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!
For those of you who think, like me, that RL Trask's Penguin Guide to Punctuation is one of the best things since sliced bread, then here's a little online nugget that my editorial colleague Etty Payne discovered: Guide to Punctuation. Written by Trask, this appears to be include much of the same content as that in his published book.
Okay, so the actual paperback doesn't exactly cost an arm and a leg anyway, but everyone loves a freebie! One thing a few pals have commented on is that there is one comma that Trask doesn't include: that of the vocative. That aside, Trask is a gem. His explanations are clear and comprehensive. If you want to buy the book, take a look at my article Books for Proofreaders for more information.
Grammar Bites: the PTC's series of blog posts examining the world of grammar – short, sharp and delicious!
Previous posts have covered punctuation usage (e.g. the hyphen, semi-colon, and colon); homonyms and homophones; grammar grumbles; grammatical terminology (e.g. the gerund); and other grammatical issues that are well known for tripping up those who work with words.
Sentence First is an English-language blog hosted by scientist, writer and editor Stan Carey. What I love about this blog is the fact that Stan, in addition to being informative, interesting, and sometimes amusing, always offers a fat dose of good old-fashioned common sense.
Oxford Dictionaries Pro is one of my all-time favourite sites and proofreading tools. Not only does it provide online access to OUP's renowned dictionaries and thesauri; it also has a section for writers and editors that enables full searchable access to the excellent New Hart's Rules and Pocket Fowler's Modern English Usage, two of my well-thumbed bookshelf staples.
If you’re a member of a public library in England and Northern Ireland, you have FREE access to this resource. All you need to log in is your library card number (and the three-letter prefix identifying your county). Otherwise you'll need to pay. An individual subscription costs £42 per year.
Grammar guru Mignon Fogarty hosts the excellent Grammar Girl website and founded Quick and Dirty Tips. Says Fogarty on her website, "Grammar Girl provides short, friendly tips to improve writing. Covering the grammar rules and word choice guidelines that can confound even the best writers, Grammar Girl makes complex grammar questions simple with memory tricks to help you recall and apply those troublesome grammar rules."
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I'm an Advanced Professional Member of the UK's national editorial society. Visit the SfEP website for more information.
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