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Copy editors look things up

Those of you still enmeshed in antiquated reality-based, accuracy-inclined enterprises that limit your freedom to make things up to suit your (or your employer’s) views might want to have a look at Katharine O’Moore-Klopf’s KOK Edit site.

The Copyeditors’ Knowledge Base page at that site—yes, she makes copy editor one word, but press on—has several useful categories, of which the handiest may be the Editing Tools section, which in turn displays a wealth of links to sites on which you can look things up. She takes some pains at maintaining and updating the links. You might just want to put Editing Tools on your desktop, or perhaps to go through it and bookmark the links most useful to your work.


Posted by John McIntyre at 8:25 PM | | Comments (2)


I am honored by your post, kind sir. Thank you.

In the book-publishing world, copyeditor is more common than copy editor. Back in the mists of time (the early 1980s), I was a newspaper journalist, and I called those professionals who vetted my news stories copy editors. I suppose that in journalists' eyes, my move to publishing was a move to the dark side.

One of the best pieces of advice I learned from my copy editing instructor in college was "Editors don't guess; they know." This requires looking an awful lot of things up.

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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