PWP211 – Week Four

This week we actually learnt about editing. That’s kinda exciting. But more on that later.

This week, I was directed to a page which listed 20 common grammatical errors. The following ones I found really useful.


Contrary to common misuse, “moot” doesn’t imply something is superfluous. It means a subject is disputable or open to discussion.


The old rule is that “nor” typically follows “neither,” and “or” follows “either.”

May and Might

“May” implies a possibility. “Might” implies far more uncertainty.

Farther and Further

The word “farther” implies a measurable distance. “Further” should be reserved for abstract lengths


It isn’t a word.


Contrary to almost ubiquitous misuse, to be “nauseous” doesn’t mean you’ve been sickened: it actually means you possess the ability to produce nausea in others.


Next I watched some more Grammar and Editing videos.

Serial Commas, aka Oxford commas, are becoming more used these days, despite their use historically being for very formal writing styles.


Red, white, and blue uses the Oxford comma. Red, white and blue does not.

A humorous image that depicts this quite well is below:

Oxford Comma

Sentence Fragments are a common problem and often need correcting.

The second statement is not a sentence and can be corrected by using a comma like this:

She and her first met Alberto in Naples, a place full of mystery and romance.

However, it’s important to remember, particularly in fiction, that the author may be deliberately using a fragmented sentence for emphasis or to display irony. It is important to determine whether this is the case before editing.

As you can see, the original sentence has been edited, this time to add more emphasis on “And romance.” This sentence fragment is acceptable because it adds emphasis to the storyline.

The final podcast I listened to was on Possessive Apostrophes. The general rule of thumb is as follows:

The big no-no is with the word ‘it’.

Finally, I read Chapter 9 of the textbook (my textbook is missing pages, so luckily a uni colleague scanned it for me) and then I watched the two Copy Editing videos. These showed how to mark changes in MS Word, and really didn’t need to be watched until Week 5. Oh well. At least I had started early.

So I printed out the documents to be edited, their word lists and the their briefs. And I began by tackling the manual editing. There are so many symbols. I mean, seriously, it’s like trying to learn shorthand or Farsi or something. It was so complicated. And they seem to differ depending on which style sheet you use! Because the document provided didn’t seem to cover enough of them, I also viewed two others from here and here.

As it turns out, I am completely crap at editing. Which surprised me really, as I used to do a lot of proofreading when in my twenties. I also consider myself to be reasonably good at the English language, so to have done so poorly on both tasks shocked me.

Next week, we learn about editing in MS Word, so maybe things will improve for me on a small screen.


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