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This guide is created to give you a crash course on editing for Link (and other publications). After receiving it, you are expected to read it thoroughly before beginning any editorial projects. This guide goes over the three stages of editing, proofreading, some common editorial errors, a glossary, a list of resources, and concludes with the Link style guide. You are encouraged to ask questions, and to ask for additional support if you feel you need it.

This guide is meant as a basic overview, and cannot replace an indepth course on editing. You are encouraged to continue learning outside your employment. Your manager can suggest specific courses. There are three kinds of editing that you should be aware of: 1. Substantive Editing 2. Line Editing 3. Copyediting Once a piece of writing has been through all three stages, it will be placed in layout, and proofreading will take place.


It’s important to go through these stages in order, so that you don’t waste time. If you go correct all of the grammatical errors, and then realize that entire paragraph needs to be removed, you’ve spent time you didn’t need to. There are some grey areas between the three stages—paragraph transitions, for example, are something to consider in step one and two. You have two main goals as an editor. In order of importance, they are: 1. 2.

Ensuring the reader will understand the writing Preserving the voice of the author

If there is time, you should go through each stage of editing with the writer, getting them to approve changes as you go. If you don’t, things can get messy. Each stage may take several drafts. Since Link is often on a tight schedule, you may decide that you need to rush the process. No matter what, step one should always be done separately, and before other edits. Following that, you can go through steps two and three simultaneously. If you see a term that you’re unfamiliar with, review the glossary at the back of the book. Don’t see it there? Ask your manager! They’ll be happy to explain. If there is time, it’s beneficial to have different editors complete each stage of editing. Do you have a particular stage you favour? Let your manager know! While all of these notes are referring to on-screen editing, it’s also recommended to print out and review the text on paper. If you would like to submit edits in this way, please use proofreaders’ marks (page 26) and use a clear system for notes/queries. It’s beneficial to explain this editorial process to a new contributor, so that they’ll know what to expect.



This is also known as structural, developmental, or comprehensive editing. This stage is all about the big picture. You may have no comments at this stage if the article is very strong, but you should always take time to review it in this way. Take a moment to answer:

feel rushed, or that it’s taking forever. This is achieved in a few ways: • •

• • • • • •

Does the article answer the question it set out to? Are the paragraphs/sections in the right order? Is each paragraph/section adding something of value to the conversation? Will the reader understand this article overall? Is the pacing appropriate? Are the facts correct?

In this stage, you will be making more use of the query/ comment tool than you will be directly editing. You can move or remove paragraphs or sentences and leave comments for the writer, such as “this needs to be explained further” or “this would be great as an introduction.” At this stage, avoid changing small details such as grammar and words. This is the hardest level of editing, because you will need to understand the text in full. If you don’t, when you’re reviewing it closely, how can you expect the reader to? Pacing can be challenging, as it’s much more subjective. You want the reader to be pulled through the article, but not to


• •

Ensure the writer is being concise, but clear. The point should come across easily without being wordy. Paragraphs should be short, and each should contain one well-rounded idea. The transitions between paragraphs shouldn’t be too abrupt or condescending The conclusion should bring all the points together into one easily understood concept.

Once you’ve added all of your comments, and feel confident that the article is ordered appropriately, send it back to the author with a reasonable deadline. The more queries you include, the more time they need. If you’ve reorganized the article, but have nothing for them to add or answer, give them 24 hours. For every query that requires effort, add 12-24 hours, to a maximum of one week. When the manuscript has been returned, review the questions above again. If the answer to all of the questions is yes, move on to line editing. If not, redo this stage. If you’ve done this step multiple times and find it still isn’t working, it might be time to ask for a rewrite. Please consult your manager.


Also known as stylistic editing, this stage is often combined with another step when the editor is in a rush. You are clarifying the meaning further, ensuring everything is coherent, and refining the language. Generally, you’ll review it sentence by sentence. In this stage you may leave occasional comments or queries if something is unclear, but you’ll mostly be editing the text directly (using track changes on Word, suggestions on Google Docs, or a red pen on paper). Sentences may be removed entirely or relocated at this stage. You can also still remove and reorder paragraphs, but that shouldn’t be something that happens often.

Review the piece for all of the following: • • • • • • • • • •

Overly wordy sentences Repetition of words/terms/ideas Ambiguous statements A bit, almost, in a sense, reasonably, seems, etc. (Google weasel words for more like this) Reorder sentences within paragraphs if needed Ensure sentence variety (lenth, word choice, etc) Review syntax for sentence order (subject-verb-object) Ensure the voice is clear and consistent Remove excess jargon Ensure that there is no overt bias

Despite this being often called ‘stylistic editing’ this isn’t where you usually compare with the house style guide. That is the next stage of editing. Once you’ve gone through each point above, you should be left with an article with a clear argument, solid structure, and quality phrasing. There will be errors (which, yes, are probably bugging you right now) but you don’t need to look at those yet.




Also known as mechanical editing, this is the stage where you finally get to fix those typo’s, the dangling participles, and the unclear modifiers. This is also where you’ll check that words are spelled correctly (this means the way that Link spells them, Canadian style) and that the appropriate dashes and quotation marks are used. At this point, the article should seem like a published piece, and just needs a careful overview. If you were the person to read the article in the first two edits, I suggest reading the piece backwards. If you weren’t, read it carefully twice before beginning, and then start editing backwards. The first time you read it, go slowly and methodically. After that, read more quickly to get an idea of voice and pacing. As you review, fix all errors that you find. We’ve put spelling errors at the bottom of the list, because they are often the easiest things to spot. When you’ve reviewed the article for all of your other items, you probably will be checking spelling automatically, and catch 90% of the obvious errors. Before you turn on track changes, there are some very basic errors that you can fix. Use the search and replace tool for each of these:


• • • • • • • • • •

Two spaces > one space. Curly quote > straight quote Curly apostrophe > straight apostrophe En dash or double hyphen > Em dash (as appropriate) Spaces around ens, ems, and slashes > no spaces B.C. > BC www. > remove from URL’s BCIT SA > BCITSA & > and (except titles) Link to Link (also applies to all other publication titles)

After this, it can also be valuable to run it through an online grammar tool (Grammarly, Perfectit, Prowritingaid) but remember that these tools aren’t perfect, and often introduce errors if you accept changes blindly. Link does not cover the cost of any of these grammar tools, but many have free versions or trial periods. Once you’ve done all of these pre-emptive steps, it’s time to get to the core of copyediting. It’s recommended to pull up the Link style guide at this stage. If you find an ambiguous word or phrase that isn’t in the style guide, let your manager know, and they’ll consider including it in the next version.



GO OVER EACH STEP CAREFULLY This will be the most time-consuming step in editing, but it is effectively the last chance to improve the writing and ensure that everything is correct. Once all of these changes have been entered, send to your manager, or the author, if needed. They only need to be sent to the author if significant changes have been entered or queries in logic/intent have gone through. Spelling and punctuation changes can be approved internally, by your manager. After this has been approved, it will be sent to the designer and placed in layout. Errors may be introduced at this stage, and proofreading exists to catch those mistakes.


Reduce wordiness and redundancy

Remove passive voice (whenever possible)

Query inconsistencies, logic errors, and other

structural problems

Remove any lingering jargon that will be unclear

to our audience, and ensure all concepts are

fully explained or defined

Break up overly long sentences Query biased or inappropriate language/tone Review other common grammar issues, such as: Subject-verb agreement sentence fragments comma splices parallel structure issues tense agreements dangling modifiers If you aren’t familiar with these, I recommend researching each of them, as well as other common errors Punctuation should always be within quotes “she clearly said.” Review all comma, semicolon, and colon use. You can do this by going bottom to top and checking if each piece of punctuation is appropriately used Check that bulleted lists all are structured appropriately and have similar punctuation If sources are cited, check that they exist and are correct Check citations are aligned with CMOS. If citations are not cited, query author and ask them to include Review spelling and ensure it is accurate and consistency throughout the document Check that names (people, businesses, places) are spelled correctly Check all dates, URLs, phone numbers, and emails are correct Read through the style guide to ensure we’ve adhered to it fully (page 18)



This is the last stage of editing, and it comes just before the magazine is sent to the printer. You may feel like after all of these time-consuming editorial steps, the article must be perfect—there couldn’t possibly be more mistakes! But there almost always are. Go through the issue back to front, and check everything one last time. You’re mostly looking for formatting errors, and other issues easily introduced when moving a file from document to layout, but you may catch typos as well! This stage is done either on a physical proof copy, or a digital one. If a physical one, you’ll need to use proofreaders’ marks, which you can see to the right.







Titles of Books, Magazines, Journals, Movies, Paintings & Ships


Title of a book series

Named chapters Species Names in Latin (homo sapiens, not humans)

Shorter poems (most poems fit here)

Company or business names (treated the same as other names- capitalized only, roman font)

Legal Cases

Individual songs

Major exhibitions (PNE, for example)

Small bits of foreign languages

TV or Radio episode names

Generic titles of musical works


Blog articles

Using a letter as a grade

TV or radio shows

Unpublished works

Band names

Using a word as a word (Shaleeta keeps saying discrepancy when she means error)

Newspaper and journal articles

Signs and notices

Using a letter as a letter (You should always capitalize the letter s in Shaleeta�) Report titles Plays, operas, and ballets Epic poetry (Beowulf) Blog titles (but not websites) Titles of cartoons/comic strips Exhibitions at museums and art galleries Onomatopoeic words (bzzz)







We use the Chicago Manual of Style as our style guide, but we also have an in-house style guide that we refer to first. The style guide has information about what to do in the grey areas of writing--when to spell out numerals, how to cite sources, etc. It's a great thing to become familiar with.

This is a method of providing feedback, wherin you offer a compliment, a critique, and then another compliment. As an editor, it's important to be sensitive to the writer about changes and problems, so this is a commonly accepted method.

This is basically a fancy word for question, and is used often in editing. It more strictly means that you'd like the author to check the accuracy of something on your behalf. For example, you could query a date that seems like it may be wrong, or a formula that you can't check yourself.




This doesn’t necessarily mean that a piece needs all three kinds of editing, but instead that the writing has many errors that will be time consuming to review and fix. By telling your manager that an article will require a heavy edit, you're letting them know that you reviewed it, and you may need quite some time with it.

This is the organizational method of an article. Thinking from a big picture, you may want to choose to introduce the reader to a character or an interview at a particular point to provide impact, or change where the story concludes.

Jargon is language that is used primarily by a specific group or profession, and it may be difficult for the majority of people to understand. "Laymans Terms" is the alternative, and what is usually accepted in writing.




This means that an article will or did need very few edits in each stage--this could also be called "clean copy."

This is the speed and rhythm at which a story is told. It should be smooth, build up, and pull readers in. This is a challenging skill to master and to teach.

There are three main tenses in English, and a writer should stick to one in each article. They are Present tense, past tense, and future tense.




This guide effects all communication produced in relation to or by Link magazine, including online content.



Link, or Link magazine, never LINK magazine, or Link Magazine



Print, Digital

BCIT Student Association or BCITSA, never BCIT SA

Resource Texts The Chicago Manual of Style; The Canadian Press Caps & Spelling, Collins Gage Canadian Dictionary This style guide supercedes these reference manuals. Readability and clarity are paramount Mission Link is published eight times annually by students at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). We feature exceptional people in our community, big ideas in a changing world, and evolving social dialogue. We welcome writers, photographers and artists of all backgrounds and abilities. Purpose Our purpose is to provide a collaborative platform for student expression, and to connect you with one another’s stories and experiences. Printed editions are distributed to all five BCIT campuses and additional content is published online at Audience: BCIT Students are our first and primary consideration, but they are not the only audience. We also are read by alumni, staff, and community members—for that reason, concepts that will only be understood by students should be explained. Tone Educated, but not formal. We are a publication by students, for students. Humour is acceptable, and inclusiveness is always integral. Style Link should use varied sentence lengths, clear and easy to read sentences, and language that is educated without being snobbish. Colloquialisms are acceptable, out of context slang is not. Detail is always encouraged, and topics should be fully explored. Page Format 8.5" x 11" per page, 11" x 17" per spread. We are printed on 12" x 18" paper and trimmed. Length of Articles 18

Varied lengths, from 200-2000 words.

Other URLs in Print Shorten as much as possible while still remaining effective. IE:, not Spelling Always Canadian. Refer to our common words list on page X, then Canadian Caps and Spelling, and finally Collins Gage Canadian Dictionary. Capitalization and Grammar • Chicago Manual of Style, unless otherwise stated in this guide • Capitalize first letter after colons only if the clause is a complete sentence • and instead of &, except in titles • Job titles should only be capitalized when followed by the person’s name. IE: Executive Director Ann Smith, the executive director is Ann Smith Time am or pm unless design dictates AM or PM. Never a.m. or p.m. Always spaces to either side. If possible, only use once (9-11 am, instead of 9 am-11 am) Reader Consistency Articles should refer to You instead of We in most cases Abbreviations Unless a term and its abbreviation are so ubiquitously well-known and interchangeable (for example, JPEG), spell out the complete term the first time it is used and include the abbreviation in parentheses; for example, pay-per-click (PPC). Company Names While we try to respect all companies’ rights to control the spelling and punctuation of their names, our main responsibility is to retain readability. For this reason, please follow standard grammar rules for spelling company names (capitalize the first letter, but all other letters are lower-cased). Also, Companies are an entity and should be referred to as an “it” not a “they.” – Example: GM reported significant losses in its second quarter of 2007 (not: GM reported significant losses in their second quarter of 2007). Commas Put commas between the last two items in a list. (Oxford, or Serial comma) Example: Broadband users are wealthier, better educated, and younger. Dates • Avoid using th or st after numerals in dates. For example: April 8, not: April 8th. • Write out all month names in full. • Remember to include a comma after the year if a full date is given (for example, “On October 11, 2007, the RIAA ruled.”). No comma is needed when only the month and year are used (for example, “The CANSPAM bill was signed in September 2005.”). Quotes Use scare quotes (quotes for emphasis) very sparingly. Always use double quotation marks unless there is a quote within a quote. Dashes Use the em dash and en dash without a space before and after. For example: • The company’s software—and other technical components—were used in the presentation.


Numerals Spell out all whole numerals less than 10. For example, “one” instead of “1.” All numbers greater than nine are in numeric form; for example: 12, 33, 10,000. • Exception: If it’s not a whole number (for example: 5.2, 3.6), use the numbers; for example: 5.2 percent and 1.5 kids. • Exception: At the start of a sentence, always spell out numbers. • Exception: Numbers less than 9 that are accompanied by a dollar sign or percent sign should use numerical spellings (for example: • $9 million; 4 percent raise • Exception: Use numbers in headlines. For ages, follow general number rules. For percentages, always use numbers. • Example: She was only eight years old when the earthquake struck. • Example: Only a two-year-old child would know how to do that. • Example: GM’s earnings rose 4 percent over last year’s 10 percent drop. When referring to quantities of millions and billions, numbers and words should be used, and not just in reference to money • Example: His new salary was $12.5 billion. • Example: There were 256 million starving children. • Example: The nation has 1 million citizens. Spell out numbers that start a sentence; if the result is awkward, recast the sentence. • Example: Twenty-seven detainees were released yesterday. • Example: Yesterday, 993 freshmen entered the college. The one exception to this rule is in a sentence that begins with a calendar year. • Example: 1938 was a turbulent year for Leon. Use Roman numerals for wars, monarchs, and popes. • Example: World War II • Example: King George VI For large numbers: use a hyphen to connect a word ending in y to another word • Example: twenty-one, one hundred forty-three, seventy-six thousand five hundred eighty-seven Spell out casual expressions. • Example: A thousand times no! • Example: Thanks a million! Telephone numbers must have a symbol between sections—full stop or dash is appropriate. • Example: 250-741-6514 or 250.741.6514 not 2507416514 Country code is used if a publication is being distributed past Greater Vancouver, but otherwise omitted Regions and Directions When referring to regions, these should be capitalized and one word: • Examples: East, West, Northeast, Southeast, Midwest When referring to general directions, these should be lowercase and one word: • Example: He traveled east to St. Louis





24/7 3D not 3d or 3-D 7-11 7Up A ABC’s AC not A.C. afterparty agender AIDS not aids Airbnb not Air B&B AKA or aka but never Aka or a.k.a.– avoid using any form all-nighter and not & (except for titles) American Express, not Amex anti-vaxxer autocorrect not auto correct or auto-correct A-List (B-List, etc) not a-list or A list AWOL not AWL -avoid using any form


B backseat bisexual, but bi-curious BCE & CE, not BC & AD binge-watch not binge watch biweekly, bimonthly (meaning every other, not twice a) B2B or Business to Business, not b-to-b or B-to-B blogs, unless specified by the blog owner broadband bull’s-eye BCIT, not BC Institute of Technology BCITSA not BCIT SA BC vs B.C. C cellphone, cellular phone, or mobile phone, not cell phone City names should be written out (Los Angeles not LA, etc.) Cesarean not C-Section copyedit copywrite cross-post crowdfund

D dial-up dotcom degrees, not ° deal breaker not deal-breaker DIY not D.I.Y. E email not Email, eMail, or e-mail etc. ebook not eBook or e-book ecommerce F freakout or freak out not freak-out flatscreen not flat screen FBI not F.B.I. G GIF genderqueer god lowercase in almost all circumstances (explicitly referring to a deity? Capitalize) google if it is a verb, Google if it is a noun H homeowner humankind not human-kind or human kind I internet not Internet ice cream not ice-cream iced coffee not ice coffee ID not id or Id Ikea not IKEA J JPG or JPEG not .JPG or jpeg Jell-O (™) or jello (generic) K Kbps L Los Angeles not LA lawnmower not lawn mower (appliance) less/fewer: check usage carefully life hack not life-hack M multi-purpose Millennial MP3

N nonprofit ‘n’ for using in place of and NASCAR O opt-in & opt-out online offline offseason oh man, oh my god, oh no (no commas after oh) P pop-up pay-per-click PDF Q Q&A R ringtone rerun realign ringtone RIP S science fiction, or SF, not sci-fi, si-fi, sci fi screensaver Sharia, not Sharia law shout-out skin care not skincare or skin-care T takeout not take-out TARDIS not tardis or T.A.R.D.I.S U USA vs U.S.A. , UK vs. U.K. , UN vs U.N. V Viewership versus should be used in most cases W website not Website Web site or web site word-of-mouth when used as an adjective, otherwise word of mouth




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