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)
Includes American Heritage, 4th ed. / Wiktionary / WordNet 3.0 / Century Dictionary & Cyclopedia / Roget’s Thesaurus (pronunciations, examples, thesaurus)
American Heritage, 5th ed.
Includes Webster’s New World College Dictionary / American Heritage, 5th ed. / English Wiktionary / Computer dictionary / Investment dictionary / Webster's New World Law Dictionary
Has English-Spanish, Spanish-English
Has British, American English. (The OED is a premium resource)
Includes Random House Dictionary / Collins English Dictionary / Online Etymology Dictionary (word origins)
Includes English-Spanish, English-Japanese, English-Korean
Word Spy (new words)
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)
Getty Vocabularies (art, artists, architecture, geographic names)
Panlexicon (thesaurus and word finder)
Forvo (only pronunciations)
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 been using Scoop.it, a content curation program, for the last four or five years. It let me gather posts on topics such as 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.
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.
- Try the Chicago Style Workouts at http://cmosshoptalk.com/chicago-style-workouts/
- Pam Nelson also has some good grammar workouts at https://aceseditors.org/resources/quizzes.
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.
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
BBC article on “The commas that cost companies millions”
“How to Edit Topics You’re Clueless About” (and where to draw the line)
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.
Pandemics, Epidemics, and the Spanish Flu: Telling the difference
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)
From Copyediting: “The Comma Dilemma: Multiple Adjectives.” Where does the comma go, or does it need one at all?
Good post: The Productive Freelance Editor, Part 1: Setting Goals
Editorial creativity and advice on how to build it. Wish I had more time to do so.
Writing tactful apology letters to clients
The capitalization of appositive titles. Good article. I have more trouble with appositive commas, though.
Grammar Girl on ‘Aggravate’ or ‘Irritate’? Better check your style guide.
Going off road: what to do when you can’t look up a question
Negotiating and delivering bad news with grace—advice from Laura Poole
A nice article showing how it’s done: “How to Copyedit The Atlantic”
A nice post from Adrienne Montgomerie: 10 Actions That Combat Imposter Syndrome
A helpful article on end-of-line hyphenation by Andy Hollandbeck at Copyediting.
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
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
Would you like fries (proofreading) with that? A tip from Copyediting
What to do when someone asks you (an editor), “What’s your rate?”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Grammarphobia examines “different to,” “different than,” and “different from.”
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
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.
Some old but familiar words, and how and why they've endured—an interesting article from Mental Floss.
A quick primer on hyphens.
A nice list of examples for using who/whom from Grammarphobia.
• 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.
• An nice infographic about the Oxford (serial) comma.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• Getting freelance work as a copyeditor: Good advice from Carol Fisher Saller (10/31).
• 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 (now mainly headlines), check out TFI Daily News, a site that I can wholeheartedly recommend, since I manage it.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net