This handbook is addressed to new and aspiring copyeditors who will be working on nonfiction books, journal articles, newsletters, and corporate publications. Many of the topics will also be of interest to copyeditors working for newspapers and magazines, although I do not discuss the editorial conventions peculiar to journalism.
One of the first things a new copyeditor learns is that there are two generalpurpose style manuals (The Chicago Manual of Style and Words into Type), two widely used scientific style manuals (Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association and Scientific Style and Format: The CBE Manual), and a variety of specialized style manuals. (All the manuals are discussed in chapter 3.) This guide is intended as a supplement to, not a substitute for, an editorial style manual.
Given that the shortest of the major style manuals is some 360 pages and the longest is roughly 960, you might wonder why a copyeditor would need this handbook in addition. One reason is that although all the manuals are filled with rules, preferences, exceptions, and examples, they assume that their readers already understand what copyeditors do, why the rules matter, and how and when to apply, bend, or break the rules. Second, because the manuals are addressed to both copyeditors and authors, they do not discuss the procedures peculiar to copyediting, nor the kinds of minute-by-minute decisions that copyeditors make.
Here's an example. Sometime in the early 1980s I was working on a manuscript that called for the plural form of the computer device mouse. At the time, the mouse was not yet a household item, and I couldn't recall having