“On Em dash, on En dash, on Prancer, on Vixen”

en dashes and em dashes
23 Dec

In the spirit of the holidays, I thought I’d have a Yuletide-themed article this month. One of Santa’s eight tiny reindeers is, of course, Dasher. So let’s talk a little about dashes. (Okay, that’s the lamest Christmas connection ever. Well, that’s all I’ve got. Apologies to all of you, whether you celebrate Christmas or not.) Having a client who is adept at em and en dashes is indeed rare. Usually we see the plain ol’ regular hyphen being used where an em or en dash would be more appropriate. Or we often see random hyphens in varying multiples scattered throughout a paper like sprinkles on a Christmas cookie (okay, I’m still trying, but I’ll quit). read more »

Read Before You Write (Part II)

23 Dec

But no, I get it, really. You are busy. Work piles up. Dinner won’t cook itself. You’re knitting an umpteenth Doctor Who scarf for your bestest friend. Errands need to be run, the dog needs to be walked, the kids need to be driven to and from soccer practice or violin recital, and the spouse has been making noises about wanting to feel like a human being worthy of attention. Life happens. You can’t always commit to a book or three. But there are other ways to get your literary fix: we have the technology. Welcome to the twenty-first century, in which a book doesn’t have to be a codex to be enjoyed. read more »

Read Before You Write (Part I)

22 Dec

Most of us have heard the cautionary phrase, “Look before you leap.”  It’s sound advice, and alliterative, to boot.  Here’s another one for ye: “Read before you write.” I’m not being funny here.  I mean it. Every now and then, people hear of rising stars in the literary world by clicking through the entertainment section […] read more »

Knowing What to Look For

14 Dec

Effective writing is not so esoteric as to be beyond description. There are many elements we can specify. Let’s look first at structure. read more »

Livestock Judging and You

judge-writing
14 Dec

Most skills are learned largely through imitation. It’s common sense that if we want to improve as an ice skater, we find someone who is better than we are and watch them skate. The more skilled we are at observing, the more effective we’ll be at adapting what we see another skater do into what we can do. We have to know, as precisely as possible, what to look for, and then we have to practice what we’ve observed. The same concept works with writing. read more »

How Writers and Proofreaders Can Live in Peace

peace
10 Dec

When Alexander Pope (1688-1744) warned, “A little learning is a dangerous thing,” he was, among other things, explaining why editors and proofreaders – even us here at ProofreadingPal – so often find ourselves in antagonistic relationships with writers. read more »

Creating a Memorable Résumé

10 Dec

At ProofreadingPal, we see dozens of résumés a month. While some are pretty sharp, most are…well, in need of some assistance. Beyond blatant grammatical and spelling errors, many résumés have unwieldy objectives, inconsistencies in formatting or language use, and in this job market, it is imperative to make your résumé as sharp as possible before sending it out! read more »