Every word counts

Copy editing, the daily Gamecock

Going over a page I edited with the EIC at my college paper, The Daily Gamecock. You can see how much I enjoy it, right?

Every word counts. Been there, done that.

Today we covered AP Style and grammar. We discussed the importance of word choice and flabby words. Several classmates decided they were bored. I loved it. That might even be an understatement.

The night before I was sprawled out with my AP Stylebook (2005 edition, it might be time for an update), Working With Words (my savior) and Webster (my best friend) completing a grammar and AP Style quiz. It was wonderful.

I’m an editor. It is what I want to do. The other stuff is just extra enjoyment for me. (Check out my previous rant about AP Style and post about being a reader and a writer.) I like wordsmithing. I enjoy noting the intricacies of our language, the differences in what words mean versus what we perceive them to mean.

Writing is fun, but editing is essential. I didn’t understand the many levels of writing or the power of words until I started editing. It’s tough to cut your own words and remove yourself from your writing, but when you start looking at your word choices critically, you become an exponentially better writer.

Here are a few of my favorite lessons (via Working With Words):

Did you know Band-Aid is the specific brand of adhesive bandage? It’s not always a Band-Aid, even though we pretty much use it interchangeably.

Due to/Because of: It’s almost always because of. This drives me crazy. Quoting WWW, “Avoid using to mean because. If you do use it, the phrase should follow a form of to be and must modify a noun.”

According to WWW, which has an entire section on “isms,” the term “ugh” is an “offensive sound used to mimic the speech of Native Americans.” As a user of this term, I had no idea. But this section is very interesting. There are a lot of “isms” to be aware of, especially when writing for the masses.

Now, I think I’ll go read some more WWW.

*Note to younger or maybe less experiences J students, get Working With Words. It will save your butt countless times.

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Comments
One Response to “Every word counts”
  1. Joshua Hatch says:

    As I am fond of saying, “everyone needs an editor.” And yes, definitely update your stylebook. :-)

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