Tag Archives: copyediting

There Can Be Only One

Chocolate is my most favorite ice cream flavor. Pistachio is my least favorite flavor. Most of the best ice cream is made with chocolate, and most of the worst ice cream is made with candied fruit. All in all, most of the best flavors have some type of chocolate. 

Although it’s true that chocolate is the best of all ice cream flavors, the statements above are wrong. They have logic problems with the use of superlative terms. A superlative term is a word that indicates the penultimate level of some characteristic. That’s a fancy way of saying “the most.” Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing

Commas for Lunch

Learn to use commas correctly, leading to professional and clear writing. “Commas for Lunch,” a live, 1-hour online course by David Bowman, chief editor of Precise Edit.

Topics include the 6 major uses of commas and the 3 most common places where people use commas when they shouldn’t. Participants’ questions will also be discussed and answered.

Date: February 4, 2011
Time: 11:00 a.m. EST
18 seat maximum

The course PDF is $0.99 (not required to participate).
Click here to register, or visit PreciseEdit.com for more information.

1 Comment

Filed under Writing

Top 5 Strategies to Improve Your Writing

When I teach writing classes, give book talks, or generally discuss strategies for improving written communication, I often get this question: “What are the best strategies for writing well?” 

Writers (anyone who communicates through writing) can do many things to improve the clarity, correctness, and impact of their writing. Based on my years of helping clients improve their writing, here are my top 5 strategies. 

1. Use the Rhetorical Subject as the Grammatical Subject. 

The grammatical subject is the word in the “subject’s place.” Sometimes, the “doer” of the main action is not the grammatical subject (the word serving as the subject to the main verb). Consider this sentence: 

“Finding a solution is our greatest concern.”  Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Authors, Editing, Writing

“Commas for Lunch”, a free on-line workshop.

Learn to use commas correctly, leading to professional and clear writing. “Commas for Lunch”, a one-hour on-line course by David Bowman, chief editor of Precise Edit. Date: Sept. 24, 2010 Time: 1:00 p.m. EST. 18 seat maximum Attendance is Free. COURSE FULL.

Stay tuned–We’ll do this again.

UPDATE: 0 Seats remain.

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing

Create a Well-Formatted Document

Some time ago I posted an article titled “Basic Computer Skills for Authors.” Then I wrote an article titled “Converting for Kindle” that gave tips on how to format a document and upload it to Kindle using basic HTML. After reformatting Word documents for clients, I realized that a third article is imperative, “Creating a Well-Formatted Document.” 

Consistent Format

When reviewing a document before I begin to reformat, the first thing I notice is inconsistency, as if the author were thinking, “Shouldn’t documents have multiple font settings, font sizes, and headings? Isn’t a document that’s fully clad more appealing to the reader? Shouldn’t I show the reader that I’m mad by doing this to the word mad: MAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?” 

No. They shouldn’t, it isn’t, and he shouldn’t.  Continue reading


Filed under Writing

Commas with Pairs of Adjectives

Age, color, shape, material, and nationality are never coordinate.

We adapted this blog post from one of our answers on Yahoo! Answers. The asker asked a common question about whether or not to put a comma between adjectives. 

Is this comma needed: “I’m a 46-year-old, married woman living in the suburbs”? 

The short answer is “No.” 

Now, here is the long answer.  Continue reading


Filed under Editing, Writing

Dependent & Independent Clauses

True or False: a Dependent Clause does not have a Subject-Verb relationship?

Occasionally, we answer questions on Yahoo! Answers. Below is our response to the question in the title of this blog, chosen as “best” by Yahoo! voters.

Our Answer

False. By definition, a clause has a subject-verb combination, whether it is dependent or independent. Perhaps you are thinking of a phrase, which does not have the subject-verb combination.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Editing, Writing