TEC Blog

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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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The Affected Effects of Impact

Language & Editing

Language and the way we use it is undeniably fluid. One doesn't have to look far to find idioms and words that have changed their wording and subsequently their meanings over the years. Especially in the 21st century, words that were once nouns have now become noun/verb hybrids. Examples that immediately spring to mind are "to text," as in "I'll text you," and the teeth-grindingly common "to...

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Less Is Not More: How to Write Longer Sentences (if you really have to)

Writing

  Strunk and White's The Elements of Style is a classic, a compendium of pithy advice for writers who want to get their ideas across clearly and succinctly. Their Rule # 13, "Omit needless words," sounds like a slam-dunk: just do it. But how do you decide what's needless? Where do you start?   Well, sometimes working your way backwards helps – like taking apart a clock so you can...

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Put the Brakes on Bad Breaks!

Do you know the appropriate place to break a word like "friendship" or "disenfranchised"? Word breaks aren't something many people think about anymore, now that we have word processing programs and software that can handle those details for us. But before that technology was available to us, words had to be broken manually from one line to the next (think typesetting, or typing on typewriters). At TEC, I often...

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Stumped by the Subjunctive

Usage

I recently subscribed to the Globe and Mail for the Friday and Saturday editions. Friday's paper includes the Report on Business the last Friday of each month, and is a magazine I want to read more regularly. The first issue I received wasn't a disappointment (June 2017). The cover story took an inside look at the changeover of CEOs at Rogers and made for a compelling read....

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An Insider’s Tale of the Canadian Opera Scene: A Review of Dr. Bartolo’s Umbrella

Book Reviews

Dr. Bartolo's Umbrella and Other Tales from My Surprising Operatic Life By Christopher Cameron Published by Seraphim Editions, 2017   Former TEC editor Christopher Cameron's Dr. Bartolo's Umbrella is an entertaining, informative, and cheeky look at an individual's experiences working in Canadian opera. The book takes the reader through the journey of Cameron's unlikely musical beginnings, lucky breaks, hard work, and various roles within the Canadian classical music scene. ...

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Back from the Archives: Editing & Hyphens: Tips on Hyphenating Your Writing

Editing / Usage

This week, we wanted to re-post one of our most consistently popular blogs: Barbara's 2015 blog on hyphenation! Even two years later, it's always at the top of our "most viewed" lists -- clearly, tips about hyphenation are never out of season! We hope it reaches some new writers seeking guidance and helps them out too.     They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. ...

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A Crash Course on Political Language from Roosevelt by way of Trump to Orwell

Language & Editing

    The political world gets progressively denser every day, especially the world of US politics. And, though Canadians often pretend at being secure from the political meltdown south of the 49th parallel, the reality is that it's incumbent upon those of us who live north of the border to learn all we can about both the Canadian and US systems of governance . and propaganda.   Participating in, or at...

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