TEC Blog

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What’s the Matter with ibid.?

Editing / Style

The Latin word ibidem, better known these days by its short form ibid. , is one of the technical tools of academic writing and editing. Literally meaning "in the same place," it's used in footnotes and endnotes to mean that a note refers to the same source as the previous note. This little bit of Latin has long been a way of inducting a writer (in high school...

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3 Things I Learned about the Art of Editing a Comic

Editing New Media

Behind every delicious comic is a very sharp-eyed editor. Or at least I'd like to think so! I'm mostly a comic writer/illustrator, but over time I learned how to be a comic editor as well. As an editor, I learned that comic editing is a very finicky business. I've been sharing some of my comic-making conundrums with the staff at The Editing Company as I put together...

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3 (More) Ways to Avoid Repetition in Writing

Writing

  One of our more popular blogs is 3 Ways to Avoid Repetition in Writing, in which I discus how repetition in writing can disengage your reader from the flow of your work. In this follow-up blog, I add three more strategies for avoiding repetitive words and phrases that can help you write clear and engaging prose.   1.    Limit your research This probably seems counter-productive to some of you, but...

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On Dramaturgy, Substantive Editing’s Theatrical Cousin

Editing

dramaturgy n. 1 the art of theatrical production; the theory of dramatics. 2 the application of this.  dramaturgical adj.   ~Paperback Oxford Canadian Dictionary: Second Edition     Editors are the unsung heroes of the publishing industry, reading and re-reading tirelessly in an effort to improve others' writing. In the case of substantive editing, a book editor might spend years working with an author, and, though they receive a salary and...

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Book Review: Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guide for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples

Book Reviews

      It feels appropriate that my first post for the TEC blog is a review of a style guide. In the two months since I've started working at TEC I've spent plenty of time looking through guides like the APA Publication Manual and the massive Chicago Manual of Style. The best style guides are more than a source of rules and answers for specific questions about formatting and referencing:...

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A Review of Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation by Ammon Shea

Book Reviews

    Ammon Shea's Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation (Penguin, 2014) is a usage guide of sorts, but far from being a prescriptive guide like Fowler's A Dictionary of Modern English Usage or Bremner's Words on Words, Shea's book records a variety of grammar and usage peeves, and, by examining their roots, exposes them as unfounded compulsions foisted on English users by grammar scolds.   Having previously written Reading the OED:...

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100 Invoices: How I Grew My Position at TEC

Business

Recently at TEC, I celebrated something of a milestone – my 100th invoice to the company! Maybe it doesn’t seem like that much of a big deal, only 100 invoices, but I invoice every two weeks, so (with vacations and other things) that’s over 200 weeks spent here at TEC. In fact, my four-year anniversary with TEC is coming up in a month.   A Little History I started at TEC...

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To Err is Human: Take Book Covers, for Example

Book Design

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. Really? While the saying may be metaphorically true, in a literal sense, as any book publishing professional can tell you, if a book cover doesn’t give you a pretty good idea of what’s inside, it has failed. A book cover’s visual appeal needs to be such that any prospective book buyer can see at a glance that the...

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Notes from a Town & Country Editor and Writer

Editing

  Having worked as a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Grey County, and now the Hamilton area, I've had the opportunity to learn about some of the pros and cons of doing editorial work in both rural and urban settings. As a returning blogger for The Editing Company, I'm glad that I get to share my experiences serving clarity, consistency, and correctness, and I hope that reading about my...

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5 Tips for Writing Engaging Nonfiction

Writing

I'm open to reading almost anything ­– fiction, nonfiction – as long as I know from the first sentence or two that this is a voice I want to listen to for a good long while. It has much to do with imagery and language, a particular perspective, the assured knowledge of the particular universe the writer has created. - Amy Tan   One of the most important things a writer...

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Ask the Editor: Editing with Nervous First-Time Writers

It’s been a while since I’ve written an “Ask the Editor” blog post! This time, I’m going to talk about how to make the editing process easier for nervous or skittish first-time writers.   While much of this advice might be geared towards how editors can work with writers, these tips can be very beneficial for writers having their work edited for the first time as well. If you are...

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A New Holiday Tradition: Reading Great Holiday Books

Books And Reading

As the holiday season moves into full swing, you probably have holiday traditions that you enjoy with your family and friends, or even some traditions that you do just for yourself. Holiday traditions always seem to help you adopt a more festive mood, no matter what life throws your way! One of the most popular holiday traditions is probably watching holiday films – Elf, A Christmas Carol, Scrooged, It’s...

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The Essential Gift Guide for Editors: 2017

It can be difficult to choose gifts for editors (or writers!) – choosing a book is often too risky or nerve-wracking, but if not a book, then…what? We’ve compiled some out-of-the-box ideas to add to our list of great gifts for the editor in your life, or even a friend who loves the written word!   WORD OF THE DAY CALENDAR These calendars are great because there are just so many of...

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Man! Unbiased Language Can Be Confusing

Language & Editing

A while back, we at TEC were chatting over lunch about Word On The Street, and I mentioned that I had once manned a booth at the event. The reaction was an awkward pause, followed by “Manned a booth?”   The question was, of course, one of gender neutrality. Shouldn’t I have said “staffed” instead? Didn’t “manning” imply a bias towards staffing being a male bailiwick? So I did what...

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10 Amazing Things about TEC Turning 10!

Business

In September, The Editing Company began its 10th year of business. We have been celebrating our anniversary by offering 10% discounts, 10 complementary 1-hour consults, and 10 chances to win TEC swag through our Twitter raffles. Our team also had an extra-long lunch (on the Company) at a local restaurant.   Year 10 will continue until next September, and we will continue to offer excellent services, building on...

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Zero to What? How to Treat Numbers in Different Editing Styles: A Cheat Sheet

Editing Numbers

Here at TEC, it’s our job to provide our clients with the best guidance and advice in the editing and flow of their documents. Recently, we had a client ask us about working with numbers in text – how to treat them, when to spell them out, when not to spell them out… There are many questions that can arise when you’re working with numbers!   So, here is a helpful...

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Take a Break, Editors!

Editing

Editing is hard work, and sometimes it's nice to take a break from editing a particularly difficult piece of text and have a bit of fun. I've collected some suggestions for little quizzes, intriguing blog posts, and interactive activities for you to help you perk up and give your brain a break!   OED Blog: Symbols for Sounds: Dictionary Pronunciations Explained If an interesting distraction is what you’re after, this article from...

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Ask the Editor: How Do I Prepare for My First Meeting with An Editor?

Editing / Editor/writer

Did you know that for TEC's tenth anniversary, we are running a promotion where you can get a free consultation with our Senior Editor, Beth, to discuss your project? (Email us to sign up!) It's a fantastic opportunity to get some guidance on advancing your project, what kind of editing it will need, and ways you can make your writing better.   So come on in to see us -- we'd...

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How to Improve Informal Writing in Business Emails

Business

    Chances are, you have had a lot of experience or contact with business writing: compiling expense or business reports, writing up contracts, and crafting proposals. Whether you work for yourself or for a small or large business, many aspects of your job will involve writing. When most people think about "business writing," they probably think of the type of writing I listed above -- more formal, structured types...

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Subject-Verb Agreement

Language & Editing

  It's pretty simple, right? A singular subject takes a singular verb, and a plural subject takes a plural verb. The dog is barking. The dogs are barking. Most of the time, we apply this rule without even thinking about it. But sometimes, we're stumped.   How Complicated Can It Be? It can actually be a bit unnerving to consult a grammar guide for help with subject-verb agreement. ...

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Hot Off the Press! The Chicago Manual of Style 17th Edition

Editing

In celebration of the 17th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style (both hard copy and digital editions) we thought it would be appropriate to repost a blog from 2012 that looked at the humbler version of the CMS. Here at The Editing Company, we page through our hard-copy edition on a regular basis, and now we page through the online edition that we subscribed to just about a year ago....

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Segues: Another Technique for Writing Transitions

Writing

Segues are an important part of writing in any genre, and knowing how to use segues well can be the difference between a successful or not-so-successful piece of content. First, let's get this out of the way: A Segway is a trademarked name referring to a motorized, two-wheel personal vehicle. A segue (in writing, anyway) is a smooth transitional phrase that moves the reader from one point or...

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Spotting Typos: Sometimes We See Them, Sometimes We Don’t

Proofreading

We editors can't help that our eye will fall on misspelled words or faulty punctuation. No matter where they appear. Take, for instance, a new eatery opening up a few doors down from us here on College Street. The menu offers a blend of sushi and burritos, rolled into one, and apparently you will be able to make your own. The location is under renovation, and...

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Two Men and a Printing Press: Keeping Alive the Art of Typography

Book Design

    We're not supposed to judge books by their covers, but like it or not, when shopping around a bookstore with nothing particular in mind, it's often a cover that will attract the eye. I was recently perusing the selection at the lovely Type Books in Toronto's Queen West neighbourhood, and certain books stood out to me, not by their outside cover, but rather by their typography—what was on the...

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