7 editing mistakes you’ve got to quit
Editing faux pas you have to stop committing. Like, right now.
OK babes, you're putting yourself on display a lot here lately. Every time you post, even on social media, you're showing the world a little about yourself. And if you're making mistakes, it can cast a big shadow over your credibility. So between that and the fact that I can't even deal with these things for one more second, I'm just going to jump right in...
1. toward not towards
Y’all, you’ve got to stop using towards. The preferred form in American English is toward. This is probably my biggest editing pet peeve. It is literally the first thing I ‘find + replace’ when I’m editing a document.
2. email not e-mail
Email is, simply, one solid word. It has been since 2011, when the AP Stylebook made an official ruling and updated their guidance to the unhyphenated spelling. And while we are on the topic of digital media—website is also one word. No hyphen, no space.
3. which vs. that
Use “that” before a restrictive clause and “which” before nonrestrictive clauses. And in case you need a refresher on the elements of a sentence, I’ve got you covered.
A restrictive clause restricts or defines the meaning of a noun or noun phrase and provides necessary information about the noun in the sentence. Getting rid of a restrictive clause would change the meaning of the sentence.
EXAMPLE: The tacos that I got from Torchy’s are my favorite of all time.
A nonrestrictive clause is something that can be left out without changing the meaning of the sentence. You can think of a nonrestrictive clause as additional information that is set off by commas.
EXAMPLE: Torchy's Tacos, which is my favorite restaurant, has the best queso.
4. then vs. than
Honestly, this one pains me. “Then” has an element of time.
EXAMPLE: I am going to eat this cake then go to bed.
“Than” conveys a comparison.
EXAMPLE: Cake is better than pie.
5. punctuation with quotation marks
Commas + periods: Always go inside the quotation marks.
Semicolons + colons + dashes: Always go outside the quotation marks.
Question marks + exclamation points: If the question mark or exclamation point is part of your quotation, it stays inside; but if the question mark or exclamation point are not part of the quotation, they go outside the closing quotation mark.
6. unintentional plurals
Don’t unintentionally make things plural with a rouge apostrophe. I was born in the 80s (not the 80’s). Merry Christmas from the LaFailles (not the LaFaille’s).
7. use and punctuation of e.g. and i.e.
They both should be punctuated with periods between the letters and when followed by a list, a comma should follow the last period.
And as far as usage—e.g. means “for example,” so you use it to introduce an example. EXAMPLE: I like candy, e.g., gummy bears and SweeTarts. Because I used e.g., you know that I have given you a list of examples of candy that I like. It's not a finite list of all candy I like; it's just a few examples.
On the other hand, i.e. means “in other words,” so you use it to introduce a further clarification. EXAMPLE: The best way to enjoy candy is in solitude, i.e., without my husband or daughter. Because I used i.e., which introduces a clarification, you know that I only like to eat candy by myself.
OK, now you have the knowledge. Now you can do better.