Editing Tips from Douglas Gibson (#29)

In this recurring feature, we’re sharing tips for editors from the desk of Douglas Gibson. Good for those starting out or old hands who need a reminder, these guidelines form an engaging guide for sharp-eyed wordsmiths.

Tip #29: Partial to Partial

Because the adjective “partial” implies “fond of” or even “biased towards,” the adverb “partially” should not be used as a synonym for “partly.”

In fact, “partly” should be the editor’s choice every time, unless bias is specifically involved, and implied. So, no more buildings “partially destroyed” by a great wind, please.

Canada reads Hugh MacLennan

CBC’s annual Battle of the Books Canada Reads announced their 2013 selections and panelists today at a reception in the broadcaster’s atrium. The books and champions are

  • February by Lisa Moore, championed by comedian Trent McClellan
  • Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese, championed by Olympic wrestler Carol Huynh
  • Away by Jane Urquhart,  championed by author Charlotte Gray
  • Two Solitudes by Hugh MacLennan, championed by actor Jay Baruchel
  • The Age of Hope by David Bergen, championed by broadcaster Ron MacLean

Since Hugh isn’t around anymore to represent his book as author, CBC has asked Doug to stand-in for Hugh and lend his special insight into Hugh’s work and Two Solitudes. Follow along at CBC Books!

Editing Tips from Douglas Gibson (#28)

In this recurring feature, we’re sharing tips for editors from the desk of Douglas Gibson. Good for those starting out or old hands who need a reminder, these guidelines form an engaging guide for sharp-eyed wordsmiths.

Tip #28

A good editor should remove clichés. Yet all too often the clichés hide in plain sight, the adjective-noun combinations so accepted by the reader’s eye and mind that they become almost a single-word notion.

What “fiasco” is not “total”? When is an “inferno” not described as “raging”? When is a “defeat” not “ignominious”? When is “ado” not preceded by “further”?

A good test for the editor is to supply the adjective (“Ignominious . . . hmm”) and see what noun springs to mind. If the answer is automatic, we have a cliché to be avoided.