Editing for Publications

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Our DropBox Folder


Here you will find worksheets, answer keys, and other good stuff!


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Sample House Style and Template

Following are links to the IEEE house style guide and the template which offers further guidance on formatting and style for the publication.

Your house style sheets will be nowhere near as elaborate as these examples, but they should provide you with an overview.

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Impostor? Or Imposter?

Some spellings walk the line of correctness. For some, it may be a matter of British vs. American preferences. But “impostor,” like the word “adviser,” can be spelled correctly with an -er or an -or, though there are good arguments for only one correct spelling in either case.

Here’s more information about impostor/imposter.

Which does your publication prefer? Check your style book, or perhaps your house style sheet.

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Woe Is I: Outline for Study

Woe Is I – Grammar Areas


Chapter 1: Pronouns

1.1.   that/which

1.2.   its/it’s

1.3.   who’s/whose

1.4.   you’re/your

1.5.   who/whom

1.6.   that/who

1.7.   me/I

1.8.   self

1.9.   they

1.10.                    everybody/someone/nobody

1.11.                    what


Chapter 2: Numbers, Plurals

2.1.   plurals

2.2.   names (Joneses)

2.3.   compound noun plurals (doormen)

2.4.   -ics (mathematics, politics)

2.5.   couple (sing/plural)

2.6.   group nouns (majority, total)

2.7.   all

2.8.   none

2.9.   -y (ferries)

2.10.                    -o (potatoes)

2.11.                    plurals, abbreviations (IOUs)

2.12.                    between/from

2.13.                    kinds, sorts, types

2.14.                    singular words ending in -s

2.15.                    foreign plurals (cacti)


Chapter 3: Possessives

3.1.   how to make posessives

3.2.   pronouns, possessives (his, hers)

3.3.   their (peril of non-gendered plural pronoun)

3.4.   group ownership (Sam and Janet’s)

3.5.   nobody’s, anybody’s

3.6.   “for goodness’ sake”

3.7.   “a friend of Jake’s”

3.8.   “an hour’s wait,” “two years’ in jail”

3.9.   “citizens’ group” or “citizens group”

3.10.                    “He resents my going”


Chapter 4: Verbs

4.1.   subject and verb agreement

4.2.   “Ties or cravats are allowed,” “neither the eggs nor the milk was fresh”

4.3.   “The couple lives in Apt 4” vs. “a couple of dogs ran in the road”

4.4.   “Phillis is wearing what look like false eyelashes”

4.5.   There are/there is

4.6.   “I wish I were” vs. “If I was rude, I apologize”

4.7.   Wishful language about the past: “I wish you had called”

4.8.   “the judge ordered that he be tried”

4.9.   Might/may “A bulletproof vest may have saved him” vs. “A bulletproof vest might have saved him”

4.10.                    “He’s one of the authors who say it best” vs. “One of the authors say it best”

4.11.                    “They never have forgotten and never will forget Paris”

4.12.                    -ize verbs, (colorize, prioritize)

4.13.                    infinitives, “eager to go” vs. “anxious to go”

4.14.                    lay/lie, sit/set, rise/raise

4.15.                    fit, quite, bet, wed

4.16.                    spilled/spilt, burned/burnt

4.17.                    waked/woken: I wake, I woke, I have woken

4.18.                    “used to”

4.19.                    hang, hung, have hung

4.20.                    use of that, “Junior said that on Friday he would pay up” vs. Junior said on Friday that he would pay up”

4.21.                    split infinitives a dead ruling: “have finally gone,” “finally have gone,” “have gone finally”

4.22.                    “the problem is, is that they repeat themselves”

4.23.                    “shall” as a dead word

4.24.                    contractions, those that are legit and those that ain’t

4.25.                    tenses

4.26.                    overuse of have


Chapter 5: Verbal Abuse

5.1.   words commonly misused

5.2.   words commonly confused

5.3.   a while/awhile, already/all ready

5.4.   -ly makes unnecessary adverbs


Chapter 6: Spelling


Chapter 7: Pronunciation


Chapter 8: Punctuation

8.1.   as road signs for the reader

8.2.   period

8.3.   comma

8.4.   semicolon

8.5.   colon

8.6.   question mark

8.7.   exclamation point

8.8.   parentheses

8.9.   dash

8.10.                    hyphen

8.11.                    apostrophe

8.12.                    quotation marks

8.13.                    titles


Chapter 9: Danglers


Chapter 10: Cliches


Chapter 11: Outdated Rules

11.1.                    split infinitives

11.2.                    ending a word with a preposition

11.3.                    data and media as plural

11.4.                    always putting the subject before the verb

11.5.                    starting a sentence with and/but

11.6.                    splitting the parts of a verb phrase

11.7.                    none as singular in all situations

11.8.                    not using whose for inanimate objects

11.9.                    It is I/ It is me

11.10.                who/whom

11.11.                that/who

11.12.                active/passive

11.13.                double negatives

11.14.                shall/will

11.15.                more than/over

11.16.                since/because

11.17.                while/although

11.18.                lighted/lit

11.19.                have got/have gotten

11.20.                all of, both of

11.21.                starting a sentence with “there”

11.22.                go slow/go slowly


Chapter 12: Writing What One Means, making writing easier for the reader to enjoy and understand

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Them Molasses

In class today, students expressed skepticism that folks in Appalachia referred to molasses as a plural when speaking of them. But in this oral history from 1915 titled “You Really Had to Work to Keep Them Molasses,” we see a treatment of the word that does use the plural pronoun “them” when referring to the sweet stuff. We see this clearly in this quote from the interview with Eunice Austin:

And as the molasses would cook, they’d have divisions in that pan, and over here would be when the juice would start coming in. And then after they started thickening a little bit, it had a place that would close up, and they’d open that up and let that juice, as it started to thicken, come over in the next section. And it would cook so long in that section. And then at the last they would let them go over in the third section to finish cooking. And you had to stay with them all the time and keep stirring them to keep them from sticking, after they started thickening.

I first learned about the plural pronoun use when doing a linguistic study of my family in Johnson County, Tennessee. At dinner, someone asked for “them molasses, ” and when I asked, I was told this was standard for the area. Since then, whenever I have made mention of the practice, it’s been met with disbelief. From now on, I have the needed proof that this is a regional colloquialism extending past my family.

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Charlie Hebdo and Kirby Delauter

Loïc Sécheresse @loicsecheresse  ·  Twitter

Loïc Sécheresse @loicsecheresse · Twitter

On the same day two news stories emerge as startling, both reminding us that editors and journalists exercise  a particular kind of power that politicians and terrorists alike both seek to degrade.

On January 7, 2015, at least twelve people were killed when armed gunmen stormed the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine. For the story as well as a profile of Charlie Hebdo‘s controversial history, see USA Today.

BBC News is calling the massacre “an apparent militant Islamist attack” and witnesses report hearing the gunmen shout, ” ‘We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad’ and ‘God is Great’ in Arabic (‘Allahu Akbar’).”

The BBC article continues, describing the ostensible target of the attack:

Stephane Charbonnier, 47, had received death threats in the past and was living under police protection. French media have named the three other cartoonists killed in the attack as Cabu, Tignous and Wolinski, as well as Charlie Hebdo contributor and French economist Bernard Maris. The attack took place during the magazine’s daily editorial meeting.

Cartoonists all over the world are uploading memorials to Charlie Hebdo, to show their support for the slain, and to speak out for democracy and freedom of expression.

Coincidentally democratic principles are being tested here in the States today, though in a way bordering on ridiculous. Frederick County (Maryland) Council Member Kirby Delauter threatened a local journalist with a lawsuit if his name ever showed up in a news story again. NPR offers the backstory, but read the editorial hilariously titled “Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter” if you’re curious about how the newspaper’s editor handled the matter.

Although the situations are very different in tone, scale, and scope, we should see both stories as proof of the power editors hold to influence public opinion regarding the truth of the world. Satire has the power to provoke massacres, because it allows us to laugh at the people who set themselves higher than the rest of humanity. But more often, satire just gives us a release, to find humor in the shared joke that the arrogant tell on themselves.