What I Learned at The Copy Editing Seminar

I learned as important a lesson about parking as I did about punctuation at the Editors’ Association of Canada copy editing seminar I attended last week. But I did sharpen my skills in both areas.

1. The extremely convenient yet odd-shaped parking spot I’ve been using for a couple of years now on day-long jaunts downtown is actually a drop-off lane for commuters at the Whitby Go Station. I always thought it felt strange. My friend Susan burst my parking bubble with her astonished look as I told her how easy it was for me to find a parking spot, each and every time I go into Toronto. How I wish we had never spoken…

2. Notice how I hyphenated “odd-shaped?” That’s because it’s an attributive adjective coming in for a landing before the noun of my beloved parking spot (now lost to me forever).

3. Notice how I put “lost to me forever” in parentheses? That’s because it’s not all that important. The sentence, and you, can live without that information.

4. Consistency, clarity and correctness are all keys to good copy editing. There are some conventions that must be followed (like not parking all day long in the kiss and drop lane): but a lot of the rules can be broken, so long as you break them boldly and consistently throughout the entire document.

5. Track changes on word can be personalized to your own editing needs. Probably everybody but me knew this (not unlike the cloak of mystery surrounding the drop off lane at the Go Station).


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