TEC Blog

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“G’wan, B’y”: A Primer on Cape Breton English

Language & Editing

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of introducing my husband and my 7-month-old son to the lovely island of Cape Breton, where my parents grew up. I remember my many childhood trips “out east” fondly, and I relished re-living the experience: crossing the Canso Causeway, driving the Cabot Trail, and looking out over the Great Bras d’Or.   Besides these, one of my favourite things about Cape Breton is...

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A TEC Review of Zoe Whittall’s The Best Kind of People

Book Reviews

Zoe Whittall is the award-winning author of four novels and three books of poetry and was TEC's sponsored author at this year's Word On The Street. Her latest novel, The Best Kind of People (Anansi, 2016), is on the short list for this year's Giller Prize.  It provides a fresh take on one of the most difficult and controversial criminal and social challenges of the century. Her...

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4 Tips for Using the Em-dash and En-dash and Finding Them on Your Keyboard

Usage

  As a keen-eyed reader, you have no doubt noticed that those little horizontal lines between words and numbers come in varying lengths. As a keen-eyed typist, you'll also have noticed that your keyboard is equipped with only one key: the hyphen/minus key. And you may have observed that sometimes when you type in two hyphens to set off an interjection -- because you just know that a simple hyphen isn't up to...

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A Halloween Word Treat from The Editing Company

Language & Editing

Halloween fast approaches, and you may have noticed pumpkins and scarecrows appearing on your neighbours’ stoops, and ravaged racks of costumes popping up in stores. I certainly have my decorations up already—black cats, broomsticks, and skeletons, oh my! This week, we thought we’d enlighten you on some fun Halloween etymology in a post by former TEC editor Mary Ann! ***** Mid-October is that wonderful time of year when the air takes on...

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TEC Trick: How to Personalize Your Edits in Track Changes

Editing & Technologies

Editing using Microsoft Word’s Track Changes function is a fairly standard practice today, and it’s easy to see why—it’s neater, faster, and easier for authors to see what changes you’ve made. Using Track Changes also gives authors a level of control over what changes are (or aren’t) made to their work.   However, Track Changes comes with its own set of issues as well. One of those issues...

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Tidying-Up Your Academic Writing: The Magic of the Reverse Outline

Editing

Could your academic writing use a good de-cluttering?   While doing structural editing for a client—especially with graduate students’ theses or dissertations—I’ve often found myself using the same little trick when faced with overwhelming walls of meandering academic text. Essentially, this trick involves using MS Word’s comments feature to reduce these huge swathes of text into tiny, bite-sized tags, and then dealing exclusively with these tags, rather than the text...

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7 Tips for Detecting Business Editorial Style

Writing

Have you ever sat down to write a business article for a journal or a magazine and wondered what the editorial style of the publication was? Perhaps the website doesn't offer a detailed style guide and you know how important it is to punctuate properly or to capitalize key words. In this blog, I describe my detective-like approach to identifying the editorial style of a business magazine or journal....

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TEC’s Tips for Editing with Track Changes: An Introduction

Editing & Technologies

For most editors today, the chance to work some editorial magic on a hard-copy manuscript is not one that comes by very often. For those who might not be so familiar with publishing lingo, hard copy just means an actual physical copy of the manuscript, often in the page proofs stage of the publishing process (printouts of the already designed and typeset book). Before the advent of digital...

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My Three Summer Book Picks

Book Reviews

The Queen of the Night Alexander Chee Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. I was given this novel by someone who thought that since I had a background in opera I might get a kick out of it, the titular Queen being one of Mozart’s most famous antagonists.   The book turned out to be an enjoyable romp of a period piece – historical fiction with a vivid, but not overwhelming, operatic theme. ...

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A Traveller's (Short) Reading List

Book Reviews

The Question of Mitbringsel Part of the preparation for my latest trip to Germany involved shopping for Canadian Mitbringsel (small presents): for my colleagues in the horn section, little boxes of maple sugar candies; for my friend Peter, chef extraordinaire, a pair of oven mitts decorated with an Inuit raven motif; and for my high-spirited French friend, Delphine, a red LCBO wine cooler with a black moose printed on it....

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The Language of the Olympics

Usage

Even the most sports-illiterate word nerds (I include myself in this category) will have been paying some attention to this month's Olympic Games — even if only because of some interesting linguistic phenomena. For instance, you may have heard the word "podium" used as a verb, or wondered if "Olympics" takes a singular or a plural verb.   Let's take a look at some Olympic terminology, where it came...

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Mysteries & Murders Make for a Chilling Summer

Book Reviews

In my most recent Kobo shopping spree, I was on the hunt for some great titles to carry me through the summer. I often find that I read certain genres in phases, and this summer has been no different – I seem to be going through mysteries of various kinds at a fast pace! So if you're looking for something a little creepier than your average beach read, I've...

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Editing Business Writing for Precision and Clarity

Business

Good business writing is clear and succinct. There are no unwanted words. The meaning is delivered with precision. The right tone, correct usage, and elimination of jargon strengthen the message.  Rene Cappon, former managing editor of the Associated Press, provides three main rules for business and news writing:   Don’t waste words and space Don’t use abstract, vague words ...

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5 Best Grammar Blogs for Authors

Language & Editing

Hello, TEC blog readers! It's been a glorious summer so far, and we hope you have had ample time to enjoy the weather. This week, we are re-posting Lesley-Anne's collection of grammar blogs in case you need to brush up.  We know, we know, no one wants to study grammar in the summer.  But many of us may need to because we are in summer school, finishing up summer...

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I'm Ready for My Aria, Mr. de Mille: Opera Music in Movie Soundtracks

Along with classical orchestral music, opera has always had a presence on movie soundtracks (having spent three decades as a professional opera singer before becoming an editor, I notice these things). There are dozens of examples, but I’d like to mention just a few here. We can’t begin a discussion of opera in film without mentioning the immortal classic, The Rabbit of Seville, which adds lyrics to...

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Austen vs Chandler: What Melissa Is Reading

Book Reviews

Since having my first baby earlier this year, my book-reading time has taken a serious hit. In fact, most of my reading for the past four months has consisted in frantically scrolling through the forums at BabyCenter. ca or skimming the pages of What to Expect: The First Year while rocking a crying infant in my arms. This past month, though, the chaos has subsided somewhat. Baby Ben’s...

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Double Quotations vs. Single Quotations: What’s the Difference?

Usage

Double quotations vs. single quotations --  figuring out how to properly use both of these types of punctuation can be confusing, especially depending on where the text originated from. TEC editor Amy has a primer that can help you figure out, once and for all, when to use double quotations and when to use single quotations.   “Double Quotations”   In Canada and the United States, double quotation marks are...

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What We're Reading: A Few Picks from TEC Editors

Book Reviews

Here at TEC, we generally view summer as prime reading time, what with all the vacations, long weekends at the cottage, and general relaxation. We've all started in on our "to be read" piles, and this summer, we'll be doing a "what we're reading" series to pass on our favourites and top choices. So, read on for Beth and Lesley-Anne's choices.     What Lesley-Anne Is Reading Over the past month,...

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My Brush with Genius – an Editor Goes to the Movies

Event

What does an editor do?   We can be correctors, arbiters, hand-holders. We can correct spelling errors or rearrange whole chapters, fix dangling modifiers or eliminate a subplot. It is said that legendary literary editor Maxwell Perkins once cut 90,000 words from a draft of Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel – words which, presumably, sank without a trace and were never missed by anyone (except perhaps Mr. Wolfe).   With...

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4 Self-Publishing Mistakes to Avoid

Publishing

So you've decided to self-publish a book. That's great! Self-publishing a book can be quite the journey, and it can also be incredibly rewarding. Here are a few helpful tips to keep you on the right track during the publishing process. Know the Purpose of Your Book Ask yourself, what is the purpose of my book? Do I want to sell lots of books online? Use the book...

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Canadian and American Spelling in Action: A Sampler

Language & Editing

  Still puzzled by the different Canadian vs. American spellings? Drawing on the three blogs Barbara compiled (A to G, H to P, and Q to Z), we have written these sampler sentences to help you practise/practice. We have underlined the Canadian spellings that you would use if writing for a Canadian audience. Remember: some spellings are the same.   Double -ll- or single -l- When it is winter...

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To Boldly Go: An Editor’s Journey Beyond the Infinite

Language & Editing

  Q: How many editors does it take to split an infinitive? A: Just one, but he has to really be persuaded. If, as Dr. Johnson said, patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, perhaps it could be argued that grammatical prescriptivism -- strict and unquestioning adherence to rules -- is the last refuge of a pedant. As an editor, I can be one such pedant. I bristle at...

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Canadian and American Spelling: Your Guide from Q to Z

Language & Editing

Stop right there. Did you read "queue to zee"? If you did, you're using American pronunciation. Up here in the land of butter tarts and Nanaimo bars, we say "queue to zed"—which is why we can't ever get the Alphabet Song to rhyme. But we love our alphabet with its odd ending nonetheless. One of our most popular alphabet books is Eh? To Zed: A Canadian...

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10 Steps for “Working” Your Manuscript

Editing

  What does it mean when we say an author is "working" the manuscript? It means that we recognize that the author is making the time to rewrite, revise, and reshape the manuscript as often as needed to make it ready for publication. We have the pleasure of working with many authors who seem to know instinctively how to go about doing this, and to watch them at work is...

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