It’s not always easy being a word nerd

a blue and green sticker that says "word nerd"

There’s a lot to love about being an editor. A co-worker recently described editing as a big seek-and-find puzzle, with every found typo or syntax error a small, exciting victory. I would agree, though the job, like most, is not without its hazards. My sister, a nurse, is our go-to source for “Does this need stitches?” questions. And my nephew, …

Dragonfly’s guide to proofreading marks

When you’re immersed in a proofread, it’s easy to forget about all of the different kinds of proofreading marks you can use. Here’s a quick guide to what all of them mean. You can download the PDF file here. This post is part of a series featuring Dragonfly field guides, tips, and tricks. You can download the PDF file here. …

What to do when you bite off more than you can chew

You agreed to take the project a month ago. It was delayed, but you consented to the new timeline, even though it pushes into a weekend. When the file arrives, that weekend turns out to be possessed by demons intent on your undoing. Your car has been doing this funny lurching thing for a while now, and it quits on …

Kari Shafenberg: Making a difference behind the scenes

Woman with medium brown hair and man with glasses standing in front of a concert stage

If there’s one thing Kari Shafenberg has learned in her professional life, it’s to embrace her invisibility. By day, Kari is an associate registrar for the University of Colorado Denver and the Anschutz Medical Campus. When she can carve out some free time, she also edits for Dragonfly. And though they might not seem to have much in common, both …

That time Magi and I had a fight …

Some of you may know that I occasionally write for Grammar Girl. So naturally, the one time Magi, our Editorial Manager, and I had an argument, I decided to make it the subject of one of my posts. Here it is: Say your piece (or hold your peace) Enjoy! This post was written by Samantha Enslen, President of Dragonfly Editorial.

Measuring readability using Microsoft Word

Readable content is clear and easy to understand. The Flesch-Kincaid meter meaures the readability of a document and assigns it a grade level score. The lower the grade level, the easier it is to read. You can get a Flesch-Kincaid score for any document, directly in Microsoft Word. Here’s how to do it. You can download the PDF file here.   …

Powerful words are music to Cynthia Smith’s ears

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Cynthia Smith has yet to meet a keyboard she can’t master. Though her initial plan was to become a concert pianist, these days she’s a writer, creating compositions on an entirely different kind of keyboard for Dragonfly and her own freelance clients. The Cincinnati-based wordsmith started with Dragonfly two years ago after an acquaintance introduced her to President Samantha Enslen …

Field Guide to Concise Language

In the quest for clear writing, clunky phrases are like a field of poppies—slowing your readers down and putting them to sleep. Some of these phrases are redundant, some are jargony, and some are needlessly formal. To streamline your writing and enhance readability, prune these phrases ruthlessly. You can download the PDF file here. 12:00 noon noon 6-month period 6 …

Lead Editor Checklist

When we’re editing big documents with small deadlines, we often use a team of editors to divide and conquer the many pages that need to be reviewed. To keep those editors working in sync, we assign a lead editor. He or she is responsible for overseeing the team and ensuring that a quality product is delivered to our customer on …

Editing Myth: over vs. more than

painting of a woman sitting between a snake and a wolf with another woman behind the snake

  I always get a good response to the Myths of Editing posts. This week, I’m hitting another myth: insisting on a distinction between over and more than.   The myth Over should never be used to denote a greater numerical value. Instead, you should use more than. Sample sentence: We’ve been in business over 10 years. Knee-jerk editorial fix: We’ve been in business more than 10 years. The reality Over and more than can …