August 2015

Road Test: 'Modern Australian Usage: a Practical Guide for Writers and Editors'

ModernAusUsageI think it's fair to say that when I accepted the challenge of reviewing Nicholas Hudson's Modern Australian Usage, the chances of me sitting down and reading the whole book sequentially from A-Z were slim. I am not naturally a 'beginning to end' reference book reader and have been known to lose hours following strangely connected paths through reference books. There's something about the lure of a cross-reference I just can't resist. In addition to my own reading predilections, Modern Australian Usage is presented as a 'practical guide for writers and editors' so my approach has been to test that assertion, using it as my first choice of reference for any writing, editing, usage or publishing conundrums that arose during the last five weeks.

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PerfectIt Pro Review (or, Why You Need a PC)

Much as it galls an editor to let a mistake slip through, the general consensus seems to be that catching 95% of proofreading errors is a pretty good effort. But some editors have a secret weapon that I'm convinced helps them reach greater heights than they would otherwise - a software program called PerfectIt Pro.

Nothing can guarantee perfection, but this program is a great help in ensuring consistency of usage, spelling, punctuation and, to some extent, formatting in your document. I've been using PerfectIt Pro (version 2) for a year now, but developer Daniel Heuman of Intelligent Editing kindly supplied me with the recently released version 3 so that I could review it for this newsletter (and he's also offered a discount to members - see below).

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Typo of the Month

When you get the tricky first word correct but luck out later on …

Massge crop

Dear Ed

Dear Ed,deared

I fall asleep at my desk at three o'clock every afternoon. Sometimes I even dribble down my shirt. What can I do?

Ian, South Meringue

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