What's new?

  • I was inspired by Roy Peter Clark's The Art of X-Ray Reading to examine the second-to-last paragraph of The Great Gatsby in a blog entry. This is something I discuss with my Advanced Copyediting students at UCSD Extension.
  • I'm coordinator for the American Copy Editors Society national conference
    in St. Pete, Florida. Sign up for the March 23-25 conference here.
  • I presented Mnemonize Your Word Choices, a pecha kucha, (20 slides, 20 seconds each) at the ACES 2016. The handout contains dozens of mnemonics.
  • I looked at math, numbers and editing for a recent Copyediting webinar. Look for it and some other great classes here.

Questions I am frequently asked

Do I affect the effect or the other way around?

The noun is usually "effect," and "affect" is usually the verb. As verbs, to "affect" is to influence and to "effect" is to bring about, as in "effect change," meaning create change.

 

Did I lay down or lie down?

You "lay" something. Annoyingly, "lay" also is the past tense of "lie." If you just took a nap, you say "I lay down for a bit."  Many people say "I laid down for a bit," but we usually reserve "laid" for when there is an object involved: "She laid the scissors on the mantel."

 

Is it ever OK to use "they" to refer to an individual

We do it all the time in speech. In writing, it would sure be useful, wouldn't it? You will find that sticklers stickle, but "they" as a singular, genderless pronoun is gaining acceptance.

 

Beside or besides? Toward or towards?

"Beside" means physically next to. "Besides" means "other than." They used to be interchangeable, but they've grown distinct. Most -ward words are interchangeable, but Americans tend to leave off the "s" while British English writers tend to leave it on.

 

If I'm talking about a cat, is it "awe cute"? "aww, cute"?

Awe traditionally is fear, respect, wonder. Awesome things are usually not fear-inducing these days, but as awesome as your cat may be, you are looking for "aw, cute." Some dictionaries accept "aww, cute" for particularly cute cats.

Click for more FAQs

﷯Mark Allen was the first freelance copy editor elected to the executive board of the American Copy Editors Society. He has served on the ACES board since 2012. He also is a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association, the American Society of Business Publication Editors, and the Society for Editors and Proofreaders.

Copy-editing services

Presentations, consultations

Writing

After two decades at newspapers in Michigan and Ohio, I am available to help you craft clear messages for your readers. My career as a copy editor and writer for newspapers, Fortune 500 companies, universities, and individuals has taught me the value of simplicity, whatever the audience. My focus is the message, conveyed to the reader honestly and understandably. Some clients and projects: Equity Methods: Online articles and white papers for a financial advisory firm focused on equity compensation and securities Kennedy Krieger Institute: Newsletter articles for an institute focusing on pediatric developmental disabilities The Ohio Collaborative, Ohio State University: Early-childhood education website developed for the Department of Defense Roto: Museum and science-center display signs and explainers Pat Mitchell, former president and CEO of the Public Broadcasting Service: Personal website The Committee for Economic Development of the Conference Board: Report on business support for educational achievement International Center for Transitional Justice: Report on legacies of sexual violence in northern Uganda Columbus State Community College: Hundred-page Systems Portfolio accreditation document for Higher Learning Commission Policy Analysis for California Education: Several policy papers and election guide for Berkeley-based education research center National University: Three successful accreditation self-studies
Mark Allen can speak to writing, editing, and word usage issues for fellow copy editors and anyone who writes in small groups and large, in-person or online. He teaches advanced copy editing for the University of California San Diego Extension certificate program. He also is available for critiques and consultations. Upcoming and past presentations include: Mnemonize Your Word Choices, 6 minute, 40 second presentation for the American Copy Editors Society national conference, April 2, 2016, Portland Workshop for the American Society of Business Publication Editors, July, St. Petersburg, Florida Words and editing presentation for Allstate Insurance, July, 2015 Editing workshop for Kappa Kappa Gamma editorial team, August 2013, Columbus Freelancer’s Forum, organizer, moderator, panelist: American Copy Editors Society 2011, 2012 and 2013 national conferences, Phoenix, New Orleans and St. Louis. Panelist in 2014 in Las Vegas Editing Boot Camp, co-presenter: ACES regional workshops in St. Louis, Las Vegas, Detroit and Columbus (organizer) Expanding our Editorial Skills, panelist: Society for Editors and Proofreaders National Conference, York, England, September, 2012 Weathering the Publishing Storm, copyediting in the digital age: Copyediting Newsletter audio conference, May 2012 Become a Numbers Person: Copyediting Newsletter audio conference, February 2011
Mark recently completed a 100-page history book covering 130 years of the College of Pharmacy at the Ohio State University. He served as an in-house communication consultant, writer, editor, and project manager for Nationwide Financial Retirement Plans. He has written articles for Copyediting.com, the American Copy Editors Society, Grammar Girl, and Ragan Communications.
Rates are competitive, based on ranges published by the Editorial Freelancers Association and an estimate of the hours involved. We can chat about your budget and make a plan for what will work best. I can also provide proofreading, formatting, and design services.

Tweets and retweets

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My focus is on helping people communicate clearly and honestly. I am a copy editor and writer, editorial consultant and presenter.

Some very nice things (some about me) on Twitter

Clarity through copy editing

A good copy editor takes on the  role of reader, making sure the author’s point is understood. A good copy editor helps the author and reader connect. I've been doing this for 30 years.

 

 

Knowledge to share

Presentations range from a seven-minute look at confusable words to day-long workshops on writing, copy-editing, grammar, style guides, and other topics. I'm available via webinar, here in Columbus, Ohio, or wherever you want to fly me.

 

Writing that makes the point

Projects include researching and writing  marketing documents, business-to-business letters and newsletters, and internal newsletters. I also researched and wrote an institutional history book.

Copyright 2016 Mark Allen Editorial LLC

﷯Mark Allen was the first freelance copy editor elected to the executive board of the American Copy Editors Society. He has served on the ACES board since 2012. He also is a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association, the American Society of Business Publication Editors, and the Society for Editors and Proofreaders.
After two decades at newspapers in Michigan and Ohio, I am available to help you craft clear messages for your readers. My career as a copy editor and writer for newspapers, Fortune 500 companies, universities, and individuals has taught me the value of simplicity, whatever the audience. My focus is the message, conveyed to the reader honestly and understandably. Some clients and projects: Equity Methods: Online articles and white papers for a financial advisory firm focused on equity compensation and securities Kennedy Krieger Institute: Newsletter articles for an institute focusing on pediatric developmental disabilities The Ohio Collaborative, Ohio State University: Early-childhood education website developed for the Department of Defense Roto: Museum and science-center display signs and explainers Pat Mitchell, former president and CEO of the Public Broadcasting Service: Personal website The Committee for Economic Development of the Conference Board: Report on business support for educational achievement International Center for Transitional Justice: Report on legacies of sexual violence in northern Uganda Columbus State Community College: Hundred-page Systems Portfolio accreditation document for Higher Learning Commission Policy Analysis for California Education: Several policy papers and election guide for Berkeley-based education research center National University: Three successful accreditation self-studies
Mark Allen can speak to writing, editing, and word usage issues for fellow copy editors and anyone who writes in small groups and large, in-person or online. He teaches advanced copy editing for the University of California San Diego Extension certificate program. He also is available for critiques and consultations. Upcoming and past presentations include: Mnemonize Your Word Choices, 6 minute, 40 second presentation for the American Copy Editors Society national conference, April 2, 2016, Portland Workshop for the American Society of Business Publication Editors, July, St. Petersburg, Florida Words and editing presentation for Allstate Insurance, July, 2015 Editing workshop for Kappa Kappa Gamma editorial team, August 2013, Columbus Freelancer’s Forum, organizer, moderator, panelist: American Copy Editors Society 2011, 2012 and 2013 national conferences, Phoenix, New Orleans and St. Louis. Panelist in 2014 in Las Vegas Editing Boot Camp, co-presenter: ACES regional workshops in St. Louis, Las Vegas, Detroit and Columbus (organizer) Expanding our Editorial Skills, panelist: Society for Editors and Proofreaders National Conference, York, England, September, 2012 Weathering the Publishing Storm, copyediting in the digital age: Copyediting Newsletter audio conference, May 2012 Become a Numbers Person: Copyediting Newsletter audio conference, February 2011
Mark recently completed a 100-page history book covering 130 years of the College of Pharmacy at the Ohio State University. He served as an in-house communication consultant, writer, editor, and project manager for Nationwide Financial Retirement Plans. He has written articles for Copyediting.com, the American Copy Editors Society, Grammar Girl, and Ragan Communications.
Rates are competitive, based on ranges published by the Editorial Freelancers Association and an estimate of the hours involved. We can chat about your budget and make a plan for what will work best. I can also provide proofreading, formatting, and design services.
My focus is on helping people communicate clearly and honestly. I am a copy editor and writer, editorial consultant and presenter.