The Proofreader's Parlour
A blog for editors, proofreaders and writers
Most of my publisher clients don't want me to worry too much about where a word break occurs unless it will cause confusion, mispronunciation or alarm.
Oxford therefore recommends the following:
Until this afternoon I'd always turned to my trusty New Oxford Spelling Dictionary. It's served me well and as I said above I don't often have cause to use it. However, I do have one client who wants every end-of-line hyphen checked. The projects they send me are magazine articles, three columns to a page. Word breaks abound. And since the client pays on a flat-fee basis for each job, looking up these darn things impacts on my hourly rate in no small way.
I blogged last year about Oxford Dictionaries Pro, and the online access it provides to its dictionaries and thesauri, New Hart's Rules and Pocket Fowler's Modern English Usage.
What I hadn't clocked is that the word-break function is available there too. Maybe you already knew. My colleague Sarah Nisbet certainly did and happened to mention it in one of the online forums she participates in. If she'd been standing next to me, I'd have kissed her.
So just in case you didn't know, online word-break checking is just a click away (for ODP online users, anyway). See the images below for where to tap.
However, I'm not chucking away my print book quite yet. There are limitations to the online version. For example, "wingless" doesn't have its own entry, but is part of the definition of "wing", so the preferred break (wing | less) isn't offered.
Still, I do see some productivity increases on the horizon!
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