Compound words often have me reaching for the dictionary to confirm I’ve spelled them correctly. The Chicago Manual of Style confirms that compound spellings are indeed the most common spelling questions for writers and editors. Is the compound in question two words, hyphenated, or closed up as a single word? Non member, non-member, or nonmember? Complicating matters is that the answer can be different depending on whether you’re using Canadian or American spelling. (Chicago specifies nonmember, but the Canadian Oxford Dictionary lists non-member.)
What about those commonly used compounds made with e for electronic? Canadian Press specifies the following spellings:
- ebook (COD lists e-book)
From this list, it’s obvious that the most common words — ebook and email — have, through common usage, become acceptable as closed compounds. With time, the other words will probably become closed as well.
Chicago, a more literary style guide, recommends that hyphens be used with e compounds.
As always, choosing a style and using it consistently is the important thing.
From shepherding a project to completion to identifying nitty-gritty mistakes in grammar, there are several types of editing that improve text — not to mention a myriad of additional operations such as rewriting, electronic coding, fact checking, indexing, obtaining permissions, etc.
Copy editing is the last type of editing that a text undergoes. When a text gets to the copy editing stage, it’s getting ready for its close-up.
In the EAC‘s Standard Freelance Editorial Agreement, the definition of copy editing includes the following:
- editing for grammar, usage, spelling, punctuation, and other mechanics of style
- checking for consistency of mechanics and for internal consistency of facts
- inserting head levels and approximate placement of art
- editing tables, figures, and lists
- notifying the designer of any unusual production requirements
Editing for “mechanics of style” means ensuring the text follows the appointed style guide, such as Canadian Press or Chicago.
Depending on the needs of the text, the contract could be enhanced to include more tasks, such as Canadianizing, metrication, index editing, or providing a system of citation.
That long reference list you wrote to CSE specs? Give your eyes a break, and let a copy editor check it.
I learned a few things today.
First, I found myself looking up influential. I thought it might have been influencial because that’s how it appeared in an article I was reading. But no, influential it is.
Second, the difference between brought and taken was brought (heh) to my attention. I was perusing the website of The Canadian Press, where the following question was posed: Is an accident victim brought or taken to the hospital?
The Canadian Oxford offers these definitions:
bring: come carrying or leading something or accompanying someone
take: gather into one’s hands or possession
So the victim was taken to the hospital by paramedics, but paramedics brought the victim to the hospital via ambulance.
A subtle difference, which I was heretofore unaware of.
An EAC discussion board on LinkedIn dealt with another point of usage. An editor noted the incorrect use of need when what is meant is should or ought. As someone searching for work, I need to network more — not so much: I should network more.
Finally, I attended a business seminar sponsored by the city. It wasn’t particularly helpful to me, but the speaker urged us to be “congruent” with our clients, to learn to negotiate, and to communicate the value that we will add to the business of our clients. We
need to should keep in mind that situations can be negotiated to be win-win-win; that is, a win for us, for our clients, and for the customers of our clients. How to do this? Creativity, of course. Know what you need but be flexible and open to new ways of doing business.
Filed under spelling, usage