What is the difference between copyediting and proofreading?

Posted on 23 Mar 202123 Mar 2021Categories copy-editing, grammar, house style, proofreading, punctuation, spellings, writing

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 content of a document or publication to correct any spelling, punctuation, grammar and word usage errors in the final copy. While a proofreader needs a … Continue reading “What is the difference between copyediting and proofreading?”

Students: How a proofreader can help you with your essay

Posted on 7 Jan 20217 Jan 2021Categories British English, grammar, proofreading, punctuation, spellings, US English, writingTags , , , , , , , , ,

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 point out other errors such as inconsistencies in or the complete absence of references. Students may have difficulty in various language areas, such as: knowing … Continue reading “Students: How a proofreader can help you with your essay”

How NOT to write a novel – from an established author

Posted on 28 Aug 202023 Apr 2021Categories authorship, readership, tips for writers, writingTags , , , ,

Many months ago (in 2019) I read an interesting article by Fay Weldon in a Sunday magazine. She is the author of Life and Loves of a She-Devil that was also turned into an excellent TV series some years ago. In it she imparted her wisdom from writing experience on what errors are made by a would-be author in producing a novel. To summarize: one or more of the following 10 key weaknesses is why no one will publish a … Continue reading “How NOT to write a novel – from an established author”

Is the double negative a definite no-no?

Posted on 22 May 202023 Apr 2021Categories grammar, language, writingTags , , , , ,

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 rather like in mathematics where multiplying two negative values together make a positive one. Two negative elements can be used to produce a positive one. … Continue reading “Is the double negative a definite no-no?”


Posted on 29 Apr 202023 Apr 2021Categories euphemisms, language, writingTags , , , , , , , , , , ,

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 bombing). It is primarily meant to make the truth sound more palatable. It may also refer to intentional ambiguity in language or to actual inversions … Continue reading “Doublespeak”

House style – Part 2

Posted on 19 Mar 202023 Apr 2021Categories authorship, grammar, house style, punctuation, quotations, spellings, tips for writers, titles, US English, use of capital letters, writingTags , , , , , , , , , ,

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 initials without full stops, for example BA and BBC. Full stops are often retained for lower case abbreviations such as e.g., etc., and i.e., although … Continue reading “House style – Part 2”

Developing a house style

Posted on 13 Feb 202023 Apr 2021Categories authorship, capitalization, editing, grammar, punctuation, spellings, tips for writers, writingTags , , , , , , ,

Why you need a “house” style By “house” style I mean a writing or editorial style that a company or organization will aim to apply to all the documents and communications it produces. The same can perhaps apply to an individual author who is writing a series of books, guides, or articles. The main reasons why they would want one is for: Consistency – to ensure that all their written output is presented in the same way, for example spelling, … Continue reading “Developing a house style”

The decline of the apostrophe

Posted on 16 Jan 202025 Apr 2021Categories proofreading, punctuation, writingTags , , , ,

John Richards, a former journalist, started the Apostrophe Protection Society in 2001 after his retirement, with the aim of preserving the correct use of this much-abused punctuation mark in written English. However, he announced in November 2019 that he would close the Society because of firstly, his age (he is 96 after all) and secondly, few people or organizations seems to care about its (not it’s) correct usage. Apparently, laziness and ignorance have won the day.

5 key steps for writing perfect emails

Posted on 30 Dec 201923 Apr 2021Categories editing, proofreading, tips for writers, typographical errors, writingTags , , ,

Today life is a bit of a rush, especially on the work front and mistakes are understandable but a hazard. Failure to check your work and proofread your business emails can result in all sorts of problems, and errors in emails can make your communications appear unprofessional and careless. But there are steps that you can take to proofread your emails more effectively. Some of the best ways to keep errors out of your online communications are as follows.

Codes and ciphers

Posted on 26 Sep 201923 Apr 2021Categories writingTags , , , , , , , , ,

Many would consider that “code” and “cipher/cypher”  mean the same. The Oxford English Dictionary describes them as: code (noun): “a system of words, letters, figures or symbols used to represent others, especially for the purposes of secrecy”. cipher (variant cypher) (noun): “a secret or disguised way of writing: a code; … something written in code; …a key to a code”. The distinction Contrary to what the layperson perceives, a code is where each word in a message is replaced with … Continue reading “Codes and ciphers”