9 style tips for Christmas

On Christmas Eve, some watch for Santa. Others listen for reindeer. But copyeditors? They just keep looking for typos. In appreciation of this thankless task, we’ve put together an editorial style sheet full of jolly jargon and tinselly terms. So break out the wassail (hot mulled cider) and bûche de noël (an “edible yule log”) and start celebrating. Who knows? …

Feeding her nerdy soul through editing: Meet Molly Gamborg

Technical editing might not be for everybody, but it’s definitely a good fit for Molly Gamborg. The lifelong Los Angeles area resident and newest full-time Dragonfly wasn’t long out of college before she found the nuances of technical editing suited both her skill set and her personality. Born to edit Gamborg found her first job in editing a year after …

Twitter Hashtags for Writers

Erika in DC sends this handy list of 40 Twitter hashtags for writers, published on the blog DailyWritingTips. You can use these tags to search through the jungle of Twitter to find posts relevant to writing and editing. The authors note that “#amediting” is used to label posts about editing; “#amwriting” to label posts about writing. Many more are listed …

Write short; read quick

There’s a big difference between reading for information and reading for pleasure. Many writers don’t get that. When they’re encouraged to write short — to use plain words, tight sentences, brief paragraphs, bulleted lists — they don’t hear that you’re trying to enhance readability. They get a rushing in their ears and hear one (incorrect) message: “You’re trying to destroy …

Pumpkin Spice: Yea or Nay?

pumpkin spice latte in a latte on a table

It’s that time of year again. Pumpkin spice everything is everywhere — from lattes; to Oreos; to lotion. We asked our team of editors, designers, and writers their thoughts, and they didn’t disappoint! It turns out that 40% said “no hecking way” to pumpkin spice. Here’s what some had to add: “I was at a coffee shop one October afternoon …

Spooky Halloween Idioms

Happy Halloween! I’ve been writing about some spooky idioms over at Grammar Girl, and now’s the perfect time to share. Here are a few: 24 “Dead” Idioms Dead has been in the English language since the time of Beowulf. It’s also a very popular entry in the dictionary. In fact, the OED lists 31 distinct meanings for dead. It’s no …

5 tips from a proofreading pro

A few years ago, I heard Sarah Price talk about proofreading on Copyediting.com’s monthly audioconference. Sarah’s a freelance proofreader in the UK. She has taught proofreading to audiences as varied as the UK Parliament’s House of Lords and House of Commons, Wiley–Blackwell, and L’Oréal. Sarah told us that in the “good old days,” proofreaders worked on paper, using standard proofreading …

My Four Favorite Dictionaries

Dictionaries are for looking up the meaning of words, right? True. But there are other kinds of dictionaries that are just as valuable. Dictionaries that explain not just words, but whole concepts. Here are four of my favorites—ones that I use almost every week at work. The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Ever wondered why we say that a clean …

How to turn on Track Changes in Excel

Track Changes is a godsend for editors. It’s a feature in Microsoft Word that allows you to suggest changes within a document. An author can see what changes you suggest then accept or reject them. But editors don’t only edit in Word. Some also work in Excel spreadsheets. Track Changes is offered in Excel, but how do you turn it on? …

A poet with a penchant for crime dramas: Meet Lindsey Alexander

If Lindsey Alexander could be anything she wanted, she’d be an actor who plays a homicide detective. Not an actual homicide detective, mind you, but an actor who plays one on TV. “I couldn’t actually be a detective because any kind of gore, I couldn’t do, but I could play one,” she explained. And in fact, homicide detective is a …