Thank you, American Dialect Society

For any editor or language buff who has struggled with sentences like these: Everyone took his or her seat. Your client may want his or her options increased. Rejoice!!! The old rule, much disputed, said: If your antecedent (the word to which your pronoun refers) is singular, you cannot use the word “their” because it… Continue Reading

A tale of two (actually three) English grammar texts

I had an interesting conversation with my friend Michael Franklin at the AMWA (American Medical Writers Association) conference in Columbus last month. He told me of a must-read grammar text, Understanding English Grammar by Martha Kolln and Robert Funk, that he had studied in graduate school. I nearly fainted when I saw the price at… Continue Reading

Why bother with a style guide?

If you write or edit more than one document a day or work with other writers and editors, you need a style guide to provide guidance on style (language conventions with respect to spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and typographic arrangement and display). You can create a style guide at the personal, department, or corporate level (depending… Continue Reading

The numbers game

I have frequent requests in my writing classes to explain how to express numbers in technical and business writing. Let me be honest with you: I can’t possibly cover all the variables involved in writing numbers in this brief post. In fact, I could actually shorten this article dramatically if I just said: “Consult your… Continue Reading

Recently released: The Copyeditor’s Handbook (a great resource)

 The Copy Editor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications, 3rd edition, is a comprehensive resource for both new and experienced editors. The preface acknowledges the author’s intent to help new copyeditors: “This handbook is addressed to new and aspiring copyeditors who will be working on nonfiction books, journal articles, newsletters, and corporate… Continue Reading

Tour de Style Manuals

If you’d like a demonstration of democratic unproductivity, try settling writing style issues like the serial comma or the hyphenation of the word “e-mail”  in a group. Months later, you’ll still be arguing (and the national debate on health care will look tame by comparison). That’s why I recommend that each work group, department, division,… Continue Reading

The Yahoo! Style Guide

I just learned of the Yahoo! Style Guide online (you can buy it for $14.95 on Amazon). The online version has some interesting quick links; I was fascinated by their word list (is it 24/7 or 24-7?) You can download their list and start adding to it yourself, which would make you look very consistent… Continue Reading

The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers

Recently, a client required me to edit their medical manuscript to the style manual Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers (7th edition). This style manual, published by the Council of Science Editors in 2006, might be of interest to people who write and submit articles in all scientific disciplines,… Continue Reading