When editing and proofreading documents, it is common practice to use symbols and marks to indicate where changes need to be made. These symbols and marks provide a shorthand way of communicating between the editor and the writer, and they are widely used in the publishing industry. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most common editing and proofreading symbols and marks.
The deletion mark is a simple line through the text that needs to be removed. This is often accompanied by the word “delete” or “del” in the margin to make it clear that the text should be removed.
To indicate that text should be inserted, a caret (^) is used. The text to be inserted is usually written above the line or in the margin.
When two letters, words, or phrases need to be swapped, a transposition mark is used. This is usually a simple “x” or “tr” in the margin, with a caret indicating the position of the text to be swapped.
If a space needs to be added or removed, a diagonal line (/) or a circle (o) is used. The diagonal line is used to indicate that a space should be added, while the circle is used to indicate that a space should be removed.
To indicate that a new paragraph should start, the symbol ¶ (a backwards ‘P’) is used. This is usually placed in the margin next to the line where the new paragraph should begin.
Spelling and Grammar
Common spelling and grammar mistakes are often indicated with specific symbols. For example, “sp” in the margin indicates a spelling mistake, while “gr” indicates a grammar mistake. Other symbols, such as # (for a missing word) or [sic] (for a mistake that should be left as it is), are also used.
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Style and Consistency
Consistency is key when it comes to editing and proofreading. Symbols and marks are often used to indicate issues with style and consistency, such as inconsistent use of capitalisation or formatting. For example, “cap” in the margin indicates that a word should be capitalised, while “ital” indicates that text should be italicised.
Comments and Queries
In addition to symbols and marks, editors and proofreaders often use comments and queries to communicate with the writer. These can be written in the margin or in a separate document and are used to ask questions, suggest changes, or provide feedback.
Mastering Editing and Proofreading Symbols and Marks
Editing and proofreading symbols and marks provide a shorthand way of communicating changes and feedback, making the editing and proofreading process more efficient and effective.
Those listed above were just some of the most common ones; for a full list of editing and proofreading symbols and marks, you can refer to The Chicago Manual of Style’s guide on proofreading marks. Whether you’re a writer, editor, or proofreader, familiarising yourself with these symbols and marks can help you improve the quality of your documents and ensure that they are clear, concise, and error-free.
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