Apostrophes, building relationships and the top corrections of 2014

December 18, 2014 By Gerri Berendzen Resources

ACES members have a lot of knowledge to share — and this week a couple shared information useful to the industry and beyond. Because, after all, copy editors know a little bit about everything.

For most copy editors, at the top of all that knowledge is a keen understanding of grammar and punctuation. That’s why the hosts of the NPR podcast “How to Do Everything” came to the American Copy Editors Society when they needed a guest to explain seasonal punctuation issues.

In particular, hosts Mike Danforth and Ian Chillag wanted to know for Episode 117 where the apostrophe should be when you’re signing your family Christmas card. ACES Board of Directors member David Brindley, managing editor of National Geographic, set podcast listeners straight.

“Nine times out of 10, don’t use an apostrophe because you’re just going to get it wrong,” Brindley told Danforth and Chillag. (As copy editors, we know that the card signed “the Johnson’s” is like nails on a chalkboard.)

Brindley’s advice also included the tip that when the construction is awkward (like “the Joneses’ home), recast it.

Listen to the podcast and you’ll also enjoy some bits of dance music.

On a more serious note, ACES member and 2013 Robinson Prize winner Katharine O’Moore-Klopf wrote an article for the American Society of Business Publication Editors titled “Why editors should build relationships with authors, and how they can do so.”

O’Moore-Klopf discussed why editors are important and what editors can do to build good relationships with authors.

She offers this advice: “Don’t just hope that your clients and employers will notice on their own that your author-editor relationships are improving and produce desirable results. Show them. Give presentations, talk individually with them and write emails outlining the changes you’re seeing. Write blog posts and posts for LinkedIn. Tweet about the changes.”

O’Moore-Klopf says it’s up to all copy editors to help the profession to survive.

Another good read for copy editors is “The year in media errors and corrections 2014″ by Craig Silverman, a frequent presenter at ACES conferences and founder of the Regret the Error blog, which is featured on

Some of the corrections may make you laugh, many will make you cringe and all prove that the world really does need the efforts of copy editors.

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