What makes a good editor?

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No item escapes the eye of the skilled editor.  He or she will hone in on a misplaced comma, a split infinitive, a misused word or an error of fact.  This skilled editor pays ruthless attention to detail.

Such attention to detail can mean the difference between your writing being understood or misunderstood, accepted for publication, or rejected.  It can mean the difference between a reader finishing an article or becoming bored.

So, you must become an editor of all texts, including your own. Check, check and check again that your basic ingredients are correct.  Check:

  • Grammar
  • Spelling
  • Punctuation and

Have you spelled the names of people correctly and consistently throughout?

Have you spelled street, road and place names correctly?

Have you remembered to include such details as people’s names, and where they live or come from?

Have you been clear about attribution?  Is it clear who is saying what, and to whom?

Have you checked that what you have written is not libellous, and that any controversial claims are substantiated?

If you cannot prove something or other, or are unsure about it, delete it.  Remember, if in doubt, leave it out!

The skilled writer or editor makes sure that everything is easy to understand and that nothing can be misunderstood.

An editor cannot know everything, so he or she has tools on hand to help – The Oxford Dictionary, the Internet, a Thesaurus and The Dictionary of Modern English Usage – to name but a few sources.

All the best!