25 Sep

The definite article

This summer I’ve done quite a lot of editing work on academic papers written by students who do not have English as a first language. On the whole, the level of English has been quite impressive – especially to someone like me, who seems incapable of learning another language – but one recurring theme has been the struggle with the use of ‘the’ as the definite article.

Interestingly, it doesn’t seem to be an occasional error, either, but one that can occur at least 70% of the time, whether it be adding the when it is unnecessary, or omitting it when needed. There does appear to be a general decline in the use of the as the English language is evolving to become less formal, but I wonder if there are any easy pointers for students?

This article on the BBC’s website was the most succinct I could find. There’s no denying it must be a nightmare for anyone learning English!

 

26 Jun

Student service

Academic texts are some of my favourite to work on, and I’ve just completed my first job for a student (PhD) client. I offer a student rate that represents more than a 20% discount to my lowest standard charge, and while I appreciate that most students are not exactly flush, it’s worth thinking of it as a good investment to make sure that your degree, masters or PhD thesis especially reads well. This is likely to result in a better grade, and potentially higher earnings in the future!

I’d say this particularly applies to overseas students. The UK is a great place to study, but to suddenly dive in, especially for technical/scientific subjects, can be daunting in terms of writing sound English. I’m good at making subtle corrections and interpreting what authors who don’t have English as a first language are trying to say accurately; I’ve helped two Spanish friends, one doing computer science and another a molecular biologist.

As well as theses, post-grad students can need help with e.g. research papers and conference posters. I’m confident in most subjects, from biomedical to sociology, psychology etc. Probably only engineering and physics might faze me a little!

I’m always happy to have a chat on the phone, and give a rough price estimate before accepting any job, and will always keep prices as low as I can; for example, just performing a single pass edit, and not double-checking. I will also explain clearly any edits I’ve made, to help you develop your own writing skills.

05 May

You say tomato…

I’ve recently completed the proofing of a book that required American English, and that footnotes etc. followed The Chicago Manual of Style. Luckily, I’ve written in American English for many years, so not much was new to me, but I did buy the latest edition of the CMOS to be on the safe side, as well as Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (the US equivalent of the OED).

I have to say, the CMOS is amazing! For around the first 25% of the book I found myself consulting it about every five minutes – and it has an answer for everything. The only thing I was left a little unclear about was the reference formatĀ  for some websites, so I just did the best I could to be consistent. Although the subject matter of the book was a little heavy going, I found proofing it surprising enjoyable as it gave my little grey cells a bit of exercise!

03 Apr

New phone!

Anyone else dread upgrading/changing their mobile…? I only converted to a ‘smart’ phone in 2013, but once I’d got used to it, I did find it useful; however, I will confess that some features still drive me potty, and I prefer the old method of texting. They also make contracts so much more complicated in terms of data on top of calls and texts etc.

But thankfully in about an hour I emerged from EE with a shiny new Sony, and it was activated before I’d even got home. So, I can’t complain there – business was unaffected. It’s just that feeling of dread and loss so many of us have these days when we’re without our mobiles.

And you’d have to prise my iPad out of my cold, dead hands!

22 Feb

Hello ‘office’

It only took me 7.5 years to get round to it, but I’ve spent the last week sorting, shredding and shifting and have now reclaimed a quarter of my loft room as an office. It was prompted partly by the arrival of my new funky, if chunky, printer/copier/scanner, which I didn’t want to set up on my dining table, as I knew it would end up staying there.

Bit nervewracking setting new hardware up solo, but I’ve sort of done it, though I haven’t quite cracked how to make it go wireless. Will try again when I have a bit more time and also test the copier and scanner functions. But as a printer, it seems great: http://www.canon.co.uk/Printers/Inkjet/MAXIFY/MAXIFY_MB5050/

Just need to get the decorating and recarpeting of the house finished (mid-March) and then it’s all systems go for Beaumont Pro!

06 Feb

Beaumont Pro is open for business!

Hello, and welcome to my blog. I’ll be using this space to give occasional updates about me, my work, and all things relating to the world of editing. I truly am passionate when it comes to protecting high standards in the English language, and I love passing that enthusiasm on to other people. Once you know your it’s from your its, when to use their, there and they’re, and whether to deploy a colon or a semi-colon, life is sweet!

Comments will always be open on this page, so I hope you’ll join in the discussion.