The Editorial Apartment

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How to save a long sentence

longsentencegirlSome sentences are so long that as your reading, you get lost midway and your eyes have to jump back to the beginning of the sentence, wherever it was. Better to rewrite a long sentence into smaller bites of course.

But why did you get lost? It may be because the verb was too far away from the subject. Put them closer together and you could save the sentence. (There’s nothing wrong with an occasional long sentence.) This article on, a communications publisher, explains the trick.

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Fun infographics

I like a good infographic, and this is an interesting one about the satiety of food (by Column Five for Massive Health). This type of project would be a joy to research, write, edit and proofread, as well as design.


The piece seems suitably researched, but keep in mind that infographics simplify things on purpose to a certain extent. I always look to see if good sources were used, if the data is accurately represented, etc., some of the things I’d double-check as an editor. (Just look at the examples The Guardian gives here of some particularly bad infographics.)

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Three characteristics of a good copy editor or proofreader

Neatness. Your marks are clean and easy to follow, your writing easy to read.

Attention to detail. You naturally notice everything to do with the copy, including spacing, breaking and format, plus the white space and graphics around it.

Confidence. You mark in pen (or even only in pen), rarely in pencil.

As for the text itself, a good editor/proofreader also knows when to query something; when a change might be too drastic, and if it is, to insert a note or query next to it; and the difference between a fair change versus an unfair change, i.e., one that is just based on your personal preference.