Wikipedia talk:Basic copyediting

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Punctuation problem across Wikipedia, even on this how to copy edit page![edit]

I've never been surprised to see this mistake on regular pages, but to see it on the "how to copy edit" page is quite shocking. Periods and commas go INSIDE of quotation marks. Semicolons and colons go OUTSIDE. Question marks and exclamation points go INSIDE if they are part of the quote, and OUTSIDE if they are not.

For example:

This is the "encyclopedia that anyone can edit", and they do!
SHOULD BE
This is the "encyclopedia that anyone can edit," and they do!

Further information: link.

Please keep this in mind when copy editing in the future! Thanks! 24.34.94.110 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 00:16, 9 May 2011 (UTC).

Please don't. Not without changing Wikipedia's WP:LQ guideline. Even your own link distinguishes American English from British English, although that distinction is a little oversimplified. The Wikipedia guideline follows British English on this detail. See WP:ENGVAR for a discussion of American and British English on Wikipedia. You are welcome to argue for a change to Wikipedia's controversial logical punctuation guideline. But please don't ignore WP:LQ without even trying to change it. Art LaPella (talk) 02:44, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

changed an example about commas and cities[edit]

There was an example in the article about putting commas after both city and country, and it said "He was born in London, England, after the great fire." Since London is a global city I think it would be better to say "He was born in London after the great fire." I changed the example to a less-known place (Vilnius, Lithuania) which does demonstrate this rule. Bluerasberry (talk) 17:24, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

Verb Conjugation[edit]

Often I find articles in which the author uses plural verb forms when there are singular subjects. Just now I edited the Bioshock article from "... the character to be invisible when they're not moving" to "...when he isn't moving". Since the subject is "the character" the verb and pronoun need to be singular as well. Is there a green light on these kinds of edits or no? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 68.198.52.115 (talk) 02:57, August 20, 2007 (UTC)

It's called Singular they - in some cases when the singular subject doesn't have a certain gender, some writers feel that "they" is the most appropriate pronoun. --MathiasRav 23:22, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I'm against it; it only demonstrates ignorance, since "he" and its relatives don't indicate gender anyway. Incidentally, I'd like to know whether the opposite of "plural" is "single" or "singular." Unfree (talk) 21:06, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

-ize -ise[edit]

I was under the impression that -ize was only acceptable in American English, and -ise only in British English...? Neonumbers 10:51, 1 May 2005 (UTC)

I agree. At least in Australian english, which is much closer to British english, the -ize ending is considered to be incorrect. Dmharvey 16:48, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)
It may be considered incorrect, but that's a common misconception. -ize is of course correct, this spelling has always existed in every English-speaking country. The Australian Journal of Linguistics even prefers -ize... SpNeo 02:04, 29 October 2005 (UTC)
  • There's a fairly good summary of the -ize/-ise situation at [1]. Some words, such as advertise, always have the -ise suffix. Some other words traditionally use the -ize suffix, but the newer -ise variant is commonly used in British English (unless it's for a stylistically conservative publisher). Apparently words are in the latter group if their -ize suffix is derived from Greek, though that may not be the easiest way of remembering the rule in practice. Factitious 06:35, Jun 25, 2005 (UTC)

Why aren't these pages copy-edited?[edit]

An occasional complaint is: "Why aren't these pages copy-edited?" Or, from folks who've been here a bit longer: "Why aren't these pages wikified?" ("Wikifying" is the process of adding links and basic formatting). The answer, of course, is very simple: it's because you, and others like you, have idly passed by mistakes when you saw them. Instead, you could have corrected them (simply click on the Edit this page tab at the top of the page, fix, and save), which would have prevented others from wondering the same thing. This is usually easier, faster, and less emotional than spending the time typing a complaint. So get on the ball - go out there and edit now! Be bold!

That's a little, say, provocative isn't it?

Literally so. It's intended to provoke people into correcting the errors they find. Factitious July 9, 2005 02:10 (UTC)
It's manifestly literal; more to the point, it's intentional. Unfree (talk) 21:10, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

Its a bit accusing :)Journalist C./ Holla @ me!

I'd prefer "accusatory" in this context. Unfree (talk) 21:10, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
Oops! I missed that "its." Shame on us! Unfree (talk) 21:13, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

I agree. There is no onus on anyone to edit anything in wikipedia; the encyclopedia is meant to be free with no conditions. Furthermore, guilting everyone into editing will most likely lead to edits from inexperienced users and people with poor grammatical skills. Thus, I believe this paragraph should be recomposed. Jerram (talk) 14:32, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

I've done a fairly massive editing job here -- was actually wondering whether people come by regularly and mess it up just because that's funny. Especially comical was the alt. text for "typo" in the beginning of the article; it was like "tyop" or something. Brilliant! :) Sugarbat (talk) 03:05, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

copy-editing instructions[edit]

Hi, can someone either point me to the page that explains how to take the page out of the copy-edit rotation when you're done copy-editing it, or else add those instructions to the page with the list of articles? I did an article before I realized that I didn't know what needed to be done to finish it up. I removed the copy-edit template from the article and also removed it from the list on the "tasks you can do" list. (It seemed to remove itself from the alphabetical list of articles.) Anything else? Thank you! --Elizabeth 19:05, 19 July 2005 (UTC)

You use the "Tab" key. By the way, there's a guideline for headings: the first letter should be capitalized. Unfree (talk) 21:16, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

Trivial and ironic change[edit]

I changed "Blatant copy-editing mistakes, look bad, even trivial, and they should be corrected as soon as possible" to "Blatant copy-editing mistakes, even trivial ones, look bad, and they should be corrected as soon as possible," as otherwise my irony meter might have exploded. Manticore 14:27, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

I changed trivial to small because I thought trivial made the errors sounds unimportant. Small, though it points to the "size" of an error, does not by that designation mean that something is insignificant. "For want of a nail ..." Scrawlspacer 20:47, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
What's wrong with "blatant mistakes in editing copy"? Unfree (talk) 21:19, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

Pages needing copy-editing[edit]

Where is the relevant list - which is what I would expect on coming to this page.

It is right here: Articles needing copy edit.--Song 21:32, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
Wow! Thanks! Unfree (talk) 21:20, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

Dear Board Members[edit]

What's with all that "Dear Board Members" stuff in the "Correcting Grammar" section? It doesn't look like it makes any sense, but for some reason, I'm afraid to delete it. I can't get through it without my eyes crossing, so maybe it's relevant... but I sorta doubt it. Any ideas? --NymphadoraTonks 20:48, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

It seems to have vanished now. Unfree (talk) 21:31, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

Broken link?[edit]

The link 'Wikipedia:Manual of Style#"See also" and "Related topics" sections' appears to be broken. Is it meant to be 'Help:Section#"See_also"_line_or_section'? JDX 06:09, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Grammar[edit]

What is the wikipedia policy on grammar? I have found no wikipedia policy or style page which indicates which grammar wikipedia favours. Rintrah 04:44, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

Try here:Wikipedia:Manual of Style. Each section has links to more detailed information. Broadly speaking, the Wikipedia style manual follows the Chicago Manual of Style and the Guardian style guide. There's a tolerance of American, British, and other English styles, though individual pages should try to remain consistent.qp10qp 21:57, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
It certainly does not follow either of those two hard-copy styleguides. Tony (talk) 14:35, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
What doesn't? "Wikipedia:Manual of Style" itself? Does it need work? Unfree (talk) 21:41, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

Copy-editing requests[edit]

I'm unsure about this, so I'm going to ask here: is there by chance a page where one could request another to copy-edit an article? It's difficult for authors to copy-edit their own material because it's their own writing. For example, I find it hard to edit my work since my eyes seem to avoid what I've typed and I assume it's correct. Is there a page for requesting third parties to copy-edit articles? Never Mystic (tc) 16:49, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

Yes. Place copyedit, within two curly brackets ({{ }}) at the top of the page. Conor 04:12, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Two questions before I fix[edit]

Why is shortened word forms used instead of contractions, which is what's meant in the reference to can't, won't, don't, etc.? It's a good bet visitors to this page are going to know what a contraction is (especially when examples are given).

Also, what does this even mean: In extreme cases, an impartial Wikipedian questions whether English is the editor's first language. The article's present tense sounds strained here, and I don't think an example of an "extreme" case is necessary. I think the rest of the paragraph is clear enough without it, and there's something sort of unnecessarily anecdotal about it that's rubbing me funny. Besides, there's a slight number-agreement problem (only one impartial Wikipedian, one editor, but more than one "extreme case"). Can we take it out?

Sugarbat 06:07, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

That problem has apparently disappeared. Unfree (talk) 21:48, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

comments[edit]

IMO, this page needs a copy-edit itself. It's rather slender. The external link needs to be explicitly put into context (it needs a copy-edit and has in turn links to dodgy sites). More internal links could appear at the bottom. Tony 10:24, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

whilst[edit]

I've never heard of "whilst" being branded formal. British English, absolutely, but formal? I would agree with the prohibition on "utilize", as it's quite unnecessary; "in order to" may well read/flow better than "to", but is generally superfluous. But "whilst"? That seems really rather silly. Here on Airstrip One, I hear people saying "whilst" quite regularly, and entirely informally, though my friends from North America regard it as quaint and archaic. But not formal, to the best of my knowledge. DrPizza 13:34, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

I disagree; I think it's unnecessary, and "while" shows the same meaning. If we allow "whilst", we might as well allow "hitherto" and so on. — Deckiller 16:28, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
"color" and "colour" show the same meaning, but both of them are acceptable. "while" and "whilst" should be in the same boat, as far as I can tell. The claims of "formality" levelled at "whilst" are wrong. DrPizza 11:20, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Oh, it's common in British English? I was just following Tony1's comments with that one. I'd say remove it from the misplaced formality section unless it's in an article predominantly American English, then. — Deckiller 16:16, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
"Whilst" is quite common across the sea (and in some bubble-and-squeak pockets here in the US); I've edited to clarify that. I don't think there's anything formal about "whereas," mostly because I think there's no reasonable/simpler alternative (except for "while," but that doesn't have exactly the same meaning as "whereas" in some contexts. "At the same time" might be less fancified, but has four syllables, and is thereby disqualified, or, "right out"). But "hitherto" can be said "until now," or "so far," each of which has only two syllables, and is therefore better. :) Sugarbat (talk) 03:14, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
What's wrong with "hitherto"? Unimaginative Username 05:26, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
For one thing, "hither" is itself archaic. Also, since "hitherto" means "hither," it is, and always was, redundant. We use "here" nowadays for both hither and hence (meaning "herefrom"), and rarely bother distinguishing between the senses of "towards" or "away from," unless it matters. As for "while," I think it's best reserved for use in the sense of "during," that is, the time sense. Otherwise, "though" and "although" express the meaning less ambiguously. Unfree (talk) 22:03, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
There's something downright poetic about you, Unfree, even, above, WHILST you're being prosaic (literally). I coin: "proemsaic"; that's what you are. Also, your punctuation is yums. Sugarbat (talk) 03:19, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
Hitherto can mean up till now. Here does not convey the same meaning; neither does it adequately substitute for hence which can be used to mean therefore. Lambanog (talk) 07:38, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

Scope of copy edits[edit]

I'm having difficulty interpreting these guidelines in the case of substantial copyediting changes to an article. It would not be surprising to find an article with several minor spelling / grammar / capitalization / hyphenation issues, and perhaps a couple of easily revised sentence fragments. Is it best to apply all these changes in one go? Or should they be split up, into dozens of individually inconsequential ones? Applied section-by-section for the whole article? Applied like-for-like, i.e. all spelling corrections in one go, hyphenation corrections in one go, etc.? How can one write effective edit summaries when there is broad or extensive copyediting work?

How does reverting work in such a case? If edits are split up, even if only by section, then it becomes difficult to revert an edit early in the history while retaining the later ones. However the other case, the "one big edit," seems just as problematical. Advice to this newcomer would be appreciated! --Iamgrim 22:32, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Just make all the changes in one go. This makes the page history easier to read. For the edit summary you can just write something like 'extensive copyediting' or 'various spelling and grammar corrections'. If any reverts are needed they can be achieved by editing the article, if necessary using copy and paste from an earlier version of the article. S Sepp 21:27, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
I usually edit one section at a time to prevent edit conflicts. But if it's a backwater article, then making it all in one go shouldn't be an issue. Writing "copy-edit" is usually good enough. — Deckiller 21:05, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
  • This strikes me as an interesting point. I've noticed that editors are split on this issue; some editors regularly make dozens of small edits one after another with good individual edit summaries, while other editors (like myself) are prone to rewrite an entire 150k article in one go and call it "reworded for clarity". I actually think the former might be preferable, since it gives other editors individual "bites" to digest. However, it can also make the edit history more confusing. Personally, I recommend using small bite-sized edits whenever there's any active or "heated" editing going on, especially in an edit-war zone. But my point here is actually that I think this issue might deserve further discussion, and some guidelines might be in order in the article. I know I had essentially the same question as Iamgrim, back when I started editing. I imagine we're not the only two who have, huh? Eaglizard 23:22, 18 September 2007 (UTC)
I find that one advantage of doing it in sections or bits is that if you screw up while editing and have to cancel, you don't lose all of the good edits you've made that haven't been saved yet. Sort of like saving a word document frequently. Another is that after editing one section, upon reviewing it you often see other changes to be made. Gets very tiring to keep re-reading if you're doing the whole article at once. Another is that if you have some small notations that explain to others why the change was made, there is less chance of someone reverting the edit because they don't understand the rule of grammar (or whatever) involved. I've sometimes gone overboard on this, which is a mistake, but something like "rm redundancy", "clarity", "punc" "misplaced modifier", etc. can help others to understand why the changes were made (especially the writer whose words are being edited). But that is all just this editor's POV. Regards, Unimaginative Username 05:33, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

External links vs. references[edit]

Under Common copy-edits is this bullet point (3rd from the bottom):

  • External links generally belong at the end of an article under a heading titled "External links". References are an exception and should match the link in the reference section; these are then handled automatically.

I think the second sentence is very unclear (especially to the newbie), but I'm not sure how to improve it. Probably a couple more sentences will have to be added. I hope someone will help. Thanks! Scrawlspacer 21:02, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Hear, hear! I'm sure this is all explained adequately elsewhere, but where? Unfree (talk) 22:09, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

"Prohibited" vs "forbidden"[edit]

I just want to note that I disagree with the example of prohibited as being overly formal language, to be replaced (apparently) by forbidden. These are two entirely different words. To prohibit something can also mean to simply prevent it from happening (as in, Anoxia prohibits metabolism), while to forbid is simply to state one's intention to prohibit. Imo. Eaglizard 22:47, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

And I'll add that to me, neither one is more or less formal than the other. Forbidden has one fewer syllable, but otherwise seems just as stuffy. If you want to be informal, I suggest the phrase not allowed. Randall Nortman 18:54, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
We don't want to be informal in an encyclopedia, but needn't be stuffy either. Both are perfectly fine words, with possibly slightly different shades of connotation. For example, from [2]:

Forbid, a common and familiar word, usually denotes a direct or personal command of this sort: I forbid you to go. It was useless to forbid children to play in the park. ... Prohibit, a formal or legal word, means usually to forbid by official edict, enactment, or the like: to prohibit the sale of liquor.

Unimaginative Username 05:39, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Why aren't these pages copyedited, restored[edit]

With some minor modifications, I have restored the section show above as "Why aren't these pages copyedited", because I think it is an excellent addition to the article. I don't think it's "accusing", now. After all, isn't asking readers to become editors precisely the heart of Wikipedia? Eaglizard 23:40, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

However, I believe that guilting people into editing will lead to greater input from those with inferior writing skills.Jerram (talk) 14:37, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Can someone tell me why "wikified" features so prominently, when the article concerns "copy-editing"? And the two terms are not adequately distinguished. Anything wrong with leaving the "wikified" out, or till later in the article? Tony (talk) 13:48, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Yes, well, I think it rather hypocritical in the sense that, realistically, 'wikified' is not a word. Jerram (talk) 14:37, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

"Whereas" and "While"[edit]

I'm not convinced that "whereas" (in mid-position) is all that formal, or at least no more so than "while." I also discern a slight difference in connotation between the two. "Whereas" suggests a neutral "flat" contrast, whereas "while" is a bit more pointed, with a hint of slightly arch surprise. Whereas "Whereas" at the start of a sentence does sound rather archaic or legalistic, in mid-position I find it useful and not at all pompous.

Anyone else noticed this? The DGH got 210 votes, whereas the POK only managed to collect 23. The DGH got 210 votes, while the POK only managed to collect 23. Toroboro 21:02, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

I wonder what DGH and POK mean. Unfree (talk) 22:13, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

Copy-editing versus NPOV correction[edit]

Under "Etiquette", changed the wording to clarify that c/e does not include correcting POV issues, which should be corrected before requesting c/e. Discussion of this issue was at the project "Criteria" page. Unimaginative Username 04:36, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Remove the hyphen, please.[edit]

This page should be moved to "Wikipedia talk:How to copy edit"

See this link for a professional example of how to use the term "copy edit."

Also, almost all of the places on this page where it says "copy-edit" should be replaced with "copy edit." An exception would be if copy edit is used as an adjective, such as "copy-editing software." Fredsmith2 (talk) 01:19, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, I disagree. Normal usage is copy-edit, copy-editing etc, with a hyphen - or at least it's just as common as the non-hyphen variety. See the wikipedia article on copy editing, and note, for example, Butcher's Copy-Editing, published by Cambridge University Press. GNUSMAS : TALK 18:06, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for showing that it could be either. For consistency, I would recommend either following through with my initial suggestion (while recognizing that either spelling is valid), or move the Copy editing page to Copy-editing, changing the initial text to read, "Copy-editing (also copy editing or copyediting) is the..." Which would you prefer? Fredsmith2 (talk) 00:22, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Ah... I can accept either version, but I think in general the hyphenated form is better and easier to understand at a glance. In this particular case, for instance, it's immediately clear in "how to copy-edit" that "copy-edit" is a compound verb, not a combination of verb (copy) + noun (edit). I find "how to copy edit" less clear, and (fleetingly) open to misreading. I did once try (years ago) to get Copy editing moved to Copy-editing, and met a barrage of (mostly American) objections, founded (as far as I could see) on nothing more than prejudice and unawareness that the whole world does not speak American. Maybe my preference for the hyphen is largely a matter of British habit. I wish you luck! GNUSMAS : TALK 08:41, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Oh, go on; you're all nuts! Copy editing is just editing copy. "Copy" is simply newspaper jargon for "text to be copied" or "copied text." We might call it "editing text," or simply "editing," but gosh, we deserve a jargon of our own! Unfree (talk) 22:22, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

Tangent from the hyphen discussion. The source above talks about copy editing as opposed to developmental editing, essentially copy versus structure. I find a lot of writing here needing better structure. We seem to usually get some big buckets of information, becuase of the heading structure, but often within paragraphs and sections, information is not organized well, with repetition, lack of structure, mishmashing facts together even within a sentence. If someone asks me to copyedit a piece, I would also want to improve the structure, especially at the micro level.TCO (talk) 02:11, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

Disambig?[edit]

Don't we want to add also disambiguation of links, with the help of software like Wikipedia Cleaner? Randomblue (talk) 20:54, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Why have these pages not been copy-edited?[edit]

I know we've discussed this before, but this section is written in such a negative and off-putting way. In particular, this bit strikes me as over-the-top: It's because you, and others like you have passed by mistakes when you saw them. Instead, you could have corrected them by simply clicking on the "Edit this page" tab at the top of the page, fixing the error, and saving. To my mind, this technique of blaming (and blaming someone interested enough to click on WP:COPYEDIT!) is offensive, and I would stop reading immediately when I came to such a statement. GreenGourd (talk) 17:48, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

As seen above, I agree. Jerram (talk) 14:38, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

There's an embarrassing spelling error in that subsection; a few other things need fixing, too. The tone should have a certain formatlity, too, while still being friendly. Tony (talk) 15:32, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

lol nice find there Tony...whoops..

I disagree. That style strikes me as a useful and stimulating "coaching" style, and though it may come across as a bit preachy or authoritarian, "Good on it!", I say. You're just misreading it, GreenGourd. Take it for what it is, not so much accusatory as inspirational! Unfree (talk) 22:35, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

Semi-Protection[edit]

It appears that this page, like many others, has become the target for indiscriminant vandalism recently. Semi-protecting the page will keep the vandals out and move them on to other things. 211.29.174.54 (talk) 14:17, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

It seems to be all right now. Unfree (talk) 22:38, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

Common copy-edits[edit]

Can someone more familiar with WP:MOS than I am please make the following point consistent, perhaps by putting style (wiki ''style'') or 'style' (wiki {{'}}''style''{{'}}) instead of 'style' (wiki ''''style'''')?

  • Words that are being defined, described, or referenced as words, should be italicized. Example: The term 'style' can refer to the layout and context of an article.

Certes (talk) 15:04, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

Done. Unfree (talk) 22:42, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

"Article is being copy-edited" tag?[edit]

Folks, is there a tag that can be put on an article to indicate that it is being copy-edited, requesting other editors to refrain from editing while the copy-edit is in process? If not, I think we need one. Thanks.  – ukexpat (talk) 19:33, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

{{in use}} is what I would use. - Dan Dank55 (talk) 04:01, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
Boy, is that an old issue! Wikipedia does it best! Unfree (talk) 22:45, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

WP:MOS "See also"[edit]

This article has just been added to the See also section of WP:MoS, so it could do with a little polish. There was a hidden comment in the first section asking if it was bossy ... it was, a bit, and also longer than it needed to be. I moved it to the lead and shortened it up; is there anything else that needs saying there? - Dan Dank55 (talk) 04:04, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

I'm going to replace the dash with a comma. Unfree (talk) 22:49, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

Avoiding contractions[edit]

Is this really consensus? My feeling, based on what many editors seem to do, is no. Overuse of contractions can seem excessively conversational, but I don't think there's any blanket prohibition on using them in articles. Even in academic writing, a prohibition on contractions is in many areas nowadays seen as somewhat old-fashioned and no longer followed. --Delirium (talk) 00:59, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

AP Style Manual says "Contractions reflect informal speech and writing." TCMOS is silent. You're right that we're nearing a tipping point, because so much "persuasive" speech these days is written in blogs and in the style of blogs. Still, it's important to the project as a whole to have a solid core of articles that sound just as formal as the other online encyclopedias, it helps give us a certain dignity. There's no need for every article to be written in that style, though. As a compromise, we say: if you want to write a featured article, it has to follow WP:MoS, and it's also the "safe" thing to do to follow WP:MoS, because we've put a lot of effort into following the lead of large numbers of professional copywriters. But styles vary; in fact, we've just started conducting a large study of writing style of articles as they first enter WP:GAN, at Good article usage. - Dan Dank55 (talk) 03:08, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Commas (for Danke55)[edit]

Howdy -- haven't had time yet today to go through all your edits, but I do appreciate the compliment, and thanks. :) This is confusing me, though: (→Common edits: Actually, that's wrong, in Wikipedia; search for "logical quotation" in WP:MOS I'm assuming you're saying the whole section you deleted (about comma usage) is wrong, but not only do I not agree, I don't see evidence of it on the page you cite. Can you be more specific about what you think is wrong in that section (as I wrote it)? Thanks! Sugarbat (talk) 18:30, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Yes, we very much need people with a good sense of language as article reviewers, especially at WP:GAN and WP:GAR, I hope you'll join us. Did you search for "logical quotation" on WP:MOS? Wikipedia follows the rule of almost always using the same punctuation marks inside a quote as the source did. The most common exception is that double quotes will usually be changed to single quotes. If there's no period at the end of the quoted material, Wikipedia puts the period outside the quotation marks. Did I misunderstand what you were saying? - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 18:35, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes -- I think you did misunderstand. Can you do me a favor and re-read the part I wrote (that you deleted)? I didn't actually get that deep into detail about context; I was mostly just guiding users on the use of general punctuation use in/outside quotation marks. Lots and lots and lots (and lots) of people love to put the comma outside of the end-quotes (for example: Jane said, "Maybe", which was a dumb thing for her to have said.), which is never, as far as I know, acceptable -- regardless of whether the comma was part of the quote or not. I didn't talk at all about punctuation of the original quote, etc. -- I figured that kind of detail was best covered elsewhere than the general-guidelines section.
The thing you say (above) about the period going outside of the quotation marks -- I've never seen that anywhere, under any circumstances. Maybe *I'm* misunderstanding *you*? Are you saying that:
Jane said, "I covered that earlier." should be Jane said, "I covered that earlier".? That can't be what you mean. Even if there were additional, non-quote material in the sentence after the last quote of Jane's, and if that quote were not a complete sentence, there should still (always almost always) be a comma (and never a period, even if that quote were a complete sentence) after that last quote, but before the period at the very end of the sentence, like so:
At first, Jane said, "No," but then she said "Yes," and at that point I gave her the tomato.
or
I thought that gesture meant "up," but was told later that it meant "down," so I waited for further instruction.'' Sugarbat (talk) 19:52, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
P.S. "People with a good sense of language" should be "people with good senses of language," since there are many different, but good, senses of language, and not all people with "good" ones have the same ones. You'll find me correcting thousands of little glitches like that; please know it in advance and start hating me now.  :) Sugarbat (talk) 19:54, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
If I said "People with knowledge of European languages", would you correct me to "knowledges", since there's more than one? And note that I put the comma after the quotation marks both times, which is not what I tend to do when writing in a blog, but WP:MoS recommends it. See the first Note at WP:PUNC (which is in WP:MOS) for source material backing this up and an explanation. - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 21:39, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
Whoahsies! As we say in my neighborhood. First, that whole thing with punctuation (commas, periods, etc.) outside of end-quotes is blowing my mind. I've never heard of such a thing, and it certainly doesn't come from Chicago or AP. Can you cite the ()very very original) source for such usage as [languages",] (brackets mine, for clarity) please? Because I'm literally dying of curiousity. (I mean the source outside of WP; I did look at all pages you cite, above, and am nowhere near convinced. In fact, unless someone can point me to a legit source for these shenanigans, I'm of a mind to start correcting everything willy nilly, including the stuff on those pages, too. "Note," indeed!
As for "knowledge" v. "knowledges," [note comma] and although I know you're kidding, I'll point out that "knowledge," like "deer," [note commas] can be singular or plural, depending on context. Also, there is no such thing as "knowledges," except maybe in Middle-earth. So the answer is no, I wouldn't correct as above. Lovesies, Sugarbat (talk) 22:02, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
(Post scriptsies: Let me be clear about the above: There are definitely instances where punctuation goes outside (e.g., to the right of) end-quotes. But not in the above examples, and I can't think of a single case where a comma appropriately belongs in such a spot (outside of end-quote). Don't everybody come at me with semantical hoo ha. Sugarbat (talk) 22:07, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
P.P.S. Ok. I think I understand what's happening here. There's a difference b/w standard English and standard American usage w/r/t commas & semicolons, and other stuff, such as whether beer should be warm. I also suspected there was maybe a hitch resulting from html syntax, etc., wherein sometimes it's necessary to dispense with punctuation convention in the interest of technical accuracy. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quotation_mark#Punctuation. I think what we need to do, then, is just maintain consistency within single articles, as we do when deciding on spellings such as color v. colour, etc. Since I've been copy-editing in America, I have American rules burned into my brain, and thus tend to correct that way. But I will try to keep the other set of rules in mind, and not tamper as long as they're consistent within an article. Fair? Sugarbat (talk) 22:24, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
Right, conventions vary. Unlike Americans, the English put the periods ("full stops") outside the quotes, and commas, too. We put them inside mainly for typographical considerations. By the way, countable nouns are handled distinctly from measurable ones. Knowledge isn't countable, but measurable ("mensurate"), I think. Unfree (talk) 23:08, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

Logical quotation[edit]

←Here's the longest discussion on the subject from the WT:MoS archives, and here's some useful information from a Canadian style guide. Most things that are in both TCMOS and the AP Stylebook are perfectly okay in American-English articles in Wikipedia, but WP:MoS recommends against this one. Most people outside the U.S. use logical quotation, and so do most Americans writing in technical and academic contexts. Consensus seems to have been fairly strong on this point since 2002 on Wikipedia, for some or all of the following reasons:

  1. It's not just a matter of style or preference. Allowing punctuation inside the quotation marks that wasn't in the original can convey false information, even intentionally false information. A Point-of-view-pusher might write that a politician said "I'm angry." Maybe the politician said "I'm angry about food prices"; let's not give the POV-pusher the right to invent a period inside the quotation marks just because it's at the end of a sentence. Except for the addition of single-quotes, ellipses and brackets, punctuation is generally preserved faithfully inside quotation marks on Wikipedia. Not allowing material to change as it passes from one text to the next also helps avoid the telephone game.
  2. If someone outside North America sees the word "color", it may look odd for a moment, but it doesn't convey false information. A period within quotation marks that wasn't in the source will convey false information about where the sentence ended in the source material, since most non-Americans think that a period inside quotations was present in the original.
  3. The American convention is sometimes ambiguous in technical publications. Dots sometimes denote unknown information, so a gene sequence might be described as "A.GTA." A url fragment might or might not contain a dot at the end. It's better not to have to guess what was meant.

- Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 02:43, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

Believe it or not, I agree with all of the above. I don't like to support a rule with no other argument than that it's a rule, and sadly the English language, in application and interpretation, is full of craziness that even native English-speakers often find enormously frustrating.
Too, it's always easier to remember a rule when it makes sense, and the more familiar you are with your tools the more comfortable they are in the handling, and the more attention you can pay to what you're making as you use them. However, I'll probably still, in my original writing and in the editing of articles written in the style with which I'm familiar, use the quote/punctuation rules I'm used to, but I'll freely confess it's because I'll make fewer mistakes w/r/t consistency that way, and not because I believe those rules are necessarily best. So please don't think I'm arguing any of this on the basis of nothing but canon.
If you really want to see me angry, for fun say to me, "between you and I," or pronounce "short-lived" where "live" rhymes with "give."  :) Sugarbat (talk) 17:18, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
I found in a dictionary that the short i was preferred in the US, and the long i in the UK. Since my parents often tended towards UK practices, so do I, but I know I'm crazy. I also found out that "buoy" is a homonym of "boy," and that pronouncing it "boo-E" comes from Long Island, New York. But since Long Island is so close to New York City, which has a strong influence on the media, it seems to be spreading. Coming from Long Island myself, I have good excuses for pronouncing it either way. :) Unfree (talk) 23:30, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
Because I'm in love w/you now (Unfree), I'll elaborate* vis a vis (I'm too lazy to French up that "a") "short-(or "long-)lived": The difference between "lived" and "lived" is impossible to tell, unless you're given a context. In this context: "Jane lived a long time," we know that "lived" is the past tense of the verb "[to] live"; thus, a short "i" is used. But if we say "Jane was long-lived," we're actually saying "Jane had a long life," or, "Jane's life was long." If we say "Jane was long-lived" with a short "i," we're somehow implying that "lived" is a state to which Jane was compelled -- a state that was physically long. What does that mean? That's right: Not much. This will help: Let's assume we don't know whether Jane lived for a long or a short time; we only know that she lived. Can we say, "Jane was lived"? I don't think so. Because there's so such passive verb, as far as I know. "Short-lived," in this context, is about the same as "short-changed": In both cases, "short" refers to a measurable noun (see your "knowledge," above) -- a life, a bunch of coins - and the dash clarifies this. In neither context was Jane "lived" or "changed"; the "short" defines the quality or quantity of her life or the change she was given after a transaction.
Sadly, English (and therefore England, and Europe and ancient Rome and Greece and also Persia and I guess also the Vikings if we're being totally fair) is really to blame, for inventing words like "read," to plague us (and I'm a native English-speaker -- God save anyone not born to it actually attempting to learn this hodgepodge of homonyms, etc.): "Read" can't be pronounced properly at all without a context -- and sometimes you need more than just the context within the word's own sentence. Try this: "I read the paper." Is that present or past tense? Your guess is as good as mine; we don't know unless we have more of that sentence, with another verb to give us a clue, or another sentence containing a verb whose tense we can decipher.
So -- "short-lived" does not refer to the fact that A "lived" a short while; it tells us that A's "life" was short. If your dictionary implied that the short versus long "i" is geographic, it was probably mistaken -- although we can extrapolate that, since the UK was using English long before Americans were, its ("her"?) pronunciation (long "i" to refer to "life") was correct, and somewhere along the line, their American cousins (we) got it wrong often enough to make the short "i" fake-legit (another example: the use of "they" in the singular, presumably to avoid having to choose between the conventional "he" and the possibly contextually incorrect "she." Lots of heated "discussions" in WP on this score, so I'm only pointing this out anecdotally, with my opinion lukewarmishly implicit), in which case it's not really a culture-based pronunciation preference as evidence supporting an argument suggesting that the people who used the phrase first probably still use it correctly.
Helps? Sugarbat (talk) 04:26, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
* ...which is another one; without a context, how do you pronounce "elaborate"? Verby or adjectivy? Ha!

Provide some links[edit]

In the section on spelling, it's mentioned that if in doubt, one should "look it up". Would it not be useful to link to Wikipedia:Manual of Style (spelling) or the Language Reference Desk? Zain Ebrahim (talk) 14:03, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

That's a good idea. For North American articles (particularly US), the best link is http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary; AP Stylebook (which most US journalists follow) recommends Websters, with AMHER coming in a close second. But Wikipedia:Manual of Style (spelling) is very helpful, and the REFDESK people are phenomenally good. - Dan Dank55 (talk)(mistakes) 14:29, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Names in italics[edit]

It says that songs shouldn't be in italics and books should be. What about people's names? For instance- should it be: John Lennon was a member of The Beatles or just John Lennon was a member of The Beatles ? Actually, while I'm about it - song titles which I've read on the page are a no - but what about albums? eg - "The Winner Takes It All" is a song from the "Super Trouper" album. Should it be: "The Winner Takes It All" is a song from the "Super Trouper" album --Tuzapicabit (talk) 17:47, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Hisies!1 I have responded to your bat-signal.
First -- no, you wouldn't italicize Lennon's name or "The Beatles" in that context, but you would italicize the title of an album:
John Lennon, member of the Beatles, released Abbey Road in blah blah, 19blah blah.
Your very last sentence, above, is correct -- as long as you remove the quotes from Super Trooper.
I think you might italicize the name of a ship (HMS John Lennon), but I'd look it up to confirm before I'd swear to it in wikicourt.2


We're a winner, S-bat


1 Rhymes with "fivesies"
2 Not real


Thanks for that. So, names - no, songs - no, albums - yes!. Received and understood. Thank you sir ma'am*.--Tuzapicabit (talk) 00:22, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
* :) Sugarbat (talk) 23:00, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Slashes[edit]

In general, I think slashes (strokes, virgules) should be avoided. They have no place in literate English composition, whether formal or informal. They only mean "and/or," and it, too, should be avoided. We've communicated without it for centuries. Choosing "and" or "or" is always better, in my opinion, and remember, "or" alone is not necessarily exclusive; it's usually the best substitute. Unfree (talk) 21:01, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

Deprecated[edit]

I just realized I've been using "disparaged" when I meant "deprecated." How discouraging! Unfree (talk) 21:37, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

Seriously, you remind me of Nabokov. How much do I win if I'm correct in my guess that English isn't your first language? And before you start yelling, please see that thing I just said about Nabokov. Compliment. Compliment! Sugarbat (talk) 04:33, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
How sweet of you, Sugarbat. I'm blushing all over! Unfree (talk) 16:22, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

What are long and short form see also links?[edit]

Peregrine Fisher (talk) (contribs) 18:07, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

  • I'm guessing that "long-form" means a whole section of links under a "See also" subheading, while "short-form" means an italicised See also: line at the top of a section (but if this is true then there's confusion in the sentence about what "section" means; it's used in two places to mean two different things). I don't think it's reasonable to expect readers to understand this sentence as it stands, so I added a "clarification needed" tag. 86.134.43.118 (talk) 14:09, 10 April 2009 (UTC).
I've clarified as best as I can, though it still reads a little clunky. Rather than start with a confusing example, I've moved this dot point to the end. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 14:28, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

While and whilst[edit]

In American English, "whilst" is considered archaic or formal, while, in England, "whilst" is used nearly as often, in written and spoken form, as "while."

This is doubtful. In the sense of "at the same time as", "whilst" is rather formal/literary in British English. In the sense of "although" it is less so, but given the nature of the constructions in which the word is used in that sense, "whilst" still tends not to be a particularly common word in the spoken language. I suggest another example is chosen. 86.134.43.118 (talk) 12:28, 10 April 2009 (UTC).

Apostrophes in decade ranges[edit]

This article says:

If referring to a decade without its century, remember to add an apostrophe in its place: She was born some time in the '80s.

while at Wikipedia:Manual of Style it says:

Decades contain no apostrophe (the 1980s, not the 1980's); the two-digit form is used only where the century is clear (the '80s or the 80s).

This is not consistent. 86.134.43.118 (talk) 12:33, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

No, it is consistent, I think. Note that the first instruction refers to using an apostrophe to indicate that something has been omitted: the "19" in "1980s", whereas the second refers to adding apostrophe-s at the end of the year beginning a decade when referring to the decade itself, where it forms a plural.
A case not addressed is one in which the author wishes to form the possessive of a year ending in -0, such as "In 1911, there was a marked departure from 1910's styles", but there, the need for an apostrophe is obvious. Unfree (talk) 16:17, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
I think you misunderstood the point. The first directive says that you should add an apostrophe when omitting the first two digits of a four-digit decade identifier: She was born some time in the '80s. The second says that either style (with or without the apostrophe) is acceptable: (the '80s or the 80s). 81.152.168.31 (talk) 18:20, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

Unclear passage[edit]

The discovery of pages in need of editing may surprise new visitors to Wikipedia. This is the "encyclopedia that anyone can edit," and they do! This challenge is easily addressed via the process of ongoing proofreading, copy-editing, fact checking, and rewriting by the community of Wikipedia users.

It's not clear whether the people doing the editing in the second sentence are the people who discovered the need in the first, or whether the edits of the people in the second sentence necessitate the editing (copy-editing) mentioned in the first. Is it actually trying to say that, because anyone can edit Wikipedia, articles are sometimes left in a messy state that requires copy-editing? Whatever it means, I think it could be put in a more straightforward way. Also, when we get to "this challenge" it's not very clear what "challenge" is being referred to. 86.134.43.118 (talk) 13:11, 10 April 2009 (UTC).

It's also unclear whether you're mistaking the third sentence for the second, especially since you refer to the word "copy-editing", which occurs in the third sentence. Unclear, too, is whether the passage refers to new visitors' finding pages imperfect, or finding that there exists a list of "pages in need of copy-editing". But vagueness is a fact of life, and trying to eliminate it everywhere can lead to disastrous consequences. (Incidentally, I'd take issue with "via", but that's another story.) Unfree (talk) 15:48, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

While[edit]

I disagree that "while" is a superior substitute for "whereas". As a general rule, I prefer to avoid such time-related words in contexts in which they are meant in non-temporal ways. To use "while" for "whereas", "though", "despite", "but", "however", and so on (There are many ways to suggest that one clause differs in its implications from another!) is to risk ambiguity and delay readers' comprehension, making them proceed further along before discovering which sense of "while" is intended. "Then" is generally an exception, but it is good to be aware that ambiguities, even fleeting ones, are best avoided. Unfree (talk) 15:36, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

While I agree with your comment, I nod my head approvingly ;-)
There are several comments above about while. I see no need to keep such a contentious example on the project page, so I've removed it completely. We could probably use a new example in that position. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 16:03, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

That infernal comma[edit]

The article states:

When not at the end of a sentence, location constructions such as Vilnius, Lithuania, call for a comma after the second element. (Example: He was born in Vilnius, Lithuania, after the country gained independence.) Similarly, a comma is often written after the year in month-day-year date format, unless the date falls at the end of the sentence. (Example: On January 15, 1947, she began tertiary study.)

I would like to request a reference for this. I can understand it for the location example but the date example seems a bit more nebulous. To quote from the Lynch reference given at the bottom of the article:

Some style guides call for omitting the comma after very short prepositional phrases at the beginning of a sentence: not "On Saturday, the office is closed," but "On Saturday the office is closed." But do use a comma after long prepositional phrases or dependent clauses: "Because the entire epic is concerned with justifying the ways of God to man, Milton must present free will in a positive light." (How many words do you need before "short" turns into "long"? — trust your judgment, and think always about clarity.)

I can see cases where that comma following a year in a date is going to look unnecessary. In my opinion the given example in the article can simply read On January 15, 1947 she began tertiary study. Lambanog (talk) 08:02, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

According to the "In dates" paragraph of the comma article, references for a comma after the year include the Chicago Manual of Style and the AP Stylebook, which are linked there. If that answer doesn't persuade you, I'm mainly here to copyedit, and I won't stop you from changing the rule. I do applaud you for finding the right place to debate this rule, rather than simply making up your own like many Wikipedians. Art LaPella (talk) 18:03, 4 April 2010 (UTC)
The 1973 Plain Words says "... used to be taught that, in dates, the year must be encased in commas. ('On the 2nd August, 1950, a committee was formed; on the 6th December, 1951, it reported.') No usefulness can be claimed from this practice to offset its niggling and irritating appearance, ... and in the practice of Government Departments it has now been abandoned." However, it doesn't go as far as saying that the year mustn't be encased in commas. My feeling is that it depends. Modal Jig (talk) 19:12, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
But the guideline says "a comma is often written after the year in month-day-year date format" (emphasis added), so "2nd August, 1950" isn't the issue. (Anyway, Wikipedia style for a British-style date would be "2 August 1950"; see WP:DATESNO.) Art LaPella (talk) 20:15, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

MoS naming style[edit]

There is currently an ongoing discussion about the future of this and others MoS naming style. Please consider the issues raised in the discussion and vote if you wish GnevinAWB (talk) 20:53, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Proposal to remove this from the MOS[edit]

On going discussion about removing this page from the MOS. See here Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style#Ain.27t_got_no_style Gnevin (talk) 20:34, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

Seasons of tv shows[edit]

Is there any consensus or policy on how to format a season of a television show? In recent days, I have seen absolutely no rhyme or reason to this matter. Even in featured articles (eg. The Simpsons) you will see "Season 1" (my favorite), Season One, season one, and Season one--all in the same article. And it's that way everywhere on WP. I think this should be standardized. Any thoughts? Is there a convention for this in the world at large?--Esprit15d • talkcontribs 03:08, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

Shortcut?[edit]

Is there a shortcut for this how-to guide? --Devourer09 16:57, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

Plenty. I've added the most obvious one to the banner. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward: not at work) - talk 10:04, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

Reactions to this page[edit]

1. Is this really a good page to have? Should we delete it?

2. It seems like it is missing a lot of the "how to copyedit" info, like how to run through the article, how big of a chunks to do at at time, how to take the article in and out of the queue. Many of these questions are raised on the talk page, so my reaction seems normal. The section at the start seems very basic and in some ways too granular for anyone getting to this page. Also, it seems better said in the Manual of Style, Tony's page, Strunk and White, etc. I'm also not clear if the list is (reasonably) comprehensive, or just a splat. At a minimum, the list ought to be moved to the bottom of the article, after the real thoughts on "how to copyedit" (which need to be developed).

3. The list is a "laundry list", not categorized, not sorted or prioritized. Also, would be helpful to separate basic issues of English language usage, from Wiki conventions (like the article naming capitalization). Of course, really Manual of Style probably does that better.

4. 2 years later and I still had the same reaction to the comment on links in references. Huh?

5. The edit summary stuff was decent and at least really tied into "how to copyedit".

6. The comment to the effect of "if in doubt, don't correct" may be good advice, but certainly NOT for the reason that "someone will definitely fix it otherwise". Would that it were so!

TCO (talk) 02:17, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

I often add commas, citing this page's comma rule (search for "Vilnius"). That rule can also be found elsewhere, but not with any Wikipedia authority. I seldom if ever refer to the rest of the page. Although I make many of the other copyedits listed, they are also found in the Manual of Style. Art LaPella (talk) 04:51, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

I think that comma rule is just normal grammar. I'm not some magazine editor, just an engineer, but after reading your comment, I walked across the room and grabbed my 12th grade grammar book (Hodge's Harbrace College Handbook) from 20+ years ago. Rule 12.d talked about the use of commas for appositives and subsection (2) talked about geographic commas and gave the city example.

I bet there are about 10 wrong commas within this post, so don't flame me, but, really, I don't see what is so special to make the Vilnius rule need "wiki weight". It's standard usage.

TCO (talk) 06:09, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

I probably wouldn't add the commas after "Lithuania" and after "1947" otherwise; they get opposition because they look wrong, although punctuation "experts" all seem to like them. Art LaPella (talk) 21:46, 29 November 2010 (UTC)
My high school education taught me to put a comma before "Lithuania" and before "1947", so perhaps that's what you meant by "geographic commas". I never encountered a "before and after" rule before Wikipedia. Art LaPella (talk) 22:04, 29 November 2010 (UTC)
If 1947 and Lithuania fall at the end of a clause or sentence, there will be punctuation anyway. Since this is natural for so long and heavy a sentence element, it doesn't come up very often. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:07, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

m d[edit]

common name of dumb swahelle — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wikiexpert52 (talkcontribs) 20:58, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

How to make major changes[edit]

I suggest the following guidelines for reducing the number of details and names in an article:

A typical WP article is made by many contributions and therefore sometimes contains many details that each one finds important. To reduce the number of details without hurting any feelings, a simple solution is to move a section with much information to a separate article and write a lead for it. This lead is then copied to the section of the original article and a main article reference added just under the headline. In this way nothing has been deleted and the section has become more readable and easier to improve. Of cause it is always a good idea to read the talk page of the article first and maybe ask for permission.

A more subtle way of reducing the number of details is by hiding names in links. For instance the sentence

Otis Redding attended Ballard-Hudson High School, where he sang in a school band

…may be shortened to

Otis Redding sang in a school band at high school

…here no information is missing since the name of the high school can be seen by hover the mouse over the link. Of cause this only works if an article about the school exists or can reasonably be made. Please notice that the link includes a word more than just high school, in this way the reader may better understand that this is not a link to an article about high schools in general. Soerfm (talk) 13:42, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

That sounds something like Wikipedia:Summary style. So I think Wikipedia talk:Summary style would be a better place to discuss it. This page is about more detailed edits like spelling corrections. See the definition of "copy edit". Art LaPella (talk) 22:55, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

Unclear scope of minor edit[edit]

In the edit summaries section of this article, it is stated that "stylistic corrections are generally major". In my mind, this is in almost direct contrast to Help:Minor Edit ("Examples include [...], formatting and presentational changes, and rearrangements of text without modification of its content."). Within this article, the remainder of the sentence ("and call for written summaries") seems to have nothing to do with whether an edit is major or minor; it's good practice to put some sort of summary for any edit.

As an editor, I would rather see other editors typically use minor edits for stylistic corrections, unless they feel the correction itself is disputable (in which case, a second edit as a dummy edit can clarify the intent not to check the "Minor edit" checkbox). Does anyone else find the intent of this text potentially misleading or in contrast to their understanding of the scope of minor edits? Or does this text perhaps have a different intended meaning that I am somehow not seeing? ~David Rolek (talk) 20:22, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

I agree with you completely. Actually I don't see anything in that entire section worth retaining. I see no need to distinguish corrections from enhancements in edit summaries, and the first example edit summary resembles none I've ever seen, nor does it bear any apparent relevance to copyediting. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 14:09, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

:7[edit]

This face is used in Facebook and means a very silly thing has been written. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Qusaisuwan (talkcontribs) 19:17, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

Grammar in first paragraph[edit]

Is the line: "This is 'the encyclopedia that anyone can edit' and they do!" correct? It seems to me that since "anyone" is a singular noun, it should not be replaced later with "they," a plural pronoun. Would the phrase "this is the 'encyclopedia that anyone can edit' and does!" be more apt? 14jbella (talk) 04:11, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

For reference, let me correct your quote slightly: (note the comma)

This is the "encyclopedia that anyone can edit", and they do!

I noticed your edit was reverted. I was going to comment and say that your change doesn't quite seem to fit – I'll do it anyway. A few reasons why I think the text is fine as-is:

  • "the encyclopedia that anyone can edit" is separate from and they do
    In fact, and they do is an independent clause, hence the comma before it
  • your edit removed the subject from the independent clause, without removing the comma
    This simply changed , and they do to , and does. Correcting that would require insertion of a subject – could you come up with a proper subject? I think that he, she, it, anyone, etc. all wouldn't work.
    Assuming you meant to remove the comma, the sentence still wouldn't be correct. The subject for and does would be This (referring to Wikipedia).
  • There are cases in English where the singularity does not have match between different clauses in a sentence. A few examples:
    1. The school board decided to offer a new class this semester; they want to increase their offerings in Statistics.
    2. The wolf pack hunts during the night, as they often find easy prey after dark.

However, I do see your point. Most examples that fit into the category above could be re-casted such that the singularity would match, but that's not always the best thing to do. At first, I considered suggesting that you re-cast the sentence as something similar to the following example, but even that has its problems.

This is the "encyclopedia that anyone can—and does—edit"!

The problems I see with this are not in this sentence, but rather in the context. The sentence loses its emphasis – it was meant to highlight and they do! for flow into the next sentence (This challenge is addressed via [...]), but now it's not doing that.

All in all, I think it's fine left as-is. Perhaps you could toy around with some ways to change it that wouldn't damage the flow of the paragraph; feel free to think of ways – sometimes the elegant solution evades writers until much thought has been put into it.

I hope that all makes sense.

~David Rolek (talk) 00:47, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

That makes sense to me. Thank you very much for the clarification! I will try to think of some solution if I can. 14jbella (talk) 02:27, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

Commas separating verbs from subjects[edit]

To me, these quotations do not require a comma, which separates the verb from the subject: ...(History of...), and not prepositional... ...alternatives, or request/insert specific... ...Summary notes for copy edits should be concise, and ought... --CM2G0005 (talk) 00:59, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done--CM2G0005 (talk) 02:34, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

when we change direct quotes[edit]

Added "apart from trivial corrections such as typographic errors" as an exception to the admonition against changing direct quotes, per the MOS guideline immediately referred to. (This is an inconsistency being discussed at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#WP:COPYEDIT.) If this is not acceptable, the MOS should be changed as well, so they don't give contradictory instructions. — kwami (talk) 18:16, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

It is not necessary to mark every typographic error with [sic], but within a quote I would not recommend correcting them, as it no longer is a quote if they are corrected. I would recommend removing this advice both from here and the MOS. Apteva (talk) 22:13, 25 December 2012 (UTC)

Big rewrite coming[edit]

Just a heads up: as part of the Getting started task suggestion experiment, as well as an end-of-the-year banner campaign targeting readers and asking them to join the editing community, the E3 team is going to be sending a lot of newly registered users to copyediting tasks in the coming weeks. We'd like to link them to this page for guidance – however, it's currently written from the perspective of people who already know what "copyediting" means, which isn't the best way of learning about the activity. Steven Walling and I are planning to rework it, in order to make it more readable for new users with no Wikipedia experience, and to change it from a list of very specific examples to a more general introduction/overview. Feel free to let us know if you have any questions or suggestions for making the page better! Thanks, Maryana (WMF) (talk) 18:44, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

I've just Yes check.svg Done my rewrite, and am finished for now. Since the page is described as basic copyediting and seemed to be for new contributors, I added some basic steps, condensed some material (such as the too lengthy description of how to write an edit summary), removed some duplicate links (such as to the MOS), and tried to make the list of common mistakes more concise and directed toward pure copyediting. Please let me know if you think I missed anything major. Thanks! Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 19:06, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Contractions[edit]

WP:COPYEDIT#Common mistakes to fix: "All contractions ... must be spelled out fully" contradicts WP:CONTRACTIONS: "contractions should not be expanded mechanically." I didn't quote either rule completely, but the contradiction remains. Art LaPella (talk) 22:52, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Resolved: Art LaPella (talk) 22:15, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
Actually, contractions can easily be resolved by spelling out in full. However, contractions should not be expanded if they are in quotes or are parts of names. Johnny Au (talk/contributions) 01:02, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

Quote[edit]

Hi Steven, I'd like to restore this quote, as it describes the ideal that copy editors should aim for. What's your objection to it?

According to Butcher's Copy-editing, "A good copyeditor is a rare creature: an intelligent reader and a tactful and sensitive critic; someone who cares enough about perfection of detail to spend time checking small points of consistency in someone else's work but has the good judgement not to waste time or antagonize the author by making unnecessary changes."[1]

SlimVirgin (talk) 21:50, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

I mostly want to keep the page very concise. The intended audience of the page is people who are new to Wikipedia copyediting. They'll mostly have arrived via clicking the link in {{copyedit}} and will be seeking a scannable overview of how to help. Also, since the rest of the paragraph is trying to invite people to help, I'm not sure that "A good copyeditor is a rare creature" is the message we want to send to people. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 22:12, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
While I do agree that good copyeditors are rare creatures (self-serving grin here.. heh), this page is called "Basic copyediting." That quote would be more appropriate in a guideline page for the FA/GA/Peer review copyeditors over at WP:GOCE. Here, I think we should emphasize that there are glaringly obvious mistakes in many, many articles that don't require any expertise to fix – just basic knowledge of the English language. Maryana (WMF) (talk) 22:36, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
I think the advice not to antagonize people with unnecessary changes might be good advice for new (and experienced) copy editors. One of the mistakes new copy editors make is the sense that "X is always wrong," then they go around removing all examples of X when there's no reason to, including when the removal leaves the sentence in a mess. Perhaps if the quote makes the lead too long it could go in a different section? SlimVirgin (talk) 23:11, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
That's a good point. There should probably be an etiquette section that also makes mention of the talk page. Good to let people know that if their copyedits are being reverted, they should discuss rather than edit war. Adding! Maryana (WMF) (talk) 23:49, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done as a start: Wikipedia:Basic_copyediting#Etiquette. Feel free to add :) Maryana (WMF) (talk) 23:58, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
Looks good. I've added the quote there instead of to the lead. SlimVirgin (talk) 00:04, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
I really don't like that section. We're asking people to do some really simple stuff, and that section makes it sound like they need to stop and ask permission before fixing an incorrect "there/their". We don't want people to stop and get consensus. We want them to copyedit without being scared to change Wikipedia. The thoughtful, careful kind we want editing will be scared off or slowed down by that statement. The kind that blunders around will ignore it anyway. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 01:32, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
Hi Steven, I restored it because it's good advice, especially for new editors. The section says be bold, but also says if you're reverted, discuss first. I can't see any problem with that. SlimVirgin (talk) 21:42, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
The problem is that it's not supposed to be a general editing etiquette guide. Let's keep it focused on copyediting, and what's necessary. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 23:46, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
Again, you're not really engaging here. We need to justify additions to the page which make it longer and less readable, especially when they are not strictly related to basic copyediting, so if folks aren't going to defend it I'm going to remove as lacking consensus. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk

WP:SMOS[edit]

Template:Writing guides, at the bottom of the page, links to Wikipedia:Manual of Style. For pages like this one, intended for beginners, maybe there should be a version of that template (perhaps a "simplified=Y" parameter) that links to Wikipedia:Simplified Manual of Style instead. From there, editors can find the main Manual of Style if necessary. Art LaPella (talk) 18:33, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

Decades[edit]

Hello, this page, Wikipedia:Basic copyediting, says: "If referring to a decade without its century, add an apostrophe in its place: She was born in the '80s."

Wikipedia:Manual of Style says: "Use the two-digit form ('80s) only with an established social or cultural meaning." WP:DECADE says: "The two-digit form, to which a preceding apostrophe should be added, is used only in reference to a social era or cultural phenomenon ..."

Would there be any objection if I change the text on this project page to: "Generally don't refer to a decade without its century"? Thanks, SchreiberBike talk 23:46, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

I say yes, please change the page to be consistent with the MOS. I suggest providing a link to WP:DECADE. – Jonesey95 (talk) 02:47, 5 January 2014 (UTC)

Word order[edit]

Is there any reason for an editor to change "He was also awarded the Purple Sock Award" to "He also was awarded the Purple Sock Award"? Is the first incorrect? Is the second more correct? Are they both acceptable? To me, this seems to be covered by the section "Things which do not need to be fixed" and the quotation "The good copyeditor ... has the good judgement not to waste time or antagonize the author by making unnecessary changes." Chris the speller yack 18:54, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

Depends on the context. The first one means he received the Purple Sock in addition to other awards.The second one means that he, in addition to other people, received the award. Modal Jig (talk) 20:14, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. That might be enough to get me through, for now. Chris the speller yack 00:50, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

I agree that there could be a valid reason for moving this word. In spoken English, one would emphasize one or two words (e.g. "He also" or just "also" or even "awarded" [e.g. if he created the Purple Sock Award and then was later awarded it...]) in the sentence to convey meaning, but in written English, that is not possible, so the order of words becomes more important.

Another word that can move like this is "only". Example: "He only ran five miles." versus "He ran only five miles." In the first case, technically, "only" modifies "ran". In the second case, "only" modifies "five". Many people would say there is no difference, and that everyone knows what is meant (especially in spoken English, where the first form predominates but where vocal emphasis will convey meaning), but others would say that one written form is clearer than the other, based on context and intended meaning. – Jonesey95 (talk) 01:59, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

Titles of published works.[edit]

I have removed the following as it is in direct contradiction to MOS:CT, MOS:TM, and WP:ALLCAPS:

  • Any published work should be spelled exactly as published, using symbols and any in-word capitalization as in the original, e.g., Piers Anthony's novel 0X is correctly spelled with the digit 0 (zero) instead of the letter O (upper-case o). Per Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Trademarks, do not attempt to ape the style (e.g. font color, typeface and other typographic effects) of the cover or promotional materials of a work.

--Rob Sinden (talk) 09:27, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

GettingStarted[edit]

In the "Find articles that need copyediting" section, the link to Special:GettingStarted appears red, indicating that this special page doesn't have a working implementation yet. There's a project page WP:GettingStarted describing the (planned) feature; should the link be changed to point there? --SoledadKabocha (talk) 08:13, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Yes, good catch. The Special page is no longer here, but the new version of GettingStarted is available to all new users. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 20:52, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 30 June 2014[edit]

Melstin Bruno (talk) 10:10, 30 June 2014 (UTC) Melstin Bruno is an Indian motorcycle racer. He became national road racing champion in 2012[1] and in 2013 became the Second FMSCI winner of an international road racing event with his victory at the madras motorsports club race track Racing Championship in Chennai.[2]

Melstin was racing for Motorev India as junior driver in the 2012 FIM Asian Road Racing Championship (ARRC)

Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done: This is the page for discussing changes to the page Wikipedia:Basic copyediting not the place to post information about yourself. Please see Wikipedia:Autobiography for why writing an article about yourself is a bad idea. - Arjayay (talk) 12:27, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
    • ^ Judith Butcher, Caroline Drake and Maureen Leach, Butcher's Copy-editing, Cambridge University Press, fourth edition, 2006, p. 4.