Monday, February 4, 2008

Writing for Grammar: Editing A to C

In the editing world, sans serif is not a holiday resort and curly quotes aren't a cheese snack.

Copyediting (or copy editing) is the work that an editor does to improve a manuscript or a report or a proposal. Here we reveal some of the jargon of the copyediting trade: terms and abbreviations used by editors in their efforts to produce copy that is clear and correct.

When do writers need to understand these terms? When they have the privilege of working with a conscientious copy editor, or working as a conscientious copy editor.

Both are fun.

Short for author's alteration, indicating changes made by an author on a set of proofs.

White space on a printed page.

Name of the & character.

angle brackets
Name of the <> characters.

CP style
Editing conventions recommended by The Canadian Press Stylebook (usually called the CP Stylebook) and The Canadian Press Caps and Spellingthe primary style and usage guide for most newspapers and magazines.

Short for apostrophe.

Illustration(s) (maps, graphs, photographs, drawings) in a text.

back matter
Material at the end of manuscript or book: appendixes, endnotes, glossary, bibliography, index.

Name of the \ character.

bastard title
Usually the first page of a book, which includes only the main title, not the subtitle or author's name. Also called false title.

block quote
Quited passage set off from the running text without quotation marks. Also called extract.

Text that is reused without changes in multiple documents.

Type that is framed in a border to give it prominence.

Name of the [ and ] characters.

Circle or box on a hard copy in which an editor writes a query or comment.

Note on hard copy to indicate the placement of art or to signal a cross-reference.


An individual letter, number, or symbol.

Chicago style
Editing conventions recommended by The Chicago Manual of Style--the style guide used by some social science publications and most historical journals.

clean up
Incorporating an author's responses to the copyediting into the final hard copy or computer file.

close paren
Name of the ) character.

content edit
An edit of a manuscript that checks for organization, continuity, and content.

copy block
A sequence of lines of type treated as a single element in design or page makeup.

copy edit
To prepare a document for presentation in a printed form. The term copy edit is used to describe the kind of editing in which errors of style, grammar, word usage, and punctuation are corrected. The spelling copyedit is often used in magazine and book publishing.

copy editor
A person who edits a manuscript. The spelling “copyeditor” is often used in magazine and book publishing.

Calculating how much space a text will need when typeset, or how much copy will be needed to fill a space.

An error, usually a printer's error, discovered too late to be corrected in a document and included in a separately printed list. Also called addendum.

credit line
Statement that identifies the source of an illustration.

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