Here are some definitions to help clarify the editing process
(Please bookmark us and come back soon to see forthcoming content in this section!)
Resources for good writing and grammar
One way to save money on editing is to write more correctly in the first place! Here is a very haphazard collection of resources you might like to explore with that in mind.
Style guides are essentially collections of rules to ensure consistency within a piece of writing and across collections of written works.
The AAA style guide
The American Anthropological Association style guide is arguably the de facto American style guide for non scientific academic writing in the United States, and an excellent starting point for developing your own personal consistency guidelines.
The American Geophysical Union (AGU) has the peculiar distinction of having authored the Wordsmith’s favourite style guide. I don’t know why, that’s just the way it is!
Out of interest… The AGU posts this revealing paragraph alongside its hyperlink to the guide.
“Most frequent changes made in editing:
Changing to American spellings
Removing special typefaces (i.e., italics, boldface) used for emphasis
Incorporating footnoted information into text. (Footnotes are used only for affiliations and auxiliary material.)
Changing to international date format: 25 January 2003 (in tables, months may be abbreviated)
Adding full ranges for years: 1989–1990
Removing commas in numbers less than 10,000 (e.g., 7213)
Adding serial commas before conjunctions
Defining abbreviations/acronyms at first use
Adding zero before a decimal point: 0.25
I’m sure we can all learn from that!
The Chicago Manual of Style has to be mentioned here.
In the author’s words “…a mildly prescriptive pointer to what is considered good newspaper style.” A gentler, British approach.
Dictionaries and thesauruses
Here’s a starter handful of online dictionaries and thesauruses. Click through and drag the tabs onto your browser bookmarks pane to build your own reference section.
You can find dozens of online dictionaries just by Googling!
Just plain common sense
Your editor is going to charge you top dollar for rectifying matters when your own powers of self-expression have let you down. So – work on them!
St Cloud State University in Minnesota hosts its own ‘Literacy Education Online’ project, and it’s a fantastic resource for anybody interested in clear writing – and thinking! (In the latter context, see the logical fallacies section particularly – it’s a gem.)
Visit also the resources section on the South African Professional Editors’ Group website.