The Nitpicker’s Nook: April’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

  • The American Copy Editors’ Society’s (ACES) 2015 National Conference, held at the end of March, featured a wealth of inspiring speakers and informative sessions. Fortunately for those of us who weren’t there, it also attracted scores of diligent tweeters, as seen in this Storify of the first day’s social media activity. Explore the conference blog for much more. (
  • One theme from ACES 2015 was the growing acceptance of the singular “they,” with the Associated Press Stylebook being almost the lone holdout. Here’s everything you ever needed to know about this much-maligned usage. (Stroppy Editor)
  • EAC, of course, has its own conference coming up in June. Freelance writer Nicole Dieker has excellent advice for conference-going freelancers who hope to stand out from the crowd. (
  • Working with multiple authors or reviewers can be a headache, particularly if one or more of them doesn’t quite understand how Track Changes works. Martha Carlson-Bradley explains how to set up Word documents so that Track Changes has to be used. (Editor Queries)

  • According to one piece of research, “good” writing has relatively more verbs and adverbs, while “bad” writing is rich in nouns and adjectives. So, what do we really mean when we advise writers to avoid adverbs? According to The Economist’s Prospero blog, it’s simple: use words that count for something. (The Economist)
  • Language, as any editor knows, is powerful, and words can hurt or exclude if wielded carelessly. The Conscious Style Guide is a valuable and thoughtful collection of links about inclusive language, with style recommendations coming later this year. (The Conscious Style Guide)
  • Revenge of the typography nerds: So you’re convinced that double spaces after a period are incorrect? Nuh-uh, says blogger Heraclitus, who has a mountain of research to prove it. (Heraclitean River)
  • For freelancers, a well-written Terms and Conditions document is important to protect you from common problems such as work overload and non-payment of fees. Liz Dexter explains that a T&C needs to be a living document and discusses how her own has evolved. (LibroEditing)
  • Working from home has many advantages, but it deprives us of the precious in-between time a commute offers. Louise Swingler argues that non-allocated time is essential for creativity and focus, and describes how “walking to work” daily gives her that time. (Room for Writing)

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

This article was copy edited by Denise Steller.

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