Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Know What You Want Part 7

Language Editing

As writers, we all understand the importance of correct grammar. In editing for language, a copyeditor also looks for correct syntax, usage and diction. Is the sentence structure confusing? Does the manuscript use foreign words? Are those foreign words treated consistently throughout? Is the noun you are using plural or single? Do subject and verb agree? Are you using a dialect? Are you being consistent in how you use it?

Language editing is much more subjective than editing the mechanics. So it is vital the manuscript is consistent in how it handles language. A grammar manual is a good investment, especially if you are weak on grammar.

With each of the steps of editing I have already covered, you want to read through your manuscript for only that issue. Read and edit for mechanics. Then on another day, read and edit for language. If you are editing someone else’s work, do not impose your style on his/her writing. Simply ask “Is the sentence acceptable as written?” If not, fix it, otherwise, move on.

When does the word “couple” take a plural verb?

Debra L. Butterfield © 2012 

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