Up next in my Tips from a Tech Editor series: Inconsistencies and incorrect word usage.
There are several things that designers and pattern writers can do in their patterns to help them look more professional. Since I am coming from a scientific higher education background, my awareness of these inconsistencies is heightened. Consistency is vital to accurate writing. I might be a little more inclined to notice these differences, but believe me, if I notice them, someone else does, too. The people who notice these kind of errors will see them as unprofessional.
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First problem is using different punctuation in reference to the same thing. Example: in your abbreviations list, it is very common to write the word “stitch” in both singular and plural forms and show the singular and plural abbreviation. Here is the my preferred form of doing this: stitch(es) – st(s). Using stitch/stitches- st/sts is acceptable but looks excessively lengthy.
It is inconsistent to use parentheses for the word and then a slash or no parentheses in the abbreviation. EX: Stitch(es) – st/sts. Or Stitch/stitches – st(s)
If you’re going to separate the singular and plural forms with the slash /, or parentheses () then use it both when writing out the words and when writing the abbreviation.
Another common mistake is in use of correctly spelled words used in the wrong way. Please be aware of where you are using the word you vs. your, and then vs. than. It’s very easy to have spell check auto-correct your words and place the wrong intended word in your sentence. These irregularities should be caught by tech editors. If you don’t understand the correction from your editor, please ask before you completely disregard it.
You vs. your is a possessive issue. It takes careful re-read of your patterns to catch these.
Then vs. Than is a MAJOR pet peeve of mine. I’ve seen both words used in completely opposite and incorrect ways within the SAME newsletter/article/blog post. *pull my hair out!*
THEN: refers to TIME. I pick up my hook, then I pick up my yarn. Or in an if/then statement, but it still refers to time. If this happens, then that will happen. More specifically, then is an adverb.
THAN: refers to a COMPARISON. Rather than wool, I choose silk. Than is a conjunction or a preposition. Google dictionary lists 3 definitions or uses of than, but I can boil them all down to the comparison. First, it is used to introduce another element in a comparison (Wool is rougher than silk). Second, it can be used to introduce an exception or a contrast (I don’t use anything other than silk). Third, and I think this one can get the most confusing, it can be used in expressions indicating one thing happening immediately after another. Barely had we finished one afghan than we started the next. This one can be really confusing but it is not the most common mistake I find.
Now, I’m not claiming to be a perfect writer in any way. I’m sure there are loads of grammatical inconsistencies in this and other blog posts. But, as an editor, these are a few of the things that tend to really stand out to me.
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