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Resource list

These resources are for (aspiring) copyeditors, proofreaders, writers, copywriters, and anyone else working with language in some way. I hope you can find some inspiration, direction, or reassurance among the links below.


I love gathering lots of information and resources. I sign up to newsletters and save links like a squirrel saving acorns. I wrote a little bit about how copyeditors use resources in my Editing and research blog post; referring to respected resources is an important part of the job! Why not share my handy guides and tips with all of you?


This blog post is a living document—I plan to add resources to it as I find more useful links. Please email me if you would like to share a resource and have your tips added here!


Spelling

Oxford English Dictionary*

My main go-to dictionary for double-checking British English spellings. I also use Cambridge Dictionary of English.


Merriam-Webster*

My main go-to dictionary for double-checking US English spellings. I’m particularly a fan of their example sentences (they include recent uses of words); the thesaurus is also handy. I often use this in pairing with the Oxford English Dictionary to check if a word is used correctly and to look for synonyms (although you have to beware that US and British English usage may differ).


Encyclopedia Brittanica*

This might not seem like the most obvious place to find spelling guidance, but it’s an essential resource for looking up the spelling and stylization of historical events, institutions, names of historical figures, etc.


Google Ngram

This tool searches how often words have been used in the search period of time. This can be helpful to see if a word is commonly used and which spellings or variants of the word are more common. If Merriam-Webster or the Oxford English Dictionary don’t have an answer for you on spelling or hyphenation, this is a good place to go. Particularly helpful for new words that aren’t well-established enough to be in the dictionary, or whose spelling or hyphenation is evolving.


Grammar and punctuation troubleshooting

Chicago Manual of Style*

When in doubt, the Chicago Manual of Style is a great place to turn for clarity about specific rules or exceptions. The Q&A section is particularly helpful for sticky issues in grammar, punctuation, and writing.


Grammar Girl

Mignon Fogarty’s invaluable resources—both her website and her podcast—plainly lay out the complexities of the rules of language and how best to approach them.


StackExchange*

A forum with countless topics. You’re bound to find the answer to your grammar-related question here. I often Google “stack exchange [grammar issue]” to find the help I need.


The Punctuation Guide

A very clear guide to punctuation rules in US English.


Copyediting-L listserv*

I’m a huge fan of this listserv: it’s the best way to get a quick answer to your grammar- or editing-related questions from qualified professionals from around the world. Nowhere else (to my knowledge) can you get an answer from several copyeditors with decades of experience located in different country within minutes. It’s also great to see what issues other copyeditors are discussing—a great way to learn!


Style

Chicago Manual of Style* (see description under “Grammar and punctuation troubleshooting”)


New Hart’s Rules* (physical resource)

Short and sweet book on British style. If I’m editing something into UK English, NHR is the first place I look for style issues.


Capitalize my title*

Making title capitalization consistent is one of my least favorite editing tasks! In addition to checking Chicago, I use this handy online to double-check chapter or section titles in texts that I’m editing.


British versus US English

Cross-checking the Oxford English Dictionary* and Merriam-Webster* (see descriptions under “Spelling”) is the first thing I do, but sometimes you need a more in-depth explanation.


Oxford English Dictionary guide to American and British spelling


The Punctuation Guide on differences between American and British punctuation


Word choice

Merriam-Webster thesaurus*

I use this for synonyms and alternative words (if the word used in the text isn’t quite right). If I’m editing into British English, I still use M-W and then I look up the word in the the OED to double-check that it has the same meaning in British English and to check the spelling.


Google Ngram

This tool searches how often words have been used over a certain period of time. This can be helpful to see if a word is commonly used and which spellings or variants of the word are more common (you can search for several words, separated by commas). If Merriam-Webster and the Oxford English Dictionary don’t have an answer for you on spelling or hyphenation, this is a good place to go. Particularly helpful for new words that aren’t well-established enough to be in the dictionary, or whose spelling or hyphenation is evolving.


Inclusive language

The Diversity Style Guide*

Although this guide is mainly meant for journalists and news media, it’s a helpful resource to check how certain words should be spelled or used. (For example, should Asian American be hyphenated?) It also has links to tons of other resources that can help to answer specific questions.


Conscious Style Guide

Another guide that collects together a wealth of resources on a variety of topics, including language about age, gender, and race.


Plain language

Plain language section of the Conscious Style Guide


Citations

Purdue OWL

Purdue offers a clear guide to citations from various style guides (Chicago Manual of Style, APA, MLA, etc.). Great if you need some examples to help you understand a style guide’s citation format.


Continuing professional development

Professional Sequence in Editing certificate program at the University of California, Berkeley*

This certificate program teaches you all of the basics of grammar, punctuation, style, copyediting, line editing, and developmental editing. It’s a great primer to feel prepared and confident in your editing or writing skills.


Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading

UK-based professional organization for editors, proofreaders, and other language professionals.


The Editing Podcast

This podcast from the legendary Louise Harnby covers a slate of topics—from different levels of editing to editing macros.


* I use these resources or I have followed these courses and I would be happy to share my notes from these events or courses, or discuss my experience using these resources. Send me an email!


Curious about how I use these resources in my work? Or have more questions? I’d love to hear from you! If you want to stay tuned for my next blog post, subscribe to my newsletter.