Blog: Proofreading matters

Tips for writers: Knowing when to use colons

There are many who consider the colon and semi-colon to be identical punctuation stop marks and use both without discrimination, while others have a strong preference for one mark and have little use for the other. Here I am going to concentrate solely on the use of colons. The colon is described in the New … Continue reading Tips for writers: Knowing when to use colons

Confused words: D to F

During proofreading I frequently come across the same words that have been confused time and again. I have already discussed words beginning A to C, now I will continue with words beginning with the letters D to F. Deduce / deduct To “deduce” something is to come to a logical conclusion or result, such as … Continue reading Confused words: D to F

Polari – still a secret language?

I first became aware of Polari from the 1960s BBC radio show Round the Horne starring Kenneth Horne. Camp Polari-speaking characters Julian (Jules) and Sandy were played by Hugh Paddick and Kenneth Williams and popularized the use of Polari. It has fascinated me since then. What is Polari? Polari (or alternatively Parlare, Parlary, Palare, Palarie, … Continue reading Polari – still a secret language?

Tips for writers: The difference between abbreviations, contractions, and acronyms

Abbreviations, contractions, and acronyms are ways of shortening a word or phrase but sometimes can be confusing for a novice writer. I will take each one briefly in turn. Abbreviations Abbreviations are defined by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) as “a shortened form of a word or phrase”. These are often formed by omitting the … Continue reading Tips for writers: The difference between abbreviations, contractions, and acronyms

Proofreading myths exposed

There are some myths about proofreading that are untrue and need exposing and refuting. Myth: Proofreading is the same as editing, right? Truth: No, they are two distinct roles. Editors review a piece of writing when it is at the draft stage, with the intention of improving the flow and readability. An editor may even … Continue reading Proofreading myths exposed

Confused words: A to C

During proofreading I frequently come across some words that have been confused time and again. This is the first part of an occasional series looking at a few examples and I will start alphabetically with words beginning A to C. Affect / effect “Affect” as a verb means to alter or influence, while “effect” as … Continue reading Confused words: A to C

Celebrity quotations on whisky

In praise of whisky / whiskey I am rather partial to a drop of whisky now and again (whiskey if you are Irish or American) and I am not alone in enjoying some “liquid sunshine”. Some kindred spirits offer their thoughts. “I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.” (Last words of Humphrey Bogart, … Continue reading Celebrity quotations on whisky

Plurals of nouns: Some exceptional cases

You might think that it is a relatively easy matter of adding an ‘s’ to a noun in order to pluralize it, for example adding s to cat to form cats. However, in some cases this is not so. Here are a few examples. These apply to British English and terms in the Oxford Dictionary … Continue reading Plurals of nouns: Some exceptional cases

Ten tips for getting the most out of your proofreader

The following tips for getting the most out of your freelance proofreader are based on those suggested on the website of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP), with a few my suggestions included. The tips are presented from the viewpoint of the freelance proofreader to make the proofread as smooth and efficient as possible. … Continue reading Ten tips for getting the most out of your proofreader

Gravestone epitaphs: Poets and writers

I have often found the epitaphs on gravestones and tombs that go beyond the simple details of name, life span, and relationships more interesting, and sometimes poignant, when they cover details of their life and fame. Following are some of those for poets and writers. Joseph Conrad (Canterbury, England) Sleep after toyle, port after stormie … Continue reading Gravestone epitaphs: Poets and writers