Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers: Book Review

Writers know that their stories come to light after the editing process. You tighten sentences, fix typos, look for flow and correct errors. There are plenty of words that can be confusing, and author Carolyn Howard-Johnson offers a list of “word trippers” – words that sound alike and words often confused or commonly misused.

This 54-page booklet includes word trippers like:

    alright / all right
    anxious / eager
    every day / everyday
    further / farther
    gage / gauge
    lose / loose
    to lie / to lay
    peddling / pedaling
    peaked / peeked / piqued
    setup / set up
    sight / site / cite
    waiver / waver

Some entries include words we probably know, such as the difference between lose and loose, yet they often are mistyped and not corrected. The book lists words in alphabetical order, and each entry includes a short explanation on the proper usage. Sometimes, the word is antiquated and shouldn’t be used anymore. Other times, it’s a difference in American versus British English. It also explains the best word choice, so you don’t rub an editor (or other gatekeeper) the wrong way.

In addition to the word combination, the book includes singular words that are often misused. Have you used “enable” or “mischievious” in your writing? Find out why you shouldn’t use either one.

It’s hard to get our words into the hands of readers. At the very least, your work shouldn’t get tossed at the starting gate. Your copy needs to be error free, which shows professionalism and experience.

This booklet isn’t the final word on editing, and it’s not meant to be. Howard-Johnson shares these common word trippers from her experience as an editor and author. The booklet is a valuable resource, and one you should have in your purse, briefcase or book shelf.

You can flip through the book to look for a word you’re struggling with, or you can do what I did: read the entire book in one sitting. I found some gems I wouldn’t have otherwise seen if I skipped through entries. It’s short, easy-to-use and peppered with Howard-Johnson’s vast knowledge in publishing. This booklet is now sitting on my desk and always within arm’s reach. I highly recommend Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers: The Ultimate Frugal Booklet for Avoiding Word Trippers and Crafting Gatekeeper-Perfect Copy for your library.

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10 thoughts on “Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers: Book Review”

  1. Jennifer
    Sounds like you have found a little gem of a book here. I find myself getting more and more muddled with words as I get older. I have decided that on my blog I am not as worried, in my professional writing however I would find this book invaluable. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  2. Love the post. I used to teach English, and I wish I had $1 for every time my students confused some of the words you listed above. My pet peeve is watching people bungle “then” and “than”. I can’t help it, but that makes me cringe. Take care.
    Angela Arnold recently posted..Stress

  3. Jennifer

    I seem to get confused as time rolls on. Guess I’ll have to blame that on old age. But ever since I started writing and conditioning my brain; I’m starting to make less mistakes than I did when I wasn’t doing nearly as much reading or writing. The English language is so confusing and can be easily misinterpreted. not sure about the British language by comparison, but I always make a few typos here and there. But hopefully most people get where I’m trying to come from. Nice little article; so true.

    Steven Dean
    Steven Dean recently posted..Alexa Ranking Newbie Update

  4. I agree that some people do mistakes with their grammar and the proper usage of words. This is one of the issues with lots of emerging new blogs on the internet. Some content are professionally written while some are not written properly. Your guide should prove useful, especially to those that are not so fluent with English. Like what Lori suggested, every writer should own a copy of this book.
    Matt recently posted..fractionation

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