5 Tips About Freelance Work

Self-employment is not for everyone, but many publishing professionals thrive, or at least survive, in a freelance capacity. Before you decide whether to join them, however, keep these factors in mind: You probably won’t get rich from freelance writing or editing, but the qualitative rewards are manifest. Self-employed editorial professionals are hereby excused from useless, … Read more

Handle Popular Culture Terms with Care

Writers and editors must exercise caution when using terms and idioms that organically develop in popular culture. A misunderstanding of meaning or implication can adversely affect the message or impact of written content, so if you’re unsure about something, take a little time to research an unfamiliar or ambiguous word or phrase online. Sometimes, a … Read more

10 Types of Hyphenation Errors

I’ve written more than once about hyphens, including this previous post, but it remains a troublesome topic, so I’ll approach it from this direction, too: the categories of hyphenation errors. 1. Omitting Hyphens in Phrasal Adjectives Some phrasal adjectives (including “civil rights,” “stock market,” and “high school”) don’t require hyphenation when they appear before a … Read more

The Other N-Words

My recent post about terms for ethnic groups prompted a note from a site visitor proposing that I write about taboo words. I was not niggardly in my gratitude to the correspondent for his suggestion. Did your eyes just pop out when you read the fourth word in that last sentence? Unlikely, because most DailyWritingTips.com … Read more

A 10-Point Comma Quiz

Here’s a quiz: Do the following sentences require an additional comma (or perhaps two), the omission of an existing one (or two), or both? Answers and explanations follow. 1. The word breakfast literally means to break the fasting period of your night’s sleep, so you can refuel for the day. 2. The first scene takes … Read more

A Training Camp for Aspiring Book Authors

I met Jonathan Fields last year. We were both speaking at the Blog World 2010 conference, and he also attended a small meetup I had organized for online entrepreneurs. During that meetup I was quite impressed with his business and marketing ideas, so I started following his work. Last week he sent me an email … Read more

How to Style Names of Food

When it comes to names of comestibles and beverages, whether to capitalize proper names that are part of their names can give one indigestion. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary tends to uppercase such terms — though it often (but not always) advises that capitalization is not necessary — but The Chicago Manual of Style recommends lowercase forms. … Read more

A Substantive Editor Is a Writer’s Coach

Various editorial job titles abound — editorial director, managing editor, senior editor, for starters — but one you probably won’t see on a business card is “substantive editor.” Yet it’s the most important responsibility in the editorial process. Why, then, is it so obscure? The answer is simple: Substantive editing is a function undertaken by … Read more

Terms About Courts and the Judicial System

As with any government sector, the US judicial system is ruled by specific nomenclature that distinguishes one type of court from another, as well as other points of style: The US Supreme Court — US can be spelled out, but there’s no need to do so — should be designated as such, with the initials … Read more

How to Style Numbers

When you write a number that will appear in print or online, do you use figures, or spell it out? If you want to follow an authoritative source to produce professional-looking content, the answer is both more complicated and simpler than you think. (We already covered part of this topic with the article “10 Rules … Read more

7 Types of Euphemism

Euphemisms, words or phrases that substitute for provocative or emotionally charged terms, are employed for various reasons: 1. Abstraction: Some euphemisms serve to distance people from unpleasant or embarrassing truths, as when we say that a dead person passed away or a celebrity who has canceled an appearance is suffering from exhaustion. 2. Indirection: A … Read more

7 Editing Pet Peeves

We all have our editorial idiosyncrasies. Here are seven words, phrases, or other subjects that make me peevish: 1. “Beg the Question” If you see this phrase in print, it’s likely to mean “to bring up an obvious question,” as in “That begs the question of how we are going to balance the budget” or … Read more