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Copy Editing Copywriting Freelancing Proofreading

When does proofreading become copy editing, and editing copywriting?

All proofreaders have been asked to perform a quick proof, only to realise the job is more than correcting apostrophes. And all editors will have edited a job so much that a re-write would have been better. I’ve already covered the differences between proofreading and copy editing, but what happens in those grey areas? When […]

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Copy Editing Copywriting Proofreading Punctuation Spelling and Grammar

Colons and semicolons: how to use them

Colons and semicolons are easy to confuse, and in my work as a proofreader and editor I see them misused daily. I’ll just go through the uses of each here. Colon : The colon’s main job is to join a statement with supporting facts. What comes after the colon cannot usually stand on its own […]

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Copy Editing Copywriting Proofreading Typography

How to reduce word count (or letter count) in a document

A relatively common task assigned to copywriters and editors is reducing word count or letter count. The motivation is usually: aesthetic (making the copy fit on the page more pleasingly); restriction (where certain counts are mandatory or advisory, for example in tweets or meta descriptions, or perhaps to make sure a booklet is exactly 32 […]

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Copy Editing Copywriting Off-topic Typography

How to get a pound sign (£) and euro symbol (€) on a US keyboard

Thank you very much, Sainsbury’s UK, for selling me this HP keyboard. I guess I can’t complain about it being US configuration when there’s a massive “US” sticker on the box. And on the whole, it’s the same, except the @ and ” are swapped over. Oh, and there’s no pound sign on it. Even […]

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Copy Editing Copywriting Proofreading Punctuation Spelling and Grammar

Professional titles and positions – should they start with a capital letter?

People have always been flattered by having their positions start with a capital letter. It marks them out from their subordinates, and makes Persons look Very Important. Anyone from The Queen down to the Area Manager can access an exclusive capitalisation club that is ever out of bounds to the cleaners, sales assistants and copywriters […]

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Copy Editing Copywriting Proofreading Spelling and Grammar

Can you start a sentence with a conjunction?

“You must not start a sentence with a conjunction.” That has been the mantra of many an exasperated English teacher, especially since the oiks started getting state education. Any pupil brave, daft or naive enough to raise a hand and ask “Why?” would receive some explanation along the lines of “Because it is said.” So […]

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Copy Editing Copywriting Long Reads Proofreading Spelling and Grammar

Our changing language: are editors doomèd?

An article by David Shariatmadari in the Guardian has inspired a bit of a buzz these past few days. It’s about the mutability of language, and how the quest for perfect English is a forlorn one. Read “Why it’s time to stop worrying about the decline of the English language” here (it’ll only take about […]

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Copy Editing Copywriting Proofreading Spelling and Grammar

Using “a” or “an” before an abbreviation

Should we say “an NHS doctor” or “a NHS doctor”? There are two schools of thought on this subject: “vocalisation of the abbreviation” and “vocalisation of the first word”. Abbreviation verbalised By this rule, if the abbreviation starts with a letter that starts with a vowel when vocalised, the article used is “an”; if it […]

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Copy Editing Copywriting Digital Marketing Long Reads

Which ranking factors are affected by copywriting?

Because everybody wants their website to rank highly on Google, the SEO industry is now as important to companies as traditional marketing and PR always were. The boundaries are so blurred that most companies in one of these sectors usually seek to have expertise in the other two. To rank highly is to appear on […]

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Copy Editing Copywriting Spelling and Grammar

Companies, teams and organisations: singular or plural?

A subject that never goes away is whether organisations should be treated as singulars or plurals. That is, whether we should say: Tesco is the UK’s largest retail company or Tesco are the UK’s largest retail company In this example, it seems pretty straightforward. The first reads more naturally and makes more sense. There’s no […]