I wrote about the Farhad Manjoo article that totally disagrees with the use of two spaces after the period. Well he supplies a link to Sarah Wiederkehr’s article about why APA 6th suggested two articles. Sarah is part of the official voice of APA, so to my mind, fairly authoritive.
Note that she clearly refers to a draft manuscript.
[pullquote_right] The new edition of the Publication Manual recommends that authors include two spaces after each period in draft manuscripts.[/pullquote_right]
I still do not agree that one should be spending time on two spaces, meaning many hours of wasted time. Then when you publish, you waste more time changing it all back to one. Basically it is beyond me. But as an editor, I see the so-called two-space “rule” all the time in school’s guides, especially the Dissertation Guides. I guess it is always a draft for them. I certainly have never been asked to convert back to one space just before publication for example in ProQuest. So possibly it is a misunderstanding of APA’s intent.
Okay, I promise, not another word on this topic.
I can’t help writing about the usage of two spaces after a period. Remember, first and foremost I’m an editor. I’m bound to give the client what is required. With editing there are right/wrong issues. Then there style preferences issues. Deciding to use one or two spaces at the end of a sentence is a style issue. It just so happens to be one I feel strongly about.
- Simple really. As an editor it wastes my time having to check and usually add in spaces when two spaces after a period are required. It cannot be done automatically because the two-space “rule” does not apply to the usage of periods elswehere, for example, after a abbreviation or in the all important reference section of an academic paper.
- I’ve seen too many students spending time on agonizing about spaces when they should be focused on content or academic phrasing or maybe general formatting. Spaces after a period …!
I came across an article that really does not like the two-space preference and so I simply have to share:
Ferhard Manjoo wrote: [pullquote_left] Can I let you in on a secret? Typing two spaces after a period is totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong. [/pullquote_left]
The article is a good read, and looks at a bit of the history of the one vs. two space question. It also points out what certain academic referencing styles advise. To sum up: one space. According to the author this applies to APA as well once no longer a draft.
Read more in the next post about APA and whether one or two spaces.
Okay, so your school requires you to use the double space. How do you remember to do so?
You have 2 choices as I see it:
1. Try and remember to use the 2 spaces as you type.
2. Completely ignore the requirement and add it afterwards.
Trying to remember to do so as you type, places your focus elsewhere. If you are not used to using 2 spaces, trying to do so while writing an essay is hardly productive. Sure practice it, but not while writing. It will simply interupt your creative flow. Set aside separate time to just practice 2 spaces, if you want.
Do it afterwards. As I said before, a huge time waster. Use the Find and Replace function. But be warned, if you have any abbreviations, citations, or references, you cannot do one global change. You have to do it sentence by sentence. Have fun. As editors, this is literally what we have to do. Make sure to have the hide/show icon switched on so you can see how many spaces there are and if another is needed. Under 10 pages one remains sane. After that, one is seriously cursing APA and your school. But like many conventions, a simple enough academic hoop to jump through.
I have been very busy elsewhere and have not attended to this blog for some time now. But it is time. APA updated from the 5th edition to the 6th. As often happens with first printings, there were many errors. Anyway, we are into a second printing and there has been enough time for the academics to decide how they want to interpret APA 6th. APA has made it abundantly clear, they are focused on how to submit APA journal articles. If you want to use APA for a short paper like a class paper, or a long paper like a thesis or dissertation, go ahead. But do not expect answers from them on how to lay it out.
So it is up to each school to decide on the detail. And it is up to each school to do what its prefers. It is hard to believe there can be so many interpretations. But there are. As a student, it is up to you to find out what is required for your school or your department.
My pet hate and a convention that many schools have adopted is the double space at the end of a sentence. Nobody types with 2 spaces anymore. Remembering to do so and checking it is the biggest time waster ever. APA choose it because they were looking at articles that get printed. Class papers and dissertations are hardly about printing. But many schools have adopted the double space, in spite of APA making it a recommendation and not a necessity.
From a student’s point of view it wastes time. From an editor’s point of view it wastes time. If you have the choice to avoid this recommendation, do so. Otherwise, grit your teeth and be sure to do it correctly and consistently.
More on another day about APA 6th.
It is your duty to be an assertive and informed student. The doctoral road is structured to help you in many ways. Sometimes the help might feel like a hindrance because so many people have a say and they might be unclear, but know that it isn’t. True, there are times when you have to jump through academic hoops to satisfy academic egos, but that is part of the process. Just get over it and get on with the writing process. Don’t let anyone point you in the wrong direction when help is needed. And through all the trials and tribulations, be sure to value and pay for the expertise of a good academic editor.
At times the content road of your doctoral journey is a battle. Equip yourself with knowledge and use whatever help is available. And to get you going, Language Online created a guide for the serious student to equip yourself with some basic self-editing skills. Please be sure to download your own personal copy of the Language Online 21 Proofreading Tips and be sure to use them. At the very least, some should bring a smile to your face.
I think often students are hoping for a content edit when they are paying for a copy edit. Often a student needs a content edit, but only wants a copy edit. So even if you are not writing under ideal circumstances, know yourself and know the process. Know what you should be doing, know who is in the chain of faculty help, know what kind of help you need from an editor, and be prepared to pay for good editing.
What could be less than perfect circumstances?
- When one chooses a topic, one would expect the process of discovery to be simple. Not so. This is normal, but if in any way you find it problematic, get help.
- One chooses your academic advisors expecting perfect help. Unlikely.
- If you are not a great writer, acknowledge that, and find and pay for a good academic editor.
Don’t confuse the two types of editing and don’t expect to get a content edit if paying for a copy edit. But if you are a knowledgeable student who does your share of the work, this is unlikely to happen. And if you need a content edit for part or all of your work, be wise enough to know that and get help. Faculty would be your first option and if that is not available, find a good content editor fast.
Now that you are clear about a copy edit, a look at the content edit.
It is of no use polishing a paper if the content is lacking. Well-written nothing is still nothing. So before one can polish a paper, namely the copy edit, one needs to build the content.
So the starting point is the content. The idea is for the author and editor to work the content repeatedly until the thoughts are logical and words flow. Gaps in literature are often the most common content problem, or an unclear thesis, fuzzy questions, loose hypotheses, etc. Once the content has been tightened and honed, then the copy edit process applies. If you cannot manage the content by yourself and there is not enough help from the university, be prepared to pay the expensive rate of a content editor.
Anyone offering to write the paper for you is not an editor. Editors work with already written text. How else can you call the work your own if you did not write it in the first place. Be super careful of anyone who offers to write your work for you.
Almost time to wrap up this series. I’ve spoken much about who is involved in the doctoral process and that the academic editor is one of possibly 8 people. I think a brief recap of what an academic editor can and can’t do is in order.
What is a copy edit and what is a content edit? Lack of clarity can also cause an unsatisfactory experience.
Copy edits mean checking all language and punctuation, making sure the work has an academic tone, that house a style is applied (if provided), and that the formatting is correct and consistent. While doing all that, an editor will work to keep your writing voice. Not an easy task. The degree of sophistication of the final document depends on three aspects:
- your level of writing
- how well and how often you self-edit
- the number of times you have an academic editor edit your work.
My favorite images when trying to describe how editing works is the onion or the ladder. As you keep peeling the onion layers or climbing the rungs of the ladder, so a piece of writing improves. Someone who writes well to start with and does good self-editing could manage with one edit at the end. They next layer or rung is immediately achievable. Someone who writes poorly, be it poor English or poor academic English, would need at least two edits or more. A first edit would get it reading reasonably. A second edit would ensure that the next layer or rung is possible. And sometimes more is needed.
So there you have a brief look at why editors are sometimes put into a really difficult position. If you never understand what is going wrong from your side, you will always be disappointed with the editing relationship and the editing process.
The solution is simple. Be a take-charge student. Know your role. Know who else needs to be involved, and what to expect from each person. Use a good editor when ready and know what to expect. Equip yourself with basic self-editing skills. Such knowledge will allow you to productively accept good help and ignore pedantic advice. If you haven’t already, download your own handy copy of the Language Online 21 Proofreading Tips. And be sure to read the guide and use the tips.
Go here to request your copy: . http://tinyurl.com/self-editing
Students who expect too much from academic editors: reason 4
The lazy advisor and advisory committee
The very people allocated by the university to help you often expect the editor ‘to fix’ everything. Or worse, they like to shift their responsibility, when they should be helping. Even with all the help available, the doctoral road is seldom linear. There are always bumps in the road, constant rewriting, and delays. Students and faculty know this, and to expect an editor to make the process completely linear is unrealistic. A good editor will smooth the road, but bumps there will be. Simply how the process works.
This is more difficult to work around because it is not strictly speaking in your hands. You may or may not have had a hand in choosing your faculty help. Either way, there are no guarantees the relationship will work. Essentially you need to be an informed and confident student to weather this difficulty. You must know enough to keep to not allow a advisory member to shift work or blame onto an editor. This is a big no-win situation if the editor is the fall person.
I came across this recently and was reminded about the fun I had in the classroom with spoonerisms. Of course, you’d be just fine if you never heard about a spoonerism, but hey, fun is important. At least this brings the odd smile to one’s face.
When I’m tired I tend to fruit salad my words and out comes … spoonerisms 😳
spoonerism SPOO-nuh-riz-uhm, noun:
The transposition of usually initial sounds in a pair of words.
- We all know what it is to have a half-warmed fish [“half-formed wish”] inside us.
- A well-boiled icicle [“well-oiled bicycle”].
- It is kisstomary to cuss [“customary to kiss”] the bride.
- Is the bean dizzy [“dean busy”]?
- When the boys come back from France, we’ll have the hags flung out [“flags hung out”]!
- Let me sew you to your sheet [“show you to your seat”].
A little bit of history. Spoonerism comes from the name of the Rev. William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930), a kindly but nervous Anglican clergyman and educationalist. All the above examples were committed by (or attributed to) him.
Students who expect too much from academic editors: reason 3.
The ill-equipped or ill-advised student
Students sometimes just are not aware of the levels of help that the university should extend to them. As academic editors, we see this with campus-based and online students. It is clearly the student’s job to find out exactly who should be doing what to help. But it is equally the faculty’s role, to facilitate the student in understanding who is available to help, what resources the university has on hand, and what to expect.
Not any different to the lazy or insecure student. You must get down to finding out what is available to you. You are not alone in your studies. The school gains as much as you do when you graduate successfully. So make them work for the right to include you in their stats and thus get additional funding and be able to advertise how successful they are at producing graduates.
Students who expect too much from academic editors: reason 2.
The insecure student
If for any reason a student is unsure of his or her content or writing ability, the student desperately looks for someone in the doctoral chain to give reassurance and do the work for him or her. As a student, content is your preserve. You have chosen your topic. You need to refine your topic. Your university faculty team need to assist with the molding of your content. To some extent they can also help with the editing. The tidying of the writing can be improved by a good academic editor. Please note, I said improved, not written by the editor. You provide the goods, the content; the editor will help hone the end product.
Again understanding your responsibility, knowing what is required, and becoming confident with the process will give you the freedom not be a needy student looking for confirmation outside of yourself when you should be focusing within and simply using all the available help as sounding boards.
By now you should have a good idea of what help is available to you as a master’s or doctoral student both from your school and from online services. You should also be clear what is your responsibility. Yet we repeatedly see perfectly intelligent doctoral students expecting academic editors to be miracle workers.
From experience there seem to be a number of reasons. Let me discuss the 4 obvious reasons in the next few blogs. These are not judgments, but rather observations. Most of them are within the power of the student to change if wanting to.
So to get started. Students who expect too much from academic editors: reason 1.
The lazy student
Writing is a dynamic process, ever-changing, and hopefully ever-improving. I find myself saying that over and over because I believe in it so much. A student who just wants a quick fix, as if producing a product rather than dynamic research work, wants someone else to do much of the work. Who better than the academic editor? And when their quick-fix approach backfires, who better to blame than the editor.
The solution for a student is of course to understand your role, the school’s role, and the outside editor’s role and then confusion can never exist.
Learning where to find the right help
Okay, by now you should have a clear idea of what a university can offer and hopefully what your university does offer when embarking on the doctoral or master’s road. One usually chooses one advisory’s team (advisor and 2 committee members), but even that does not guarantee a smooth road.
The trick is to know what each person should be providing. Students seldom get all the help that the university should be providing, but you should know where to look for the help. That way you can avoid the disappointment of looking for help in the wrong place, from the wrong person. Do not expect your advisor to write your thesis or dissertation. Do not expect your academic editor to be a miracle worker. Be decisive and choose what you wish to include in your paper when you get conflicting advice from the various levels of help. And do not allow faculty to shift their responsibility onto the editor.
How can you be confident about finding your way through differing opinions about what you should do? Equip yourself to understand what each person can offer you. Learn to do some basic self-editing to bring all the ideas into focus. Need help understanding how to self-edit? Download your own handy copy of the Language Online 21 Proofreading Tips to help guide you through trying times. Be sure to print the guide and have it on hand. And when you have competently completed your share, hand over to a good academic editor for some editing TLC.
Different word game, and so easy for some and difficult for others. Our brains are all different.
Inside each set of the following words, there are a pair of smaller words. By putting & between them, lo & behold, you’ll make a familiar phrase. For example, “Thighbone/Swallowtail” conceals “High & Low.”
Understand who could and should be involved with your thesis or dissertation.
I’ve borrowed some thoughts from a university to their students. The sections in  are my additions. This combination can vary from university to university, but the point still is that there are many official university appointed people involved. And one academic editor who should in no way be directly involved with the university. Helps keep some of objectivity in what is an intensely emotional process at times.
Levels of Help
“During the dissertation review, you will benefit from perspectives and recommendations from 8 levels of review:
- 3 committee members[: an advisor and 2 committee members is often the combination]
- 1 academic reviewer
- 2 IRB reviewers [the AR and IRB combination varies from school to school]
- the APA editor [often a statistician can also be included here]
- the dean’s review
The purpose of these reviews is not punitive, but is intended to increase your scholarly writing abilities and to ensure that the dissertations produced by students … are scholarly in form and style.”
Out of the 8 people supposedly involved with an edit, 7 are from the university. That means only the academic editor isn’t. Each one has a clearly defined role within your studies. And the definition of what an editor must do is very clear in the use of the above example of an APA editor: language, punctuation, academic style, school’s style (if provided), and APA formatting. Essentially this is what I call an academic copy edit. The term “copy” is terminology from the publishing world and means your paper.
So now you know what to expect and from whom 😎 .
Next up is how to use that help wisely.
Back to braingle and more famous books and their authors. I love when I don’t always get all the books or authors. See if you are better at it than I am. One could easily make up a ton of these.
Same formula. Letters have been taken from each book and each author.
From the letter list below fill in each letter to give the names of the books and authors.
An-e-s and D-m-ns
C-r-nic-es of N-r–a
C – L-wi-
A F-re-e-l to A-m-
A M-sq-e of Me-c-
T-e Hu-t for R-d Oc-o-e-
Choose an editor soon and wisely
Academic editors often feel as if in a battle: deep in the trenches, straight in the firing line. And truth be told, editors like to be in the backrooms, quietly working away.
Why the battlefield? Well, doctoral students and advisors often expect miracles from academic editors. Good editors are extremely reliable, but they are only one cog in a very complex wheel and have no say over what a school requires.
It is a good idea to choose an editor right at the beginning of your writing process and work together for the full number of years it takes to complete your studies.
A good editor will want to know what a school requires so that school guidelines can be included in an edit. Nothing more satisfying for a flexible editor than providing a student with an integrated edit that includes the basics of good English, academic style, strict formatting (like APA), and a school’s house style.
I Originally read this as a cartoon. Now it arrived by email and it still make me smile. This form of humor has a name. Not important you know the name though, but does it make you smile.
“Why are you moving? You’ve only arrived in our lovely neighborhood a few weeks ago.”
“I know, but I read some frightening statistics in the local paper: most auto accidents happen within eight miles of your home.”
Still focusing on you and your editor.
Whatever you do, give your best effort to an editor. If you send careless work, the editor will always be dealing with the first layer of the onion or the first rung of the ladder. The idea of using an editor is to raise the bar and improve the level of your work.
A few steps before you use an academic editor:
- Get friends and family you trust with reasonable language skills to read your dissertation or thesis. Make sure people edit with tracking on. You must know what changes are being suggested.
- Incorporate any suggestions from your advisor and advisory committee.
- Then self-edit as many times as you can. Do you know anything about self-editing or proofreading? You owe it to yourself to learn some basic tips. Download your own handy copy of the Language Online 21 Proofreading Tips. Be sure to keep a printed copy next to your computer.
Now you can send to an academic editor. Be prepared to pay a reasonable fee and wait a reasonable amount of time for the edit. You want excellence; give the person the space to provide you with excellence.
Quite simply, provide your best first and then use a good editor: the perfect formula for success.
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A theory is something nobody believes, except the person who made it.
An experiment is something everybody believes, except the person who made it.
I classify three basic types of editing.
- copy editing
- content editing
- format editing
As a editing service, Language Online offers copy and content editing. Format editing is absorbed into a copy or content edit. Almost impossible to do it separately. Proofreading is for you and for your friends and family who might read for you. It is also forms a part of any copy or content edit.
But what do you need to do. First, get your content in place. This is actually what your advisor and advisory committee are for. They must work with your on content. Then pass your writing on to your academic editor to copy edit: refine and ensure all the language, punctuation, academics style, school style preferences, and formatting are correct and consistent. Content and how work is written are really not mutually exclusive, but if you are needing to separate the focus, start with content and then move to honing the writing detail.
Ironically, if there are problems with your content, the reverse is true. Some advisors actually want you to get the written part sorted out before they finalize the content with you. The reason is actually very simple.
Clear writing reveals problems with content.
Fuzzy writing, hides content problems.
So if you have the time and financial resources, have an academic editor edit before and after the input of your team.
The best way to ensure good writing and content is to involve your chosen academic editor step by step. Give each chapter to an editor and be sure to edit at the proposal and dissertation stage as well.
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Hope this does not offend, but I thought it amusing. Humor can be very different for people and so I tread with caution. As always, there is some word play and hence my smile. Email humor.
Don’t LOOK at anything in a physics lab.
Don’t TASTE anything in a chemistry lab.
Don’t SMELL anything in a biology lab.
Don’t TOUCH anything in a medical lab.
and, most importantly,
Don’t LISTEN to anything in a philosophy department.
You are busy with your thesis or doctorate. You have identified what you wish to write a about and have narrowed your focus. You understand about your advisory team and have a good or not so good relationship.
When does one engage an editor? Does on engage a professional academic editor?
Anyone who has written anything for public consumption knows that one edit is not enough. Editing is like an onion or a ladder. One needs to keep editing until it reads well. The more one strives for excellence, the more one needs to peel another layer/edit to get it ever-refined. Or another image. One edits and gets to an acceptable level. If one wants to improve the quality, one needs to climb the ladder and have repeated edits.
Students have one professional edit, make changes, and think the work should still be perfect. It’s not and even one change or non-acceptance of even a small part of an edit can mess up a perfectly good edit. So if you are looking for anything close to perfection, pay for repeated professional edits. As I always try to remind students: writing is a dynamic process and not a static process. Layer by layer; step by step.
I have yet to write anything that I have not repeatedly read and repeatedly changed. Depending on time and importance, I get someone else to look. With your own work you always miss something. So pass it on to others to also read for you.
And next is what kinds of editing are available to you. But if in a rush to see what a good editing service offers, browse around the Language Online website.
Now for a different type of puzzle from briangle.com.
What common phrase is represented by this rebus?
rebus = a puzzle in which the syllables of words and names are represented either by pictures of things that sound the same or by letters
Weak, “I’m going.”
Tough, “I’m staying.”
Weak, “I’m going.”
Tough, “I’m staying.”
Weak, “I can’t do it, I’m staying!”
Tough, “Lets get going.”
So you have too much help. Or you have too little help. Or you are too needy and not being confident about what you need to do.
Two thoughts to ponder:
- Try not to be too swayed by anyone. If you chose you your topic well and focus your research, you will be on track. If you self-edit, you will simply need a good copy edit to ensure consistency.
- Learn to navigate the academic waters, the academic egos, and which advise to follow.
And of course, you should be proofreading your work yourself before passing it on to an impartial laser-eyed academic editor. Learn how to self-edit. Download your own handy copy of the Language Online 21 Proofreading Tips. http://tinyurl.com/self-editing
Braingle teaser borrowed for today. If you are a reader, you are bound to have great fun with these. I missed one title and confess to struggling with some authors. See how you do 😯
The following are famous books and their authors.
Letters have been taken from each book and each author.
From the letter list below fill in each letter to give the names of the books and authors.
D- Vi–i C-d-
To K–l A Mo-k–g Bird
Of M–e An- M-n
S. -. H–t-n
The A-v-ntu–s of H–kle-er-y F–n
T-e Sil-n-e of t-e L-m-s
Too little help
This is frustrating especially if the person is meant to be helping. The worst is probably an “absent” advisor. A missing advisory committee member or committee members is less troubling, but can backfire in the long run because committee members are meant to be the sounding board before you put yourself out there for approval to your school and eventually to the world.
But if an important team member is “missing,” it does at least leave you the option of finding good, outside, often paid-for help. Your most likely option is a good content editor at a fairly substantial fee. Problem is that if an academic editor is your main source of help, you have no barometer of what your school might accept. For example, there is literally nothing worse than to have poured your heart into a proposal only to have the proposal thrown back with little guidance. There is nothing you or an editor can do about such poor help and often it means huge delays because of a dysfunctional system.
Always equip yourself with a thorough understanding of what you can do. For starters, access the no cost and paid-for help professionals like Language Online editors’ offer.
Too much help? Too little help? Any of this ringing a bell. Share the blog posts by using the Share It button below; email or posting available.