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Copyediting tips

After sharing this tip with two people in two days, I realized it’s time to share this tip on the blog.

For all your copyediting needs, join the Copyediting-L discussion list.

This great list can help you out of struggles with convoluted sentences, elusive words, ghastly syntax, and so on. For the writer struggling alone (truly alone, or with no other grammar help in sight), this group becomes the helpful colleagues who are only an email away.

There is a high volume of mail, so you might want to consider subscribing to a digest format or no mails at all. All mails are archived on a Web site where you can browse to your heart’s content after you are signed up to the group.

There are various rules and guidelines, but I find them to be very sensible. Before you begin, read through the information about the list, as well as several of the links provided there. That should help you decide whether this is a list for you.

While we’re on the topic of editing in general, I have a few other links I’d like to share. I have them listed on, but I would like to emphasize them here.

  • The online version of the Chicago Manual of Style. I have the book version as well, but searching online is so much easier for me. It requires an annual subscription, but it is definitely worth it.
  • The OWL at Purdue. You could begin with the page about proofreading strategies. This is a wonderful resource from Purdue University in Indiana about writing, grammar, styles, and much more.
  • The Slot. This is a witty, sometimes acerbic, and very insightful Web site about copyediting by Bill Walsh. He also has a blog.
  • The Technical Editor’s Eyrie by Jean Weber. “Resources for technical editors” as it says on her Web site.
  • The Electric Editors, the “Internet community for editors, proofreaders, indexers, translators and publishers”.

If you join the Copyediting-L discussion list, you will find many other resources just from the signatures of the many members. No longer will you have to struggle with that recalcitrant sentence on your own!