Tag Archives: comma

Short Saturday: The Joy of Editing

I just sent back a first pass edit on a well-researched novel set in the Middle Ages. I can tell you this only because it rang true; the few facts I know about medieval life could dance on the head of a pin with room to spare for several angels. But I knew enough to […]

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Short Saturday: Rules You Can Forget

We’ve talked about “writing rules”* before. Some are inviolable, like No Double Spacing After a Period. Some have to be reconsidered, like my stance on the singular they. Some fall into gray areas depending on the audience you’re writing for or which side of the pond you live on. Me, I tend to err on […]

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Your Fifth-Grade Teacher Versus
… Well, Me

When I was a kid, some of my best friends were teachers. What grade was I in when my teacher read aloud to us every day after lunch? The Story of Doctor Doolittle (by Hugh Lofting, published 1920) influenced me in many more ways than just giving me a delight for books. Now that I’m […]

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Misery Loves Company: A Copyeditor’s Top 10

I was delighted when I happened upon this article about the ten most common errors this copyeditor (the author uses “a manuscript editor”) encounters—and she works on academic books. Oh, you mean this isn’t just my little problem? (Cue the hysterical laughter.) Or—put another way—now do you believe me? It would be good for you […]

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“Let Other Pens Dwell on Guilt and Misery”

A woman, especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can. —Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey (1817) A couple years ago it was big news: “Manuscripts Suggest Jane Austen Had a Great Editor” was the headline at NPR’s online archive of the story. “Everything came finished from her […]

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The Serial Comma Killer

Hey! It’s my birthday and I’m takin’ the day off! So here’s a little post from my editor friend Billie Brownell.* (And yes, kids, I, too, am a proponent of the Oxford comma. Long before the Chicago Manual of Style was even a gleam in my eye, there was Strunk and White, which also supports […]

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