Archive for May, 2013

Summer Special: 20% Off

May 31, 2013

Independent writers receive 20% off all editing services June 1 to August 1.

Just email your Word document to, and I’ll return a sample edited at the level I recommend, along with the flat fee for that level. Although I offer my opinion, you always decide on the level of edit, as well as choosing between the flat fee and an hourly rate.

For more info on the services I offer, please refer to my interview at


Ensure Correct Use of Insure

May 30, 2013

It’s easy to confuse “ensure” and “insure,” derived from the same root; however, they have distinct meanings.

Ensure applies to guaranteeing a desired outcome: The supplemental drink Ensure ensures improved nutrition.

Insure applies to limiting financial liability: Unfortunately, his car was not insured.

Assure, another related word, only applies to living things: The doctor assured her that she was fine.

Joy Eckel, Freelance Copy Editor
Email for a free estimate and sample edit.

It’s just for Kindle …

May 29, 2013

so I’m not going to bother with editing.

I’ve heard versions of the above with alarming frequency over the past few years, and I’ve noticed the same lack of quality control in most online text.

Have we tacitly agreed to lower standards for electronic media? 

Sunday Funnies

May 26, 2013

Sunday Funnies

Sunday Funnies

May 26, 2013

Sunday Funnies

Sunday Funnies

May 26, 2013

Sunday Funnies

Er, more?

May 23, 2013

More and more people are using “more” instead of the comparative “er” form: more fair, more clear, more gray. Since those are one-syllable adjectives, they should be “fairer,” “clearer” and “grayer.”

“More” is used with most two-syllable and all three-syllable adjectives: more thoughtful, more careful, more important, more intelligent.

However, two-syllable adjectives ending in “ow,” “le,” “y” and “er,” use the comparative form. But of course, there are exceptions; some of these adjectives can be used with either the comparative form or “more”: clever, friendly, gentle, simple.

25 Things Every Young Professional Should Know

May 19, 2013

25 Things Every Young Professional Should Know

3. The less you write, the tighter the message.

Yay, the importance of concise writing is in the top 3!


May 16, 2013

“Me and a fellow copy editor are at odds.”

(Found in Q&A section of Chicago Manual of Style site)

Stray Bullets

May 16, 2013

Despite their frequent use, bulleted lists cause significant confusion.

Although style guides differ on formatting, capitalization and punctuation, one rule is universal: To help the reader absorb the information, the items listed should be PARALLEL. All should be structured the same way: if one item starts with a verb, all should start with a verb; if one is a complete sentence,  all should be complete sentences; if one is a sentence fragment, all should be fragments; and so on.

Can you find the “stray bullet” that breaks the parallel construction in the following list?

In the next few months, the Board Directors, Executive Director, and staff of the new AC will be:

• Refine program budgets for transferred programs
• Re-initiating the Action  program
• Continuing the formation of the Operating Committees

Joy Eckel, Freelance Copy Editor
Email for a free estimate and sample edit!


May 14, 2013

Can you find three wording errors in these headlines from today’s Yahoo! News?

3 Reasons Why Candice Glover Will Win ‘Idol’…and 3 Reasons Why Kree Could Win

My Student Loan Story: I Feel Like I Am Sinking


Mother’s Day Malapropism

May 12, 2013

“Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child.” 
Dan Quayle, Vice President

Happy Mother’s Day!

Say What?

May 11, 2013

“Some finish up with fruit or have fruit as their primary buffet entrée.  Either way, plenty of assortment…


High Hopes

May 10, 2013

High Hopes

Thanks, Pam!


May 10, 2013


What’s wrong with this sentence?

May 8, 2013

A rare species had alluded my collection.

Reader’s Question: Spacing for Dashes

May 6, 2013

Elements of Style shows a dash is a mark of separation stronger than a comma, less formal than a colon, and more relaxed than parentheses. Of course it is; I get that. What about the dash we sometimes see that immediately follows the last typed character in a word? I don’t have an example, so cannot give you the context, because someone just asked me this and I don’t have an answer. The way it would look is like this: The cat was on the table- rest of sentence. 
(Not The cat was on the table – rest of sentence). How I would love to say it’s a typo, but this person assures me they’ve seen it in published works. Your thoughts?

Thanks for your question, Marie.

Once again, it’s a matter of style.

In AP style, an en dash is used, with a space before and after.

In Chicago style, an em dash is used, with no space before or after.

I know of no case that calls for a space after a dash and none before. Your friend might be thinking of a hanging hyphen: eighteenth- and nineteenth-century architecture.

Hope this helps!

Joy Eckel, Freelance Copy Editor
Email for a free estimate and sample edit!

Sunday Funnies

May 5, 2013

Sunday Funnies

What’s wrong with this sentence?

May 4, 2013

It is unfortunate that some users still live in a fool’s paradise and fail to install an antivirus program and jeopardize their computer’s security.


Joy Eckel, Freelance Copy Editor
Email for a free estimate and sample edit!

Verbal Imodium

May 3, 2013

Some writers believe that verbosity increases their credibility, but usually the opposite is true. Wordiness obscures meaning and weighs text down with unnecessary language.

The following phrases can be replaced with a single word:

prior to = before

at the present time = now

due to the fact that = because

notwithstanding the fact = although

located in the vicinity of = near

Joy Eckel, Freelance Copy Editor
Email for a free sample edit and estimate!

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