Tag: editor

Going it alone with technology when you are freelance

For two years I made careful plans to take the leap into becoming a freelance editor

But four months after that elated leap into the void, I realise I wasn’t prepared for something quite considerable.

freelanceAlthough they said “beware of the isolation factor”, I took that to mean missing out on talking and socialising with people in the office. Not me, I thought, I have plenty of friends and family nearby, I won’t get lonely.

The penny has now dropped.

You know that moment when

Copy-editing & proofreading – is it worth it?

Not every writer chooses to hire a professional proofreader for copy-editing.  But I’m not just talking to novelists or journalists:  I’m talking to website owners as well! 

The content of your website has every reason to be as accurate as a published book or hard copy magazine – it’s the window to your world and it really matters.  Reasons cited for not bothering to have work proofread are valid and varied:

“I can’t afford an editor.”

“True, I make a few mistakes, but not enough to need one.”

“That’s just my style, it’s the way I write.”

“I’m going for a casual, more talky style.”

“Nobody will notice – most people aren’t as picky as you.”

 

Probably the most common reason for hoping to do without an editor to copy-edit is

Easy peasy apostrophes – part 2

My last post sparked quite a bit of a stir! The resounding answer to the question I posed: “Is text-speak killing my beloved apostrophe?” was a clear NO.

My insatiable appetite for proofreading and catching errors is shared by some like-minded contributors on LinkedIn (thank you all). Some pointed out that using an apostrophe + s to denote plurals can be a matter of which style guide you prefer to follow, or indeed whether you are using UK or US English.

American examples cited were “recite your ABC’s”, “dot your I’s and cross your T’s” which I suppose I can grudgingly understand, and can also be used in dates like “the 1980’s”, although I still don’t see the necessity for that.

But the one that finally convinced me personally that you should NOT use the apostrophe to indicate a plural was this one:

Easy peasy apostrophes!

Some will guess what’s coming, others won’t even recognise it, so neglected and abused has it become in the last decade.

I feel so hugely defensive and have a fierce need to protect it – there is actually a Protection Society for it with thousands of members!

It’s only tiny, but such a clever little thing. Sometimes it sits toward the back, and sometimes right at the back, as it doesn’t demand too much attention, and makes no noise at all. In fact it’s so quiet that people have started to ignore it completely – with devastating consequences!

Mostly it helps us out with two important things: it can help us with ownership, or possession. The other thing is it reminds us that something’s missing.

What the blazes am I talking about? A yapping chihuahua? A 21st century memory chip?

Nay! The subject of my passion is apostrophe apostasy!

What really gets me is why so many people get it wrong when they very nearly get it right! Most of us know that an apostrophe is needed when we are talking about possession, eg: Laura’s shoes. And again, we mostly get it right when we know there’s a missing letter – see what I just did – the apostrophe in “there’s” actually replaces the letter “i” in the phrase “there is”.

But over and over again I am seeing it’s when it should be its, and its when it should be it’s – but why when the same rules apply? The word “it’s” represents “it is” – simples!

Let’s (or let us) go back to Laura’s shoes. Suppose you wanted to say “the heels of Laura’s shoes”. You can say it more briefly by using the apostrophe: “Laura’s shoes’ heels”.

Hold on, you say – what’s that apostrophe doing hiding round the back?

Actually, it’s exactly where it’s supposed to be. Because we are talking about more than one shoe, whether two or a thousand shoes, we’ve added an “s” for plural. But the apostrophe for possession still has to appear – so it quietly attaches itself to the end of the word. Clear? I hope so!

If you learn nothing else from my little rant today, please just take away this one thing: the apostrophe is NEVER EVER used to denote plurals! Even if it appears to clarify your message, for example MOTs or DVDs – no, no, no! It’s just WRONG to add an apostrophe!

 

Apostrophe misuse

My urge to pee was as nothing compared to the insane urge to find chalk and correct the glaring errors on this simple sign!

Terrible Typos 1

Send me any typos you come across and I’ll add them to this list – always worth a look to make me smile! CVs, menus, websites … and click here to see some of the worst newspaper bloopers!

National Punctuation Day!

I am tickled to find there exists such a thing as “National Punctuation Day”! A competition is set to send in a short essay in three sentences, using all 13 of the following punctuation marks: apostrophe, brackets, colon, comma, dash, ellipsis, exclamation point, hyphen, parentheses, period, question mark, quotation mark, and semicolon. You may use a punctuation mark more than…

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