How to check for repetition in your writing

When I’m copy-editing non-fiction, which I specialise in, one of the things I check for is whether any aspects of the writing are so repetitious that they’re likely to annoy the reader or look like a poor style of writing. I find repetition easy to spot and fix, but that’s partly because I’m looking at Continue reading

Proofreaders, libraries and a love of reading

During the last few months, various articles about beautiful libraries around the world have caught my eye, and I’ve posted some of them on my Facebook page and on Twitter. Something weird happens to me when I see pictures of shelves full of books. I feel happy and positive, as well as nostalgic, and generally Continue reading

The ellipsis – how to use it in non-fiction

The ellipsis You wouldn’t think three innocuous little dots would cause too many problems, but it’s clear from some of the texts I work on that some clients find that using the ellipsis properly and consistently can be a headache. Does it need a space before and after it? Should there be a space after Continue reading

Proofreaders and the paparazzi: getting headshots taken

Every two months, members of the South Warwickshire and Coventry local group of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders meet at a pub in Leamington Spa. Our discussions include all sorts of work-related topics, and I think we all find the meetings a very valuable resource – for sharing information about our proofreading and editing Continue reading

What are the benefits for proofreaders of meeting clients face to face?

You might have read my last blog post about many proofreaders enjoying getting out of the office now and again, even if they love their job. So while the dominating features of many self-employed proofreaders are spending a lot of time alone working, doing admin and marketing, and generally running a business, another, for me Continue reading

Why it’s good to escape from the office – the annual conference of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders 2017

The proofreader’s office I wonder what people would say if they were asked to describe the sort of office a self-employed proofreader might work in? Would they describe an isolated, minimalist office overlooking a well-tended garden with an amazing view of distant hills? Or would they picture a dingy back bedroom cluttered with junk, piles Continue reading

Theses and dissertations (part 2): How to avoid inconsistency of style

  In part 1 of this post, I suggested an easy method to avoid being inconsistent in the use of tense in your thesis or dissertation. This post considers a quick and easy way to avoid inconsistency of style. Examples of such an inconsistency could be applying italics to only some instances of the same Continue reading

Theses and dissertations (part 1): An easy way to make sure tense is consistent

  How tense is used has been a problem area in nearly all of the theses and master’s dissertations I’ve proofread since I started my business in 2009. In addition to correcting spelling, grammar and punctuation and doing checks for consistency of style (use of italic, capitalisation, hyphenation, and so on), I check whether tense Continue reading

Grammar: the generation gap

Once a week for about the last five years, I’ve sneaked off to a two-hour Italian lesson at a language college in Birmingham. I’ve loved it, though it’s been a challenge. Strange though it may sound to some, I like learning Italian grammar rules. I’ve recently stopped going to these lessons, but an email exchange Continue reading

Editing a style guide – when is editing needed?

You may have read my last blog post, ‘A new experience: copy-editing for a publisher’. It was about working for a different type of client for the first time (a publisher) – I usually work for individuals. I mentioned in that post that parts of the style guide for this first copy-editing job I did Continue reading