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Monday, May 27, 2013

Obscure Editing Tip: About Those Pronouns!

I'm just popping by to give you some help I recently gave to a client. Hope it helps!
When we start a new paragraph, we may be tempted to use a personal pronoun that refers back to the paragraph before. Editors--should figure out the style preferences of the publication you're editing and follow protocol. They should suggest using either the person's last name or full name rather than that pesky pronoun. By the time it's traveled to a new paragraph its antecedent may not be all that evident.

If you're self-editing, then lucky you! You get to decide on your own protocol; you may even decide to use first names or be ultra formal and use last names along with the titles, Miss, Mrs. Ms. or Mr.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults. and speaks on issues of publishing. Find her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success (How To Do It Frugally series of book for writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at , where writers will find lists and other helps including Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her Sharing with Writers blog. She tweets writers' resources at . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:


Morgan Mandel said...

Especially important for inserting a name is at the start of a new page. Otherwise, the reader can get very confused!

Morgan Mandel

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Morgan, it's so easy to let pronouns lead us astray. The writer is so familiar with the piece, he or she knows what the pronoun points back to. The reader doesn't have that luxury.

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