Writing craft

Proofreading Pointers #38

Kathy Ide
Kathy Ide

Hi! I’m Kathy Ide. In addition to being a published author, I’m a full-time professional freelance editor. For CAN, I’m blogging about “PUGS”–Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling … tips for writers based on the most common mistakes I see in the manuscripts I edit.

Books vs. Articles

US book publishers use different reference manuals than magazine or newspaper publishers do. For book manuscripts (and some popular magazines), use The Chicago Manual of Style and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. For newspapers and journalistic-style magazines, use The Associated Press Stylebook and Webster’s New World College Dictionary.

Here are some examples of the differences:

For book manuscripts, “backseat” is a noun; “back-seat” is an adjective. For articles, use “back seat” for “a secondary or inconspicuous position.”

For book manuscripts: “babysit, babysat, babysitting, babysitter.” For articles: “baby-sit, baby-sitting, baby-sat, baby sitter.”

For book manuscripts, a divorced man is a “divorcé”; a divorced woman is a “divorcée.”

An engaged man is a “fiancé”; an engaged woman is a “fiancée.” For articles, do not use accent marks over the e’s in “fiance” or “fiancee.”


These are all excerpts from my book Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors, which reveals how multi-published authors proofread their manuscripts to avoid typos, inconsistencies, inaccuracies, and PUGS errors. If you’re interested in working with a freelance editor (or know someone who is), e-mail me through the contact page of my website. Or go to the Christian Editor Connection to get referrals to other established, professional editorial freelancers. If you’re a freelance editor yourself, or think you might be interested in that field, check out The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network.