Copy_Editing

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					Copy Editing

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565

Summary:
Copy editing is a most important and time-consuming task for those
involved in the field. It requires the sensitive editorial handling of
print material of every kind. And it requires the editor’s close
attention to a document’s every detail, its format, and all of its
elements; a thorough knowledge of what to look for and of the style to be
followed as desired by the author or client; and the ability to make
quick, logical, objective, justifiable, and defensible decisions in...


Keywords:
copy editing, executive resume


Article Body:
Copy editing is a most important and time-consuming task for those
involved in the field. It requires the sensitive editorial handling of
print material of every kind. And it requires the editor’s close
attention to a document’s every detail, its format, and all of its
elements; a thorough knowledge of what to look for and of the style to be
followed as desired by the author or client; and the ability to make
quick, logical, objective, justifiable, and defensible decisions in the
correction of spelling, grammar, punctuation, terminology, sentence
structure, clarity, conciseness, tone and voice, inconsistencies, and
typographical errors. Valued editors are those who know editorial and
factual things that others don’t know and who offer keen understanding of
an author’s need to advance communication.

To begin with, copy editors are thoroughly familiar with and comfortable
applying the universally accepted editorial and typographic marks and
symbols—as described in the Chicago Manual of Style and summarized under
proofreader’s marks in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th
edition—that are commonly understood by compositors working in English.

The editorial function comprises two processes: mechanical editing and
substantive editing. Mechanical editing involves a close reading, with an
eye on consistency of capitalization, spelling, and hyphenation and other
end-of-line word breaks; agreement between verbs and subjects; scores of
other matters of syntax; punctuation; beginning and ending quotation
marks and parentheses; number of ellipsis points; numbers given either as
figures or as words; and hundreds of other, similar details of
grammatical, editorial, and typographic style.

In addition to regularizing those details of style, the copy editor is
expected to catch infelicities of expression that mar an author’s prose
and impede communication. Such matters include but are by no means
limited to dangling participles, misplaced modifiers, mixed metaphors,
unclear antecedents, unintentional redundancies, faulty attempts at
parallel construction, mistaken junction, overuse of an author’s pet word
or phrase, unintentional repetition of words, race or gender or
geographic bias, and hyphenating in the predicate, unless, of course, the
hyphenated term is an entry in the dictionary and therefore permanently
hyphenated in every grammatical case. Job seekers, especially, need to
attend to such details in their executive résumé.

The second, nonmechanical, process—called substantive editing—involves
rewriting, reorganizing, or suggesting more-effective ways to present
material.

o Editors identify by instinct and learn from their experience how much
of this kind of editing to do on a particular document.

o Experienced editors recognize and do not tamper with an author’s
unusual figures of speech or idiomatic usage that is pertinent to a work.

o They preserve the author’s voice with a view toward the faithful
reproduction of the author’s manuscript.

o They silently correct inconsistencies, misusages, and misspellings
solely for the purpose of clarifying the unclear.

o They know when to go ahead and make an editorial change or simply
suggest it to the author.

o They know when to delete a repetition, when to change it for variation,
and when to merely point it out to the author or to job seeker on an
executive résumé.

o They respect an author’s right to expect conscientious, intelligent
editorial help.

o They never make queries that sound stupid, naive, or pedantic or that
seem to reflect upon an author’s scholarly ability or powers of
interpretation.

* Adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style

				
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posted:2/28/2010
language:English
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