Editorium Update: Semiautomatic Corrections
Sep 26, 2001 11:34 PDT
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Tips for Publishing Professionals Using Microsoft Word
September 26, 2001
By Jack M. Lyon (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org)
Over the past few weeks we've discussed corrections that editors can
make automatically with Microsoft Word's Find and Replace feature. For
more information, see these three issues of Editorium Update:
In addition, editors can save time by making "semiautomatic"
corrections--in other words, by using Word's Find feature to locate
"indicators" of possible problems and then fixing those problems as
needed. For example, the word "are" is such an indicator. If you use
Word's Find feature to locate occurrences of the word "are," you'll run
into sentences like this one:
"The editors are making corrections in the manuscript."
This can be edited to this:
"The editors are correcting the manuscript."
Or maybe even to this:
"The editors correct the manuscript."
In fact, any form of the verb "to be" ("be," "are," "was," "were") may
indicate other problems (wordiness, passive voice, lack of a strong
verb, unnecessary use of the present participle, and so on).
(Before I edited it, the previous sentence read, " In fact, any forms of
the verb 'to be' are possible indicators of other problems . . . " See
what I mean?)
Another indicator is the suffix "ly," which can be used to find
sentences like this one:
"He ran quickly down the street."
Weak, weak, weak. How about "He bolted down the street" or "He charged
down the street" or "He blasted down the street"? If you're a writer,
you'll find this trick particularly useful.
Other indicators are the phrases "there is" and "there are,"
particularly at the start of sentences. "There are three writers working
on the project" can be edited to "Three writers work on the project."
Next week I'll try to provide more semiautomatic corrections. (If you
already have your own list, *please* send it to me so I can share it
with other subscribers: mailto:email@example.com.) In the meantime,
here's a list (slightly edited by me) provided by Microsoft Word expert
Steve Hudson (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thanks, Steve! Some of the items are
for technical editing ("check," "tick," "up," "down"). Most, though, can
be used in any situation.
ATTEMPT TO KILL:
CAREFULLY AND MANUALLY CHECK:
details (replace with "information")
check (replace with "set")
tick (replace with "set")
up (replace with "up arrow")
down (replace with "down arrow")
system (replace with something else if not being used generically)
say (replace with "show")
description (replace with "information")
explanation (replace with "information")
communicate (replace with "say," "tell," or "talk")
exponential (replace with "rapid")
feedback (does it mean anything?)
fortuitous (replace with "lucky")
input (does it mean anything?)
interface (replace with "connect)
paradigm (archetypal method? point of view? mindset?)
irony / ironic / ironically (implies the opposite of the literal sense)
synergy(increased energy through cooperative side-effects?)
and/or (rewrite to: ... and ... or ... or both)
that (restrictive & defining)
which (if nonrestrictive explanatory, set off in commas)
who (must be used with people)
Several subscribers provided useful tips this week. Many thanks to them
Anne K. Bailey (email@example.com) wrote about automatically
replacing "%" with "percent":
"I would suggest that it is preferable to have the replacement be
'^spercent' (putting a nonbreaking space bfore the word 'percent'). This
would ensure that nowhere in the text would '75' (or whatever number) be
dangling at the end of one line with the word "percent" at the beginning
of the next.
"In my opinion, the nonbreaking space is extremely underutilized."
Where do *you* use nonbreaking spaces? Please let me know here:
Neil Hymans (firstname.lastname@example.org) provided more information about the
Window and Popup Menu keys on Microsoft-compatible keyboards:
"The two extra keys discussed recently can do much more than open the
Start menu or simulate a right mouse click. When used in conjunction
with a 'key combination manager' (such as the amazing--and
*free*--Winkey from http://www.copernic.com/winkey/), they open up a
world of possibilities for new hotkey combinations.
"Some examples: I use WIN+W to start Word, WIN+X to start Excel, and
many others that suit my needs, secure in the knowledge that they aren't
conflicting with default key combinations of any other application.
Mike Brown (email@example.com) wrote:
"You can use the Windows key for shortcut key combinations, but I find
it most useful as OS shortcuts to useful functions.
"My favorite functions are Windows + M to minimize all open windows to
the Taskbar, Windows + R to display the Run dialog box (I like to run
batch files from the Run dialog box), Windows + F to open the Find
dialog, and Windows + E to open an Explorer window.
"I use Macro Express (a program to create macros throughout the system
or for any program), and I find the Windows key to be a great mnemonic
aid for system-level macros.
"If you have the Microsoft Natural keyboard or Intellitype software
installed, there are tons of other combos:
If you have helpful hints, questions, or comments you'd like to share in
Editorium Update, we'd be happy to consider them for publication. Please
email them here: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
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