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					Title:
Copy Editing

Word Count:
565

Summary:
Copy editing is a most important an
d time-consuming task for those inv
olved in the field. It requires the
 sensitive editorial handling of pr
int material of every kind. And it
requires the editor’s close attenti
on to a document’s every detail, it
s format, and all of its elements;
a thorough knowledge of what to loo
k for and of the style to be follow
ed as desired by the author or clie
nt; and the ability to make quick,
logical, objective, justifiable, an
d defensible decisions in...


Keywords:
copy editing, executive resume


Article Body:
Copy editing is a most important an
d time-consuming task for those inv
olved in the field. It requires the
 sensitive editorial handling of pr
int material of every kind. And it
requires the editor’s close attenti
on to a document’s every detail, it
s format, and all of its elements;
a thorough knowledge of what to loo
k for and of the style to be follow
ed as desired by the author or clie
nt; and the ability to make quick,
logical, objective, justifiable, an
d defensible decisions in the corre
ction of spelling, grammar, punctua
tion, terminology, sentence structu
re, clarity, conciseness, tone and
voice, inconsistencies, and typogra
phical errors. Valued editors are t
hose 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 tho
roughly familiar with and comfortab
le applying the universally accepte
d editorial and typographic marks a
nd symbols—as described in the Chic
ago Manual of Style and summarized
under proofreader’s marks in Merria
m-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary,
11th edition—that are commonly unde
rstood by compositors working in En
glish.

The editorial function comprises tw
o processes: mechanical editing and
 substantive editing. Mechanical ed
iting involves a close reading, wit
h an eye on consistency of capitali
zation, spelling, and hyphenation a
nd other end-of-line word breaks; a
greement between verbs and subjects
; scores of other matters of syntax
; punctuation; beginning and ending
 quotation marks and parentheses; n
umber of ellipsis points; numbers g
iven either as figures or as words;
 and hundreds of other, similar det
ails of grammatical, editorial, and
 typographic style.

In addition to regularizing those d
etails of style, the copy editor is
 expected to catch infelicities of
expression that mar an author’s pro
se and impede communication. Such m
atters include but are by no means
limited to dangling participles, mi
splaced modifiers, mixed metaphors,
 unclear antecedents, unintentional
 redundancies, faulty attempts at p
arallel construction, mistaken junc
tion, overuse of an author’s pet wo
rd or phrase, unintentional repetit
ion of words, race or gender or geo
graphic bias, and hyphenating in th
e predicate, unless, of course, the
 hyphenated term is an entry in the
 dictionary and therefore permanent
ly 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 sugges
ting more-effective ways to present
 material.

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

o Experienced editors recognize and
 do not tamper with an author’s unu
sual 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 rep
roduction of the author’s manuscrip
t.
o They silently correct inconsisten
cies, misusages, and misspellings s
olely for the purpose of clarifying
 the unclear.

o They know when to go ahead and ma
ke an editorial change or simply su
ggest it to the author.

o They know when to delete a repeti
tion, when to change it for variati
on, 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 soun
d stupid, naive, or pedantic or tha
t seem to reflect upon an author’s
scholarly ability or powers of inte
rpretation.

* Adapted from the Chicago Manual of
 Style

				
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posted:12/5/2010
language:English
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