drowning in edits

There are many things you should check if you’re thinking of editing something you’ve written. Spelling, grammar, punctuation and syntax are all important, so you need to look at them all. I can’t possibly point out everything you need to look at, but I’ll do my best to give you a brief checklist.

There are many words which are commonly misspelt. Classic examples include the many spellings of there/their/they’re. While they are pronounced the same, they have very different meanings.

  • There: where something is, eg, “the sofa is there“;
  • Their: something belonging to them, eg, “that’s their sofa”;
  • They’re: a contraction of ‘they are’, eg, “they’re trying to steal that sofa”.

Where, were and we’re also seem to cause problems. So here is an explanation.

  • Where: a question as to someone’s/something’s position, eg, “where are you?”;
  • Were: past tense, second and third person, of ‘to be’, eg, “you were there’;
  • We’re: a contraction of ‘we are’, eg, “we’re going where we were last night”.

The obvious thing to do if you’re having problems with spelling is to use a dictionary – I have a BIG one – but many nowadays don’t seem to have one. There are online dictionaries out there or you could ask friends to help if you trust their spelling. Or you could hire a copy editor or proofreader to sort it out for you!

Hyphenation and when it should and shouldn’t be used is another common problem. If a two-word phrase is used descriptively, as in the words are describing the verb or noun that follows it, then it should be hyphenated. Here are some examples:

  • “Her problem-solving technique”;
  • “He is a self-evident philanderer”;
  • “It is a decision-making process”.

BUT some of the words above shouldn’t be hyphenated in other contexts when they’re used in different ways. For example:

  • “Her problem solving is great”;
  • “Decision making on this is going to be hard”.

The reason these aren’t hyphenated is because they don’t describe any vowel or noun. All phrases beginning ‘self’ should be hyphenated, eg, “self-imposed”, “self-inflicted”.

I hope that helps! If you need more help with your copy, then please get in touch with me.

All you have to do is send an email or visit my contact page, tell me the word count and type of document you need edited, attach it if you want and send it. I will then email you a quotation (my prices are fully negotiable), and we can take it from there! I will then copy edit or proofread your document for you.

I guarantee a great service at a very affordable price. Just ask any of my previous customers and they will all vouch for me.

I look forward to hearing from you!

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