Archives for : Editing Tips

Is Your Cordon Blue or Bleu?

You have always had a dream of opening your own restaurant. There is this perfect building downtown that has been for sale for a long time now. You can’t afford to buy the building, but when the owner decides to make it available for rent rather than let it sit vacant, you jump at the chance.

Wow! You are the chef of your own restaurant now. You get ready to put together the menu. You have some advertising to do. Yes, you’re a great cook, but writing is not your strength. Maybe you have a spouse or child or parent who can help with these details. Either way, it’s a really good idea to have a professional look them over before you print up a large number and later you find out there are spelling errors you didn’t catch.

People are picky. They want to eat well, but they also expect professional advertisements and an error-free menu. As a small business owner, you can’t do it all. The Chili’s down the street has a whole marketing team at its national headquarters. The least you can do is hire a professional to proofread your marketing materials. It will be worth the expense. Trust me.

This is true for all  businesses, of course. You may not even do any marketing. I had some legal papers drawn up recently for my own business, and I was surprised by the fact that I had to send them back a couple of times because something as simple as them entering a wrong address or referring to me as “him.” Excuse me, but if you don’t even proof your own work, maybe you don’t deserve my business … See what I mean?

Questions Answered by CMS

Today I just want to post a link to the Chicago Manual of Style website. They have a question & answer section that is very useful and available to the public. Especially if you are following Chicago but don’t know your way around it quite yet, this site’s for you. You can also find answers to grammar and usage questions that may not be covered in the manual.

You can follow the “latest Q&A” or, if you are looking for something specific, “browse Q&A,” where you will find answers to a variety of questions. A bonus: they usually direct you to a legitimate source where you could have found the answer.

Test your own knowledge of Chicago style or just enjoy this as bedtime reading. In any event, you’re sure to learn something.

Consistency

Usage is largely a matter of personal preference. Once you have decided on a certain style, stick with it.

I am not saying you should consistently misspell certain words. I am talking mostly about commas or certain terms that allow for options. Too mysterious? Here is an example: Many people prefer “towards” when speaking but “toward” when writing (especially in the US). However, they are so used to saying “towards” that it creeps into their writing—but not all the time. Soon enough, you have a jumble of toward and towards, inward/inwards, upward/upwards, outward/outwards (you get the idea) which may annoy your reader. So, pick one and stick with it!

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