I recently edited a novel. The author was clearly educated and had a good grasp of standard English grammar. She wrote in complete sentences, didn’t seem to have many misspellings, and generally used punctuation correctly. At first glance, it may have seemed like a copyeditor wouldn’t have much work to do.
But grammar and punctuation are not all that copyeditors pay attention to: we also look for consistency, awkward or convoluted phrasing, redundancies and repetition, factual errors, legal issues, and formatting.
Consistency is a big part of whether people perceive your writing as professional or high-quality; they may not realize that it impacts their perception, but it does.
- Does the author favor toward or towards? Both are correct, but you should pick one and stick to it.
- Serial comma or no?
- High-tech is always hyphenated
- Journal entries are always block-quoted and italicized.
Awkward or convoluted phrasing:
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