Talk:Copy editing

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Copyedit vs copy-edit vs copy edit[edit]

Some sources use copyediting/copyeditor as one word, in which case hyphens are never appropriate. Others (e.g., Merriam Webster) specify that it's 2 words, in which case hyphens are appropriate only when the phrase modifies another word (in other words, standard hyphenation strategy--as in, copy-editing process). I don't know of any source that specifies copy-edit as a hyphenated phrase on its own. (I'm saying all this because I'm about to go in and remove most of the hyphens, including moving the page again since "copyediting" apparently was disliked ;-). ) Elf 16:51, 1 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Me again. Argh, I started with paper references, but occurred to me afterwards to see what various online references have to say.

  • Merriam-Webster online [1] has copyedit the verb as one word but copy editor the noun as two.
  • Encarta online [2] has copyedit the verb as one word and copy editor or copyeditor both as valid spellings [3]
  • has the verb as one word [4] and the noun as two [5]

So I'm back to believing that the original entry, copyediting was the most common form; an entry for copy editor likewise would reflect the most common form.

So now before moving things around again, let's see whether I can rouse opinions on where this really belongs; please indicate your preference:

  1. Under copyediting
  2. Under copy editor
  3. Under something else (please state sources/reasons)

Thanks! I'll go away for a while now. Elf 17:17, 1 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I think you are right. I chosed two words because English almost always use as short words as possible then I looked in the dictonary and it said "copyediting". BL 23:33, Mar 1, 2004 (UTC)

Definitely copy-editing, with a hyphen! Perhaps this a UK bias, but it's very definitely the standard way to spell it over here. The standard textbook on the subject, by Judith Butcher, is called Copy-Editing. If you really must delete the hyphen or (worst of all - very ignorant) insert a space, let's at least have a REDIRECT page! --Hugh2414 08:54, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I have to go with "copyediting", since I believe this is the most common way of writing it. If it's going to be moved anywhere, Hugh, of course there will be redirect pages :) Dysprosia 09:00, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)

OK, I give up! Do I now have to rewrite my CV to describe myself as a professional copyeditor? I'll get back to yediting some cop! --Hugh2414 09:02, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)

You'd hate German... or any agglutinative language... ;) Dysprosia 09:07, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)

No - very keen on German and Scandinavian languages - but this is English! Seriously - as a professional in the field, I would not be too impressed by someone looking for a job as a copy-editor and spelling it copyeditor or copy editor - but maybe that is just a reflection of the way it is in the UK. In America there is a general tendency to delete hyphens and close up the gap in compound words, so it's certainly logical to spell it copyeditor in America. But I'm still allowednottolikeit! Hugh2414 09:15, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Actually, industry use in the USA is "copy editor" and "copy editing": see the American Copy Editors Society (a den of reactionaries who, of course, invite you to "e-mail" the "Web master"). As a nonprofessional, I don't mind "copyedit" (but I might not use it, depending where the text's headed), but I still find "copyeditor" very jarring. The Slot is another very good copy-editing site. Hajor 15:17, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Well, who'd'a thunk that something like this would be different between UK and US English? Very interesting. (As far as style/editing manuals--Chicago Manual of Style[6], which is just about the preeminent style guide over here, has both copyedit and copyeditor as one word.) Personally I am least comfortable with the hyphenated version because we'd never do that here. Certainly Merriam-Webster and Encarta are US-based dictionaries. I have an OED from the early 1970s and I can't find copy(-)edit(or) in any form--just copy and editseparately--which makes me think that they think that it's 2 separate words. Dang. Now what? According to Wiki general guidelines, the original flavor (flavour :-) ) US/UK of an article is maintained, which would put it back to copyediting.) Of course this is probably the most trivial of things to be spending time sorting out... Elf 17:01, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Interesting comment about CMS's usage -- presumably a book/newspaper difference, then? (I think newspapermen do tend to be more reactionary: you've got the AP still holding out with "teen-ager", for example. I wonder when they admitted defeat on "news-paper"?) Hajor 18:18, 2 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Must disagree. Chicago Manual of Style is not the preeminent style AE style - AP is. :) [[User:Neutrality|Neutrality (talk)]] 05:25, 11 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I'm a newspaper editor and a member of the American Copy Editors Society. My understanding is at least in the United States, newspapers use two words for "copy editor" and "copy editing" and book and magazine people often use one word.

Maybe a compromise would be too split the difference with a hyphen.

I believe that in U.K. newspapers, the equivalent job is "sub editor," though I'm not sure of the style.

It's also my understanding that copy editors at newspapers have more lattitude than those at books and magazines.

Because part of the job of any copy editor is to understand and enforce style, perhaps at some point, a summary of this discussion would be useful on the main page.

And by the way, the Associated Press stylebook now lists "teenager" as one word.

- Maurreen Skowran, 11 Sep 2004

Copyediting and copyeditor will worldwide be standard usage within a few years in places where they aren't already. This is standard in the English language: common two-word phrases start out as separate words with literal meanings (in this case "copy editing", meaning "the editing of copy"), eventually become joined with hyphens, and eventually drop the hyphens. Rarely does the process stop in the middle, so it's highly unlikely copy-editing will persist for long. FWIW, US English tends to skip over the hyphenation stage altogether and go from two words straight to a single compound word. --Delirium 18:33, Sep 11, 2004 (UTC)

no commercial links , please[edit]

I killed a link to a commercial editing service - DavidWBrooks 17:58, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)

CopyEdit and wikipedia[edit]


What about an article on copyedit in wikipedia. It can be informative for new users using wikipedia. May be it should be in wikipedia name space. A link can be given in this article to copyedit in wikipedia.

Zain 20:30, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I think Wikipedia:Manual of Style does it. I don't know about putting it in the article, though - wikipedia usually tries to keep internal stuff separate from articles. - DavidWBrooks 21:19, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I deleted the mention of WYSIWYG as this is followed by the sentence about XML coding. Most copy editors use a text editor (though sometimes with a WYSIWYG split screen) so they can insert tags and other coding. (I would hate to attempt any copyediting in Microsoft Word, unless that was to be its end format.) Shantavira 09:53, 24 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Improvement . . .[edit]

The article needs more on radio, tv and Web copy editing, as well as copy editing done in other fields, like public relations and advertising. GeorgeLouis (talk) 16:39, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

I think this article needs a copy edit. Jolly Ω Janner 20:58, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

I think the article needs more about book copyediting. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:35, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Traits, Skills and Training[edit]

I deleted "commercial centers" because I don't know what they are. Sincerely, GeorgeLouis (talk) 05:31, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

Argh - serial commas! The AP Stylebook will hunt you down! - DavidWBrooks (talk) 15:09, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

I checked wp:style and was reminded that WikiP does not have any particular rule on serial commas. Sincerely, GeorgeLouis (talk) 15:41, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

Question on UK terminology[edit]

Can someone with the knowledge please include explanation of why a copy editor is a "sub"? The North American usage is explained (editor who prepared "copy," typeset material or prepared text.) But what is the "sub" about? "Subject"? "Subordinate"? "Subtle"? If it's more an organizational title than a functional title, are we sure it's the equivalent of copyeditor? I'm sorry to be ignorant, but in the UK are there proofreaders? Is that maybe the equivalent job? (talk) 19:34, 26 May 2008 (UTC) (DavidH)

sub-editor --Senra (talk) 16:12, 9 August 2010 (UTC)
It means exactly the same thing as copy editor in the context of newspapers and magazines. However, even in the UK, copy editors on books and other non-periodical publications are usually called copy editors rather than sub-editors. Proofreaders are called proofreaders. I don't know where the "sub" bit of the word comes from, though I presume it's "subordinate"; the only comparator I can think of, offhand, is "sub-organist", a term sometimes used in the UK for the assistant organist at a large church or cathedral. Barnabypage (talk) 09:49, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

For the "copy-edit" assignment: Looking good, you make this statement “this case along with many others, continue to be fundamental tools when dealing with Indian land rights that are covered under the various treaties between the U.S. and Indian tribes.” Possibly you could talk about how this case continues to be a fundamental tool when dealing with Indian land rights and add a link to other fundamental cases. Misstbird (talk) 20:36, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

The "five Cs" summarise the copy editor's job[edit]

I "undid" this revision by User:SlimVirgin today.
We have had the following listed thus, "The "five Cs" summarize the copy editor's job: Make the copy clear, correct, concise, complete, and consistent. Copy editors should make it say what it means, and mean what it says" for as long as I have been aware of this article.
My edit summary – "Reverted good faith edits by SlimVirgin (talk): comprehensible means the same as clear (understandable)" – explains why I reversed User:SlimVirgin, who has immediately reverted my edit.
Surely the duplication of comprehensible with clear (both meaning "understandable") should not remain and 'complete' should be restored –
 – Gareth Griffith-Jones |The Welsh Buzzard| 19:39, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

Hi Gareth, I added a source for the five Cs, including comprehensible. It's not the job of a copy editor to make sure the text is "complete" in the sense of comprehensive. SlimVirgin (talk) 19:46, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
Hi SlimVirgin , Yes I have seen the new reference. Thank you. My point is the duplication – keep 'comprehensible', I prefer it to 'clear' – replace 'clear' with ... any ideas? –
 – Gareth Griffith-Jones |The Welsh Buzzard| 20:06, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
If the "five Cs" is actually a legendary copy editor's maxim, we should leave it untouched. Are there better sources for it than somebody's workshop-talk presentation PDF? --McGeddon (talk) 20:11, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
There are lots of online sources, e.g. [7] SlimVirgin (talk) 20:20, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
A quick Google search yields 18,500 hits for "clear, correct, concise, complete, and consistent" and 12,600 hits for "clear, correct, concise, comprehensible, and consistent". Both can be found in advice guides and advertisements from professional copy editors. Is there a reputable source that first came up with the 5 C list? I haven't been able to find it yet. Personally, I agree that "complete" is beyond the strict definition of what a copy editor does, and I'm uncertain about what the distinction between "clear" and "comprehensible" is supposed to be. Tdslk (talk) 21:01, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
A Google search isn't a good way to measure this, because lots of sources will have copied the text from this article. I have never heard of "complete" being included in the five Cs -- not least because it would make no sense. Copy editors don't as a rule expand text to ensure that it's "complete"; they work with what's there. I'll look around to see if I can find the oldest and best source for the list. SlimVirgin (talk) 21:09, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
Not an RS for our purposes, but worth noting that Wikipedia:WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors/How to also uses "clear, correct, concise, comprehensible, and consistent." SlimVirgin (talk) 21:15, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
Not an old source but a good one: Peter Lyons and Howard J. Doueck, The Dissertation: From Beginning to End, Oxford University Press, 2010, p. 170. They don't refer to the five Cs by name, but they do refer to ""clear, correct, concise, comprehensible, and consistent." SlimVirgin (talk) 21:21, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
That's better than any source I've found. Does it explain the intended distinction between "clear" and "comprehensible"? Also, FWIW, the original edit used "comprehensible": Tdslk (talk) 21:29, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
I haven't found an explanation for the difference between clear and comprehensible. The text was changed here in 2010 by an anon, btw. SlimVirgin (talk) 21:57, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Well done Tdslk for finding Revision as of 04:03, October 21, 2006. Also SlimVirgin for finding the anon who has not edited since from that IP, or before for that matter. It is now beginning to dawn on me that the present version, that is to say SlimVirgin's revision should remain. Thanks to all who contributed! –
 – Gareth Griffith-Jones |The Welsh Buzzard| 21:51, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

"three levels" of copy editing[edit]

Is the paragraph starting with "copy editing has three levels: light, medium, and heavy" an arbitrary classification copied from a beginner's text book or how-to on the topic? I don't want to simply remove it because it is sourced, but it doesn't sound generic or universal to me. -- Theoprakt (talk) 08:48, 8 January 2017 (UTC)