The Nitpicker’s Nook: February’s linguistic links roundup

The Nitpicker’s Nook is a monthly collection of language-related articles, interviews, and blog posts from around the Web. If you read something that would make a good addition, email your suggestion to [email protected].

The Nitpicker's NookBy Robin Marwick

  • Mary Norris has worked at The New Yorker since 1977 as an indexer, collator, and finally, a copy editor. This lovely article is both a short memoir and an ode to the comma. (The New Yorker)
  • “Many tears have been shed trying to save a sentence that should just be put out of its misery.” Historical romance novelist Joanna Bourne gives a master class in waking up a dull sentence. (Joanna Bourne)
  • So the novel you’re about to copy edit has 73 characters, 12 locations, and follows a fiendishly complex interlocking timeline. Where to start? With a style sheet, of course. Amy J. Schneider explains how she approaches character style sheets. (An American Editor)
  • If you edit projects with their own special vocabulary, a custom dictionary can be a lifesaver. Andy Hollandbeck explains how to create and use custom dictionaries with Microsoft Word. (

  • Sometimes doing a great job with a manuscript isn’t enough. As Hazel Harris discusses, a lack of professionalism can create headaches for your client and leave them with a bad impression of your work. Are you committing one of these deadly freelancing sins? (Editing Mechanics)
  • So many tasks to keep track of, so little mental space to do it with. Freelance editor and novelist Jeannette de Beauvoir suggests some tools to help the juggling freelancer stay organized. (

Robin Marwick is a Toronto-based editor, medical writer, content strategist, and dog lover.

This article was copy edited by Alanna Brousseau.

2 thoughts on “The Nitpicker’s Nook: February’s linguistic links roundup

  1. When I was a child, my father, an English teacher, drilled me every day to expand my command of the language. He would assign a word to me, and instruct me to find 5 homonyms, 5 antonyms and 5 synonyms, then use each in a sentence. Sometimes I thought him a tyrant, but boy oh boy my vocabulary and knowledge of English soared. As an adult, I am deeply grateful to him. Your Nitpicker’s Nook carries on this fine tradition, albeit in a slightly less tyrannical manner. 🙂


  2. Belated thanks for this lovely comment, Stephen! What a great way to expand your vocabulary. My parents didn’t ask me to do this, but dinner at my grandparents’ was never really complete until there was at least one reference book on the table. I hope you’ll continue to find the column useful!


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