Links and Stuff

Links to editing articles, blog posts, resources, and other interesting material

Online dictionaries, thesauruses, vocabularies

“For the writer—any kind of writer—the dictionary is an indispensable resource. No matter how extensive vocabulary the writer may have, no matter how skilled he may be in selection of words, there is always the likelihood that use of the dictionary may sharpen his discrimination in the use of words, may supply him with a synonym better than his first choice, or may even open up a new line of thought.”—Edward N. Teall, Putting Words to Work 78–79 (1940).

Merriam-Webster Collegiate
(pronunciations, examples, thesaurus)

American Heritage, 4th ed
Wiktionary / WordNet 3.0
Century Dictionary & Cyclopedia
Roget’s Thesaurus
(pronunciations, examples, thesaurus)

American Heritage, 5th ed

Webster’s New World College
American Heritage, 5th ed
English Wiktionary

American Heritage, 5th ed
Collins English Dictionary
Random House K. Webster
Cambridge Dictionary of Idioms
An excellent thesaurus as well

(Has British, American English)

Cambridge Dictionary
(Has British, American English)

Oxford Dictionaries
(Has British, American English)

Random House Dictionary
Collins English Dictionary
Online Etymology Dictionary

Longman Dictionary Contemp. English

Word Spy
(new words)

Green’s Dictionary of Slang

Urban Dictionary
(slang, crowdsourced)

Double-tongued dictionary
New words and fringe English

One Look (1000 dictionaries)

Computer Desktop Dictionary

Financial Times
(business and financial terms)

(business and financial terms)

Nolo’s Plain English Law Dictionary

Wex Legal Dictionary

Getty Vocabularies
(art, artists, architecture, geographic names)

(thesaurus and word finder)

Howjsay (pronunciations)

Forvo (only pronunciations)


Interested in words? Try these “word of the day” emails:
      Oxford English Dictionary

ACES conference handouts and resources
While this material is available freely to you, you may not reuse these materials, in any form, without the consent of ACES and the authors.


To keep up with editing news, I've begun using, a content curation program. It lets me gather posts on topics such as proofreading and editing, evaluate them, and add comments on them. If you're interested, you can visit my page here. I'd add all that material in this post, but it takes a long time to check even the links here and keep them updated.

Estimating job times (for editors)
Years ago, someone on the Copyediting-L discussion list posted the following formula for estimating the amount of time required to edit a manuscript, and I’ve found that it works fairly well:
    1. Choose a short sample from within the manuscript.
    2. Edit it, and calculate your words/hour or pages/hour from that for your first read.
    3. Add 50% for your second read.
    4. Add 10% to 15% for odds and ends of work.
    5. You now have your total time estimate.

Test yourself

Monthly Updates:

December 2013

A good infographic on grammar mistakes: The Top 10 Grammar Mistakes to Avoid Making.

Customers pay attention to the little things: another study of how typos and bad grammar can affect a company's credibility.

November 2013

It's yearly list time. Here are "The 15 Most Overused Business Words of 2013."

The "After Deadline" blog shares some good reminders on how to internationalize your text.

I'm reading APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur--How to Publish a Book, by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch. It's a great book for self-publishers, and a very useful one for editors who work with self-publishers.

An interesting look at the most popular words and phrases of 2013, according to Global Language Monitor.

Helpful article from Writer’s Digest:10 Things Your Freelance Editor Might Not Tell You—But Should

Hand signals to avoid on cover artwork.

A helpful Word macro to find those pesky duplicate words that the eye is prone to miss.

October 2013

An editor comments on the scourge of the typo.

A good post from Carol Fisher Saller: What Copyeditors Can Learn Online (Maybe Not What You Think).

More good tips on subject-verb disagreement, a common problem. And it was interesting to note that “mitigate against” isn’t correct, which I hadn’t realized.

Jesus misspelled, and other famous typos.

September 2013

Grammarphobia examines “different to,” “different than,” and “different from.”

August 2013

Counsel on “this this” and “that that” from Grammarphobia.

From the Yahoo! Style Guide on the value of proofreading on the Web: Error-free content underscores your site’s credibility. The Web Credibility Project at the Stanford University Persuasive Technology Lab found that typographical errors are one of the top 10 factors reducing a site’s credibility.* In the 2002 “Stanford-Makovsky Web Credibility Study” (a research report by the Stanford lab and Makovsky & Company), researchers noted that “Web users do not overlook simple cosmetic mistakes, such as spelling or grammatical errors. In fact, the findings suggested that typographical errors have roughly the same negative impact on a website’s credibility as a company’s legal or financial troubles.”** Once credibility is diminished or lost, it can be hard to rebuild.

      * B. J. Fogg, “Stanford Guidelines for Web Credibility.” A research summary from the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, Stanford University, May 2002, (accessed December 29, 2008).
      ** B. J. Fogg et al., “Stanford-Makovsky Web Credibility Study 2002: Investigating What Makes Web Sites Credible Today.” A research report by the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab and Makovsky & Company, Stanford University.

A helpful website: Clichés: Avoid Them Like the Plague

The “After Deadline” blog has some good reminders about parallel construction, as well as the usual weekly overview of usage and style problems in the New York Times.

July 2013

Advice on using i.e. and e.g.

The 100 words most often misspelled ('misspell' is one of them) as presented by Each word has a mnemonic pill with it and, if you swallow it, it will help you to remember how to spell the word.

The weekly “After Deadline” blog from the New York Times, with good advice on singular and plural, “as such,” and more.

June 2013

The Computer Desktop Encyclopedia: A technical dictionary that's actually user-friendly.

Some old but familiar words, and how and why they've endured—an interesting article from Mental Floss.

A quick primer on hyphens.

May 2013

A nice list of examples for using who/whom from Grammarphobia.

April 2013

      A helpful Writer’s Digest article on “The 4 Best Strategies for Savvy Self-Publishers.”

       Publishers Weekly on the growth of Christian self-publishing.

Don’t Be a Slave to Style Rules

Copyediting Tip of the Week, Feb. 26, 2013

      No one is coming after you or your publication if you don’t follow a style guide to the letter. You won’t be kicked out of any club if you don’t follow all the rules. And you won’t become a pariah for styling your publication in a way that works for that publication.

      Style guides offer guidance, not hard-and-fast rules. A publication’s style is like any other type of style: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. A suit and tie might be the style for the boardroom, but you’d look odd wearing such an ensemble to the beach. Style rules that work for a textbook don’t necessarily work for a newspaper. And style rules that work for one newspaper won’t necessarily work for all newspapers.

      Even if your publication closely follows a specific style guide, you are allowed to break with it when doing so suits the publication’s purpose. We apply style rules to make the mechanics of writing invisible, allowing meaning to come through. Style rules should aid clarity, not obscure it. They should also help present information in a predictable, consistent way so that readers understand what’s being presented to them.

      Ultimately, style is for the publisher to decide--with input from writers and editors, if the publisher is wise. Each publication is different and must design its style to fit its needs. If a style guide’s rules mostly fit, you’re allowed to use what fits and ignore what doesn’t.

March 2013

 Most of us probably use online dictionaries—and editors use them a lot. We learn from them, and as this article explains, they also learn from us.

• How good grammar can help your professional life: An article from the HBR blogs.

February 2013

•  Why every writer needs an editor. Quality matters.

• An nice infographic about the Oxford (serial) comma.

•  Interesting tips on spelling and word usage from this week’s “After Deadline” blog at the New York Times.

  Wise counsel from The Editorial Eye more than three decades ago.

January 2013

Most of What You Think You Know About Grammar is Wrong”: A good article in the February 2013 Smithsonian mag.

 A helpful post from Erin Brenner detailing daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly reminders for editing professionals.

 Some common English usage misconceptions, courtesy of Wikipedia.

November 2012

 For pointers on military-related usage and style, see this post from “After Deadline,” via The New York Times.

 For bilingual children’s stories, children’s videos, coloring pages, activities, and more, visit, a great site run by my talented daughter Lori.

 Useful online dictionaries:
      Merriam-Webster Collegiate 11th
      Wordnik (contains American Heritage [4th edition], Century Dictionary, others)
      Oxford dictionaries
      Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (searches multiple dictionaries)
      Word Spy (the word lover's guide to new words)
      Financial Times lexicon (business and financial terms)

 AP vs. Chicago: A guide comparing Associated Press style and Chicago style for editors, writers, teachers, students, word nerds, and anyone else who gives a dollar sign, ampersand, exclamation point, and pound sign about style.

 The questions and answers from the Chicago Manual of Style Online (updated monthly) cover questions that editors and proofreaders face, and are answered in a clear, concise, and sometimes humorous way.

 For anyone interested in grammar quizzes, here are a few sites:

   * The New York Times "After Deadline" blog (weekly post) goes over common errors that have appeared in the paper: what got printed versus what should have been printed. If not exactly a quiz, it's a great learning experience, and editors can see common problems that come up in copy. (The blog has been discontinued, but you might enjoy exploring their archives at the link.)

   * Paul Martin has something similar to "After Deadline" at his "Style & Substance" blog on the Wall Street Journal. Most or all of his posts have quizzes as well.

October 2012
 Getting freelance work as a copyeditor: Good advice from Carol Fisher Saller (10/31).

 Interesting article from Publisher's Weekly (10/24): "The number of self-published books produced annually in the U.S. has nearly tripled, growing 287% since 2006, with 235,625 print and e titles released in 2011, according to a new analysis of data from Bowker." PW also mentions the four largest self-publishing firms.

For a daily update on news and views from editorial professionals, as well as a place to post questions, share advice, and enjoy the occasional pun war, join Copyediting-L, a very active discussion list with very helpful and knowledgeable editors.

This isn't about editing, but it's related. I've found that most editors like to read (a shocking fact, I know), and I'm among them. I like to read science fiction in particular, and when I find good science fiction and fantasy (SFF) books on the Web, I bookmark them. A site I've found that has SFF books which I've enjoyed (for free) is BaenCD at the Fifth Imperium. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I did.

Favorite resources for freelance editors, from the ACES 2011 conference, posted on Mark Allen's website. It's a good list of links, as well as a good website.

Ask a Librarian at the Library of Congress. If you've searched for some information or the answer to some question and just can't seem to find it anywhere on the Web, you might want to try this free service. I've found that the researchers who answer questions I've posed have gone way beyond the call of duty to help me discover answers, while being cheerful, courteous, and a pleasure to communicate with.

The best site for editors I've ever come across is the Copyeditors' Knowledge Base, owned and managed by Katharine O'Moore-Klopf. For editing information, advice, and resources, it's the place to go.

For world news, check out TFI Daily News, a site that I can wholeheartedly recommend, since I manage it J.


Email:                 Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti /