A Matter of Style. Copy Editing Basics. Janitor. Gatekeeper. Clarity Accuracy Tone Reputation. SOME MAIN AREAS. Punctuation Periods Question Marks Exclamation points Commas Semicolons Colons Dashes Parentheses Brackets Apostrophes Quotation Marks Mechanics Abbreviations
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Copy Editing Basics
News organizations almost always have a memory device for which kinds of roads get an abbreviation:
(IF YOU LISTEN, you can hear the hyphen; two words that want to be hyphenated are typically run together in speaking, with less of a pause between them than when they follow later in the sentence. Try it.)
“Dude!” he said.
“Dude!” he said.
Titles of long works go in italics; short works, in quotes:
Over … news style says that with numbers, where it very frequently creeps in, over is replaced with more than. Not He was over six feet tall, and there were over 2,000 people protesting, but more than in both cases.
And speaking of goodness, the correct form is: for goodness’ sake; a day’s work; your money’s worth, a good night’s sleep. These are obscure possessives for which no one can handily explain the reason, and they are beginning to fade out of use even in good publications, but technically they are still the right way to do it. Another mysterious possessive construction, but correct: A friend of my son’s, a friend of his, a friend of hers.
A few more fall in the category of words whose meaning has gotten lost over time, or is in the process of doing so:
palmed off pawned off
rein in reigned in