Contents 1 How to do basic copyediting 1.1 Common mistakes to fix 1.1.1 Commonly confused words 1.1.2 Capitalization and formatting 1.1.3 Punctuation 1.1.4 Style 1.1.5 Article elements 1.1.6 Contractions 1.1.7 Spelling 1.2 Things that do not need to be fixed 1.3 Etiquette 2 Get help and meet other copyeditors 3 Find articles that need copyediting 4 See also 5 Notes 6 External links

How to do basic copyediting For general help with editing, see Wikipedia:How to edit a page. Step one Scan the article for errors or ways in which it can be improved. The entire article or particular sections may be tagged as needing a copyedit. There is a list of common mistakes below. Step two Edit the page by clicking the "Edit" tab at the top or one of the section [edit] links. Step three Make your changes and fill out an edit summary. It is fine to describe your changes as "copyediting" or to abbreviate the word however you like; the most commonly used abbreviation is "ce". Step four Preview your change and save. Step five (optional) If you think that the article needs no more basic copyediting, click Edit again and remove the "copy edit" template at the top of the article, which is what flags it as needing improvement. The template typically is markup that looks like {{copy edit}}, with a date inside the braces. Common mistakes to fix has a free plugin for popular web browsers, which checks not only spelling, but grammar, usage, and punctuation. Microsoft Word and OpenOffice have built-in grammar checkers; for instructions, see These are some common errors you may find in articles: Commonly confused words its and it's; there, their, and they're; your, you're, and you; lose and loose; lie and lay (and their tenses); who's and whose; have and of (should of for should have) Capitalization and formatting Words defined, described, or referenced as words should be italicized. E.g.: "The term style also refers to the layout of an article". Wikipedia article headings should generally be noun phrases (History of...) and not prepositional phrases (About the history of ...). Headings begin with a single capital letter, i.e. they use sentence case. The only other capital letters in headings are in proper names and acronyms. Titles of works of art (paintings, sculpture), plays and operas, television series, films, novels and nonfiction books, song cycles, and long poems should be italicized rather than put in quotation marks, e.g., Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Titles of songs, short stories, individual episodes of television series, and brief poems, e.g. "Strawberry Fields Forever" or "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening", should be in quotation marks. Italics, however, are required for a song cycle such as Winterreise or the title of a longer poem such as Four Quartets. Individual episode titles of television series need quotation marks, while the series name itself is italicized: "Welcome to the Hellmouth" is the premiere episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Punctuation Location constructions such as Vilnius, Lithuania require a comma after the second element, e.g. He was born in Vilnius, Lithuania, after the country had gained independence. The month, day, year style of writing dates requires a comma after the year, e.g. On September 15, 1947, she began her first year at Harvard. Decade names should not include an apostrophe before the s, e.g.: She was born in the 1980s. Generally don't refer to a decade without its century. See WP:DECADE. Make sure that apostrophes are used correctly and watch out for greengrocers' apostrophes. Style Avoid excessively formal phrases and words, e.g., due to the fact that for "because" and utilize for "use". Check articles for unnecessary words and redundant phrases. Vigorous, effective writing is clear and concise. See Plain English. Quotations should not be changed, except for trivial spelling and typographic errors. Otherwise, obvious errors and censorship in the original can be marked with {{sic}}, which displays as: [sic]. Legitimate insertions and omissions are acceptable if marked by square brackets and ellipses, respectively. See WP:MOSQUOTE for details. Article elements External links belong at the end of an article under the heading External links or Further reading. Articles, books and websites used as sources are listed separately in a References or Notes section. Contractions Outside of direct quotes and names, contractions should be spelled out. Spelling Main page: Wikipedia:Spellchecking Correct spelling mistakes and typos. See Wikipedia:Spellchecking for complete advice on how to do this well; the main points are: Be careful you are using the correct variety of English (e.g. American vs. British) which affects spelling (e.g. flavour, colour, centre or defence vs. flavor, color, center, or defense). Wikipedia:Manual of Style#National varieties of English has extensive guidance on how to choose correctly and how to write clearly for speakers of all dialects. Articles about a given region use that region's dialect. Otherwise, the first dialect used is retained to avoid gratuitous edits flipping back and forth. The talk page may have a banner clarifying which dialect is already established. Most web browsers have built-in spell-check, or you can use external web sites or software to check for possible errors. If you want to focus on misspellings only, these tools are handy: User:Lupin/Live spellcheck - for monitoring misspellings as they are added Wikipedia:Typo Team/moss - for finding misspellings in existing text Things that do not need to be fixed Some style guides advise against grammatical constructions such as passive voice, split infinitives, restrictive which, beginning a sentence with a conjunction and ending clauses in a preposition. These are common in high-quality publications and should not be "fixed" without considering the consequences. Changing a passive to active may inappropriately change the topic of the paragraph, for example. Attempts to improve the language of a passage should be based on tone, clarity and consistency, rather than blind adherence to a regional or contested rule. Further information: Disputes in English grammar and Category:Disputes in English grammar Etiquette Remember that Wikipedia is a collaborative, consensus-based environment. Be bold in making changes, but if you find that your work has been undone by another editor, visit the talk page of the article and start a discussion before reinstating it. According to Butcher's Copy-editing, "The good copyeditor is a rare creature: an intelligent reader and a tactful and sensitive critic; someone who cares enough about perfection of detail to spend time checking small points of consistency in someone else's work but has the good judgement not to waste time or antagonize the author by making unnecessary changes."[2]

Get help and meet other copyeditors If you have a question about English grammar, punctuation, or style, you may wish to seek advice at Wikipedia:Reference desk/Language or Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Grammar. If you want to meet other Wikipedia copyeditors and help out, check out Wikipedia:Peer review/volunteers and Wikipedia:WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors.

Find articles that need copyediting Articles in need of basic copyediting may be tagged with templates such as {{copyedit}} or {{copyedit-section}}. A list of such articles can be found in a few places. The easiest places to get started are: Category:All articles needing copy edit, a list of articles tagged with copy editing templates. GettingStarted, which suggests copyediting articles appropriate for new users after they sign up, or the Community Portal to-do list, which has many kinds of tasks, updated hourly.

See also Template:Not a typo Wikipedia:Make technical articles understandable Wikipedia:WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors

Notes ^ Julia Armstrong, "Copyediting and proofreading", University of Toronto, p. 2. ^ Judith Butcher, Caroline Drake and Maureen Leach, Butcher's Copy-editing, Cambridge University Press, fourth edition, 2006, p. 4.

External links Guide to Grammar and Style by Jack Lynch Common Errors in English Usage v t e Writing guides Starting an article Getting started Layout Visual structure of articles The perfect article A checklist of components Article development Suggested stages of an article Manual of Style Comprehensive style guide Writing better articles A collection of advice Retrieved from "" Categories: Wikipedia how-toWikipedia copy editingWikipedia editingHidden categories: Wikipedia semi-protected project pages

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