latest Copyediting Class

Monday evening, we reviewed our homework assignments in which we had to create a style guide for a piece we had to edit.

A style guide is a reference guide a copyeditor creates for his or herself while editing a piece. This reference guide includes word consistency like the spelling of a name like Ashley versus Ashlee. Additionally, the guide includes whether the piece uses A.M. versus a.m. Everything that normal readers take for granted are style choices and places that copyeditors look at and have to make sure is correct. The source, as well, has to be included in the style guide. If the copyeditor uses Webster’s Dictionary, the APA or Chicago Manual style for reference, this has to be incorporated as well.

Apart from a copyeditor creating his or her style guide, every publishing company has a house style guide which the copyeditor uses during the editing process. This makes editing easier and the copyeditor is consistent with the publisher’s style. There are word spellings and sentences that may be up for debate but that is based on the writer of the content and the chief editor who have the last word.

If there’s one thing my instructor has taught me, is never to trust yourself and to look everything up. Sometimes we think the grammar, spelling, or whatever else is correct but if there is doubt, look it up. This is why style guides are so important while editing. When copyeditors are in the zone, they stop seeing mistakes and see what they think is supposed to be there.

Overall, Monday evening’s class was insightful and as always helpful. I cannot believe next week will be my last class. The neat thing about my last class is our instructor will provide us with a copyediting test to gauge our levels and provide us with a huge set of resources to seek copyediting employment opportunities. Yay for jobs!

Grammar Rules

My second Copyediting class was an eye-opener.  For one thing, I don’t know if I actually want to pursue this as a freelancer.  Maybe I’m feeling this way because I’m at the beginning stages and you don’t learn a skill overnight.

Here’s what I learned:

An appositive is a noun or noun phrase that describes another noun.  Example: U.S. president Obama.  The appositive is the U.S.

A squinting modifier is a word that may or may not be describing two things in a sentence except for one. Example: Make sure you get the cookbook from the store that is red. Red could be describing cookbook or store which is why this is corrected during a copyedit.

Ellipses have different rules.  The three part ellipses […] is used in the middle of a sentence when sections aren’t included. However, you use four periods [….] when you use one at the end of the sentence because the last one is a period.

Learn something new, everyday, huh? I never ever knew that and now I do…and you do too!

Until the next grammar lesson!

Copyediting

On Monday night, I took my first ever copyediting class.  The Mediabistro’s website offers many classes to provide useful skills for writers and anybody in the media industry.

The class had sixteen people, primarily composed of women.  The instructor was witty, intelligent, and supportive with our dreams of entering the wide world of copyediting.

I learned there is a difference between being a Proofreader, Copyeditor, and Line Editor.

We spent a huge portion of the class understanding the nuances and crossover of these three titles.

A Proofreader is in charge of spelling, grammar, punctuation, the layout, and structure of print.

A Copyeditor looks at word choice, tense consistency, jargon, overwrought prose, wordiness and fact checking.

A Line editor goes through the copy for context, tone, clarity, and stereotypes/clichés if by that part in the editing process it has not been looked at.

I thought that a Copyeditor did all these three jobs but apparently not; if a company wants a Copyeditor, now I know that I have to ask about the other positions because then my rate will go up accordingly! (Even though I don’t know what my rate is just yet.)

We did an in class exercise which was really fun and we also have homework.  With practice and resources, I’ll be a bona fide Copyeditor in no time!

This class is going to be a blast.