Three little articles (the, a, an)

They’ll blow your text down… I’m dedicating this post to the definite and indefinite articles because I frequently see them misused. Such tiny little words and yet they hold meaning which can give readers incorrect information and lead to misunderstanding. Incorrect use of articles also makes writing incorrect grammatically and, as editors, we can’t allow … Read more

Common Corrections in Editing Practice

… or how to improve your writing Agreement As the word suggests, agreement is about how words relate to one another. Different parts of a sentence must concur. It’s also known as concord: verbs must agree with subjects and pronouns with antecedents (Liz/she or Liz/her). Tenses must be harmonious. Here is an example that is … Read more

Gender neutrality in writing: he, she or they

What is gender neutrality? Gender neutrality, broadly speaking, refers to practices that do not make a distinction between gender roles. The reason underlying this is to prevent potential discrimination or possibly unintentional exclusion. We are all familiar with traditional social conventions about how women behave or what is expected of men, for example. Gender neutrality … Read more

Plain language in writing: practical, positive preferred.

“Plain words are eternally fresh and fit…capable of great power and dignity.” Bryan Garner, plain language expert. What is plain language? Plain language in writing means that the reader can understand what they have read the first time they read it. This also means they can read it easily. In addition, plain language in writing … Read more

Punctuation: The rules of language that keep us on track

Why is punctuation important? Proper punctuation conveys a clear message that is easily understood. Using punctuation correctly in writing is like obeying road traffic signs when driving. It keeps us safe – safe from misunderstanding and incorrect meaning. Accidents in writing, because of misplaced commas or incorrectly used full stops, for example, can be almost … Read more

Editors use grammar that is current and clear

Effective editors appreciate good grammar (and avoid unnecessary alliteration, among other things)   Grammar convention must be current Because language changes over time, our writing needs to reflect this. We often associate grammar with English teachers and authors, but editors and proofreaders also have the skill to identify problems in sentence construction or ways to … Read more