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)

Wordnik

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

American Heritage, 5th ed.

Your Dictionary

Includes Webster’s New World College Dictionary / American Heritage, 5th ed. / English Wiktionary / Computer dictionary / Investment dictionary / Webster's New World Law Dictionary

The Free Dictionary

Includes American Heritage, 5th ed. / Collins English Dictionary / Random House K. Webster / Farlex Dictionary of Idioms, Collins Thesaurus of the English Language

Macmillan Dictionary

Cambridge Dictionary

Has English-Spanish, Spanish-English

Oxford Dictionaries

Has British, American English. (The OED is a premium resource)

Dictionary.com

Includes Random House Dictionary / Collins English Dictionary / Online Etymology Dictionary (word origins)

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English

Includes English-Spanish, English-Japanese, English-Korean

Word Spy (new words)

Green’s Dictionary of Slang

Drug Slang Code Words, from the DEA (2018 report, thanks to Katharine O'Moore-Klopf)

Glossary of 1950s slang (Thanks, Aubree)

Urban Dictionary (slang, crowdsourced)

Double-tongued dictionary (new words and fringe English)

One Look (more than 1000 dictionaries, and good reverse dictionary)

Computer Desktop Dictionary (plain-language computer/IT terms)

Investopedia (business and financial terms)

Nolo’s Plain English Law Dictionary

Wex Legal Dictionary

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

Panlexicon (thesaurus and word finder)

Howjsay (pronunciations)

Forvo (only pronunciations)

Biographies

http://www.biography.com/

http://www.s9.com/

http://www.who2.com/

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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.

2018

2017

2016

2015

To keep up with editing news, I used Scoop.it, a content curation program, for four or five years. It let me gather posts on proofreading and editing, evaluate them, and add comments on them. You can visit my page here.

Now, however, the free version of Scoop.it has restricted me to 50 articles, much less than the 1300 I've posted. And the premium version is $14 a month, which is more than I'm willing to pay. So I'm going to go back to posting links and commentary here under "Monthly Updates," and as I add links at the top, I'll delete older ones from the bottom.

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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 and can set a fee accordingly.

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Test yourself

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Monthly Updates:

November 2019

Slate on “Space Invaders: Why you should never, ever use two spaces after a period.”

The 2019 Publishers Weekly salary survey. This is based on employees at publishing houses, so it doesn’t necessarily correspond to freelancers—although I noticed it said “The gender composition of publishing did not change in 2018—80% of respondents said they were women.” From what I’ve seen at editorial conferences, that’s about right.


October 2019

How to Become a Deep Web Super Sleuth”: Helpful article from the Global Investigative Journalism Network.

Super searcher strategies (PDF) from Mary Ellen Bates, presented at Internet Librarian 2019.


September 2019

A very clear answer to this question from Grammar Girl: 'It Is I' Versus 'It Is Me'

A helpful column from the “American Editor” blog: “On the Basics: The ongoing challenge of finding editorial work

Advice for editors from Carol Saller at CMOS Shop Talk: “Do You Overstep When Editing Fiction? Three Easy Cures.”

Liz Dexter at LibroEditing on “What to do if your comment boxes go tiny in Word

The latest new Merriam-Webster words, and a blast from the past over the use of “thou.”


August 2019

A post by Carol Saller: “Sure, You Got A’s in English—But Do You Know Where Commas Go?”

An interesting look at ampersands by Grammar Girl

Grammarphobia on the misconception that “none” is always singular


July 2019

What copy editors do, and why you need one. Please take note, authors.

Advice on overcoming a problem that new editors often face: You can’t get editing work without experience, but you can’t get experience without getting hired: “5 Ways to Break the Vicious Circle of Newbies.”

An informative post from ResearchBuzz: “If You’re Not Using More of Google News’ Date Options, You Might Be Missing Out”

Putting this here for my reference too: Japan Style Sheet: The SWET Guide for Writers, Editors and Translators

June 2019

Wired on why it’s so hard to catch your own typos. Even editors hire other editors to go over their work.

Advice from editors on taking editing tests.

John McIntyre of the Baltimore Sun: You have no idea what editors do

Editorial discretion: phone numbers in dialogue

A good article from An American Editor blog: “How Not to Network.” Don’t be I.M. Pistov in your communications.

May 2019

An interesting look at the English language: The Scripps National Spelling Bee is a reminder of the English language's amazing enormity

An older post from The Week that’s attracted a lot of attention on the news site I oversee: “English is weird.”

Helpful post from Iva Cheung on having a house style guide

August 2018

BBC article on “The commas that cost companies millions”

The Macmillan Dictionary Portmanteau Quiz. I found myself saying some of these answers are wrong. I suspect it’s because of the difference between British and American usage.

The latest Chicago Manual of Style Q&As are good, as always.

Chicago Style Workout 28: Grammar, Part 2. Good review. I missed some of these.

Don’t wrack your brain (Grammar Girl)


June 2018

Grammar Girl on ‘Aggravate’ or ‘Irritate’? Better check your style guide.

May 2018

From ACES 2018: How to grow your freelance business: Three editors share their financial strategies

Negotiating and delivering bad news with grace—advice from Laura Poole

A nice article showing how it’s done: “How to Copyedit The Atlantic

Historical-fantasy novelist Guy Gavriel Kay on the slow process of editing his work: an author talks about working with his editor.

Brianne Hughes talks about The Cybersecurity Style Guide. Interesting to see how it all came together. It’s an immense amount of work (I put together a small style guide once).

Recommended: Chicago Style Workout 25: Numerals versus Words

When to Capitalize ‘Mom’ and Other Nicknames and Terms of Endearment (from Grammar Girl)

20 Truths from 20 Years of Editing” by Adrienne Montgomery. Great!

Why Copyeditors Should Pitch a Flat Fee (Part 4 of a series, with links to the other parts), by Jeanette Fast Redmond


April 2018

Word wars: The battle between American and British English. From THE PRODIGAL TONGUE: The Love-Hate Relationship between American and British English by Lynne Murphy

Grammar Girl with helpful advice on lay vs. lie.

Is there enough? I’ve often been asked this question by folks trying to get into editing, proofreading and/or book indexing. It also applies to starting almost any business or looking for a job, of course. It’s not a question of “enough.” It’s a question of finding your match.

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Older Links

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

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).

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, http://credibility.stanford.edu/guidelines/ (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

July 2013

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

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

June 2013

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.

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

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

January 2013

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

• Wise counsel from The Editorial Eye more than three decades ago:

Commandments for Copyeditors

(#36, 12/79)

1. Thou shalt not change the author’s meaning.

2. Thou shalt not introduce new errors; especially shalt thou not change something correct to something incorrect.

3. Thou shalt change nothing except to improve it.

4. Thou shalt hearken to thy instructions and do precisely what is expected of thee.

5. Thou shalt honor and obey those in charge over thee.

6. Thou shalt mark clearly and write legibly in a color that photocopies well.

7. Thou shalt protect the manuscript from rain, hail, wind, coffee, children, pets, and all things damaging.

8. Thou shalt meet thy deadlines.

9. Thou shalt assume nothing but shalt seek answers to all things doubtful or unspecified.

10. Thou shalt read and study the English language continually.

November 2012

• For bilingual children’s stories, children’s videos, coloring pages, activities, and more, visit http://www.freekidstories.org/, a great site run by my talented daughter Lori.

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.

October 2012

• 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.

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.

Email: frank@steele-editing.com Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net