The Copyeditor's Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communication

By Amy Einsohn | Go to book overview

15
Beyond Grammar

There is no easy way to catalog all the types of structural, conceptual, and stylistic problems a copyeditor encounters. In this chapter, we'll look at how copyeditors handle common problems in four broad areas: organization, expository style, bias-free language, and publishing law.


ORGANIZATION

The overall structure of a piece (whether a report, an article, or a book) is dictated by its central purpose. As you read a manuscript, be sure you can discern the structure of the entire piece and each major section of the text. Look at the table of contents and the opening and closing paragraphs of each chapter (for a book), the headings and subheadings (for an article), or the opening sentences of each paragraph (for a short essay). Copyeditors are usually instructed not to fix large-scale structural deviations—doubling back, omissions—but are expected to bring them to the author's attention. Easily repaired minor structural errors should be corrected and flagged for the author's attention.


FORMS OF ORGANIZATION

Alphabetical order is useful for directories, inventories, glossaries, and catalogs. Note, however, that if the work is to be translated into another language, the alphabetized elements—with the exception of personal names—will have to be reordered. For example, the alphabetical sequence “England, France,

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The Copyeditor's Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communication
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Part 1 - The Abcs of Copyediting 1
  • 1 - What Copyeditors Do 3
  • 2 - Basic Procedures 29
  • 3 - Reference Books and Resources 57
  • Part 2 - Editorial Style 69
  • 4 - Punctuation 71
  • 5 - Spelling and Hyphenation 121
  • 6 - Capitalization 151
  • 7 - Numbers and Numerals 171
  • 8 - Quotations 196
  • 9 - Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Symbols 216
  • 10 - Tables, Graphs, and Art 242
  • 11 - References 274
  • 12 - Front and Back Matter 297
  • 13 - Typecoding 309
  • Part 3 - Language Editing 333
  • 14 - Grammar: Principles and Pitfalls 335
  • 15 - Beyond Grammar 377
  • Checklist of Editorial Preferences 421
  • Glossary of Copyediting Terms 431
  • Glossary of Grammar Terms 447
  • Answer Keys 457
  • Selected Bibliography 527
  • Index 531
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