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What Is the Active Voice and Why Is It Important?

Feb 13, 2024 - Glen Hoffmann

You’ve likely heard it’s best to write in the active voice whenever possible. This is good advice. In this week’s blog, I’ll explain why by answering ...

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What Is a Trope vs. a Cliché?

Feb 06, 2024 - Lesley-Anne Longo

You may have heard the terms “trope” and “cliché” before, but do you know what they are? Contrary to what many people think, these terms are not synon...

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On Mixed Metaphors: Putting a Fine-Toothed Comb to the Grindstone

Jan 31, 2024 - Michael Bedford

I’ve always been a fan of finding examples of humorous misapplications of grammar or usage guidelines in writing. One source of such grammatical humou...

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What Is Syntax? And Why Is It Important?

Grammar  /  Usage  /  Writing  /  Usage
Jan 24, 2024 - Melissa MacAulay

We’ve all heard it before: “Words are the building blocks of language.” Writers understand this better than anyone, as they are all too aware – someti...

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6 Faulty Writing Habits to Avoid

Aug 23, 2023 - Lesley-Anne Longo

There’s never a bad time to refresh your writing skills, and now is as good a time as ever (especially if you’re finding yourself with some extra time...

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Segues: A Handy Technique for Writing Transitions

May 24, 2023 - Lesley-Anne Longo

Segues are an important part of writing in any genre, and knowing how to use segues well can be the difference between a successful or not-so-successf...

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Zero to What? How to Treat Numbers in Different Editing Styles: A Cheat Sheet

Apr 06, 2022 - Lesley-Anne Longo

Here at TEC, it’s our job to provide our clients with the best guidance and advice in the editing and flow of their documents. Recently, we had a clie...

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Everyday Proofreading and Punctuation Marks: What Do They Mean and How Are They Used?

Oct 13, 2021 - Lesley-Anne Longo

Pretty much everyone uses punctuation marks in their day-to-day life, whether it’s in texts, emails, professional communications, business writing, le...

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A Brief History of the Pilcrow: A Worldly Mark on Proofreading

Oct 06, 2021 - Michael Bedford

The ways that linguistic conventions change over time are sometimes obvious. New dialects and turns of phrase crop up, and many of them gradually chan...

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Resources and Tips to Help Editors Stay Current

Editing  /  Grammar  /  Usage  /  Style  /  Usage
Mar 17, 2021 - Michael Bedford

Like any profession, editorial work involves keeping up with how professional standards and tools of the trade change over time. Unlike aviation stand...

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Inclusive Writing: It’s Not About Political Correctness

Dec 09, 2020 - Michael Bedford

Inclusive writing is often confused with politically correct writing, but political correctness isn’t an author’s main goal when writing inclusively. ...

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The Nuts and Bolts of Strong Prose: Semicolons, Colons, and Dashes

Editing  /  Grammar  /  Usage  /  Usage
Dec 02, 2020 - Laura Cameron

Punctuation marks are the signposts of prose. They indicate what’s important and where to pause. They add rhythm to your sentences. They help your rea...

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Confounding Confusables: Part V

Nov 03, 2020 - Lesley-Anne Longo

Our blog series on confusables has remained popular over the years, so we thought it was time to post a new list. This one includes some explanations ...

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Samhain 2020: Unmasking the Origins of Halloween

Oct 27, 2020 - Michael Bedford

October 2020 is drawing to a close, and pandemic-fatigued children and adults are turning to the warm embrace of holiday nostalgia to help ease their ...

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The Evolving Lexicon of Web Jargon

Aug 04, 2020 - Michael Bedford

In this archived post from 2017, TEC Blogger Michael Bedford muses on how editors deal with an unending stream of technical and internet lingo, with n...

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How to Turn Connecting Sentences into Powerful Parts of Your Prose

Jan 08, 2020 - Jonathan Adjemian

There are plenty of different approaches to writing. Some writers like to let the words pour out on the page and clean and shape them later; some outl...

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The Nuts and Bolts of Strong Prose: Semicolons, Colons, and Dashes

Nov 13, 2019 - Laura Cameron

Punctuation marks are the signposts of prose. They indicate what’s important and where to pause. They add rhythm to your sentences. They help your rea...

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Editing Acronyms and Initialisms: The Almost Impossible Task of Keeping Them Consistent

Sep 11, 2019 - Ronnie Morris

It has been considered a usual style to shorten words in order to save time or space for some time now. Some of us will remember acronyms and initiali...

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The Return of Confusables: Part IV

Jul 24, 2019 - Lesley-Anne Longo

Our blog series on confusables (a.k.a., easily mixed up words) has remained popular throughout the years, so we thought we’d revive it and take a look...

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Pondering the Meaning and Role of Archaic Words — And, Yes, We Can Still Use Them

May 29, 2019 - Molly Rookwood

A few years ago, I decided to celebrate my love of Regency and Victorian literature by getting a tattoo of the word “ardent,” paying homage to Pride a...

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To Friend or Unfriend? The Evolution of Nouns into Verbs

Mar 06, 2019 - Molly Rookwood

In 2009, “unfriend” was the Oxford American Dictionary’s Word of the Year, leading to teeth-gnashing of grammar purists across the world. How could th...

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Confounding Confusables, Part III

Aug 14, 2018 - Michael Bedford

    For centuries, questions of proper usage have provided editorial professionals fodder for debate. Although publishers’ styles ...

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The Nuts and Bolts of Strong Prose: Semicolons, Colons, and Dashes

Jul 25, 2018 - Laura Cameron

    Punctuation marks are the signposts of prose. They indicate what’s important and where to pause. They add rhythm to your sentenc...

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Commas: Curiosity and Concern

Jun 21, 2018 - Jonathan Adjemian

Commas, for any copy editor—or, for that matter, any copy writer—are a most familiar tool, as well as a potential source of frustration. C...

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Subject-Verb Agreement with Collective Nouns: Take 2

Jun 14, 2018 - Michael Bedford

Back in September 2017, The Editing Company's own Barbara Kamienski wrote a great blog post about the linguistic challenges presented by subject-ver...

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4 Tips for Using the Em-dash and En-dash and Finding Them on Your Keyboard

May 31, 2018 - Barbara Kamienski

As a keen-eyed reader, you have no doubt noticed that those little horizontal lines between words and numbers come in varying lengths. As a keen-eyed ...

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Stumped by the Subjunctive

Jul 06, 2017 - Beth McAuley

I recently subscribed to the Globe and Mail for the Friday and Saturday editions. Friday's paper includes the Report on Business the last Friday of ea...

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A Little Punctuation Goes a Long Way: Managing Your Commas

Mar 09, 2017 - Michael Bedford

    Few punctuation marks are misused as often as the comma. Sadly, many semi-professional or hobby writers of today seem to think that the comma is...

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Confounding Confusables, Part II

Dec 07, 2016 - Lesley-Anne Longo

  It sometimes seems like there is a never-ending supply of words that are confusing in one way or another! There are homonyms, synonyms, words ...

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All Right, All Right, Alright: How to Use Three More Confusing Word Pairings

Nov 03, 2016 - Lesley-Anne Longo

  In the TEC office this month, we have been discussing a number of words and phrases that are easily confused and/or misused. So, for our blog ...

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4 Tips for Using the Em-dash and En-dash and Finding Them on Your Keyboard

Oct 13, 2016 - Barbara Kamienski

  As a keen-eyed reader, you have no doubt noticed that those little horizontal lines between words and numbers come in varying lengths. As a ke...

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The Language of the Olympics

Aug 17, 2016 - Melissa MacAulay

Even the most sports-illiterate word nerds (I include myself in this category) will have been paying some attention to this month's Olympic Games &mda...

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Double Quotations vs. Single Quotations: What’s the Difference?

Jul 06, 2016 - Amy Verhaeghe

Double quotations vs. single quotations --  figuring out how to properly use both of these types of punctuation can be confusing, especially depe...

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Editing & Hyphens: Tips on Hyphenating Your Writing

Apr 06, 2016 - Barbara Kamienski

We have been absolutely inundated with work this week at TEC! Because of our crazy schedules, we're re-posting one of our most useful blogs. Barbara...

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4 Handy Tips: A Punctuation Primer

Jan 20, 2016 - Melissa MacAulay

  Below are a few of the most common punctuation-related errors or inconsistencies that we see here at TEC. Here is what you need to keep in min...

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4 Small Misses: Error Spotting on the Subway Ride to Work

Jun 03, 2015 - Beth McAuley

Ever wonder what editors do while they ride the subway on their way to work? One engaging pastime is to read subway posters for minor errors. The ot...

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4 (More) Commonly Misused Words

May 04, 2015 - Melissa MacAulay

Studying philosophy has given me a special appreciation for logical words and the work they do. Some of these words, however, are commonly misused. (I...

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The Apostrophe Rules: A Raging Debate

Nov 04, 2014 - Barbara Kamienski

At a recent social gathering, a woman I had just met cornered me. So, I was an editor? Where, she demanded to know, did I stand on the possible abolit...

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Alternate Spellings and Heart-Stopping Moments

Jun 24, 2011 - Beth McAuley

Every editor’s nightmare is this: finding a spelling error in the printed publication of the manuscript you just edited after the fact. I...

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The "Is, Is" Phenomenon

May 27, 2011 - Paul Eprile

For a while I thought I was hearing things. The sounds came and went so fast, it was impossible to confirm them with the naked ear. But yes, with clos...

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Musings on "The Queen's English"

Oct 07, 2010 - Nadine Bachan

Greetings from London, everyone! For the past eleven days I have been having quite a time exploring and learning about this amazing, historical, and...

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The Evolution of English and the Joy of Language

Aug 25, 2010 - Camille Isaacs

I have a 2-year-old son, and every day I find joy in the way he makes meaning of his world through words. Often I am just so pleased that he’s...