Writers Need Editors Because …

Here at AES, we read a lot of published books (both printed and electronic). And we find lots of errors. This is especially true for self-published works. The question is why?

Red_Pencil

Here are some thoughts. First, the writer introduced the errors—that’s likely because the writer was more interested in telling the story (fiction or non-fiction). And second, the editor(s) didn’t catch the errors. Again, why? There are a number of possible answers. One might involve a large workload an editor is carrying, so he or she skims rather than proofreads. Another might be that different editors employ different sets of “rules”. Yet another reason might be that only one set of eyes actually checked the work. Stealing from the old adage that “two heads are better than one”, two sets of eyes are better than one.

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Misused Conjunction

Misused_Conjunction

A very common mistake, which has been around for a long time, is the word that should follow the verb try. Example of incorrect usage: One should try and write better. The word try requires a preposition, not a conjunction. (A conjunction literally joins two equivalent or related words, phrases, clauses or sentences.) The sentence shown implies two actions: 1) One should try AND 2) One should write better. This is probably not the intent of the writer. The corrected sentence reads: One should try to write better.

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Writing Numbers

numbers3

There are some interesting rules about how to write numbers in your text. You’d think that the easiest and clearest thing would be to write numbers as numerals (e.g., 3, 7, 12). Yet, there are so many places where it really doesn’t work, as you will see in this post.

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Nouns and Pronouns

Nouns-pronounsYou’d think that nouns and pronouns would be easy because we use them every day. But proper word usage often trips people up.

Masculine, Feminine and Neutral NOUNS

The “women’s liberation” movement has forced a change in certain nouns, many of them ending in -man (eg, chairman). This sometimes works well and can be an appropriate change for equality, but sometimes it’s just clumsy and is done for effect rather than for effectiveness. For example, changing chairman to chairperson seems to work well, as do salesman to salesperson and spokesman to spokesperson, even with the extra syllable. However, what happens to mailman? It becomes mailperson (awful) or mail carrier (better, but longer). Read more ›

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