copy-editing grammar house style proofreading punctuation spellings writing

What is the difference between copyediting and proofreading?

The difference between copyediting and proofreading: in many instances people will seek out proofreaders, while expecting copyediting skills. Often, people are not aware of the differences between the two disciplines. Some even assume they are the same thing. However, they are not the same. What is proofreading? A proofreader’s job is to read through the […]

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Students: How a proofreader can help you with your essay

Not all students are blessed with a command of perfect or exceptional English. Many international students, for whom English is a second (or perhaps even third) language find it difficult to express themselves in writing when compiling essays or other written documents. A proofreader like myself can help by correcting spelling, punctuation, and grammar, and […]


Words that once meant something different

Words are constantly changing meaning, usually over long periods of time. We all learn to cope with it as words change meaning as long as words have existed. Some words that used to mean something very different are discussed below. Awful: Awful used to be “worthy of awe”, but now means something dreadful or bad. Bachelor: […]


Origins of phrases 1: Music

“As fit as a fiddle” ‘Fiddle’ here is the colloquial name for a violin. ‘Fit’ didn’t originally mean healthy, in the sense it is nowadays often used to describe the gym-goers but was used to mean ‘suitable’ or ‘seemly’, similar to the way we now might say ‘fit for purpose’. “It ain’t over till the […]

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How NOT to write a novel – from an established author

Writing a novel is not easy and there is no guarantee of being published or of being a success. Fay Weldon gives some tips.

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The cost of not proofreading can be great

In a previous blog on my website I stated that it can be costly not to proofread you publication. Well, here a few examples of other people’s losses and misfortunes due to failing to proofread. Case A I’ll tell you a story about how not proofreading cost thousands of dollars. This person, let us call […]

British English language proofreading US English

Confused words: N to Q

During proofreading I frequently come across the same words that have been confused time and again. I have already discussed words beginning A to M, now I will continue with words beginning with the letters N to Q. naught / nought Nought is used in British English for the digit zero and is also used […]

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Is the double negative a definite no-no?

The Oxford Dictionary of English says a double negative “is a negative statement containing two negative elements (for example he didn’t say nothing)” and “a positive statement in which two negative elements are used to produce the positive force, usually for some rhetorical effect, for example there is not nothing to worry about!” It is […]

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Doublespeak is language that disguises or distorts the meaning of words deliberately and can often involve a degree of ambiguity. Doublespeak may use euphemisms (that is, indirect expressions used in place of words judged too harsh or blunt when referring to something embarrassing or unpleasant – for example, “downsizing” for laying off employees, “cleansing” for […]

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House style – Part 2

In part 1 I considered why a house style is necessary for a business – for reasons of consistency, brand identity, and economy. Here I will cover a few areas that should be considered based on UK English usage Writing a house style • Abbreviations, acronyms, and contractions: A common style for abbreviations is capital […]