Editing Tips from Douglas Gibson (#31)

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 # 31 Choosing A Title

Often an editor will find herself/himself involved in choosing the perfect title for a book. Sometimes this will be controversial. Sometimes the controversial choice will be the right one.

A case in point is Alison Wearing’s new book Confessions Of A Fairy’s Daughter: Growing Up With A Gay Dad. Many people will recoil from this title. But the chances are that they will not want to read the book, excellent though it is. So the title serves as fair warning for potential readers.


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.