Editing Canadian English, 3rd Ed. – A Book Review

The third edition of Editing Canadian English by Catherine Craig et al. is now available as e-book. According to the website of the Editors Association of Canada, this book is a “fully searchable version that you can read on your computer (with a reading app installed), tablet, smartphone or reading device.” While I prefer using the old-fashioned hardcover with an index, I still think that re-releasing it in a new format is wonderful news.

Editing Canadian English is a language manual that covers a wide range of topics pertaining to the English language and editing in the Canadian context. Such include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Canadianization, including tailoring edited content to Canadian market
  • differences between British and American spellings, including treatment of the variant words by the major dictionaries, such as Webster’s, Canadian Oxford, and Nelson
  • capitalization of titles, professional entities, and geographical terms
  • treatment of compounds, including hyphenation in variant words such as “homemade” and “longtime” according to the major dictionaries
  • measurements, including lists of the major scientific units and their abbreviations
  • French in the English context, including treatment of italics and quotation marks, organization names, place names, work titles, quoted material, and overall spacing in the text

The book also touches upon more practical aspects of the editing business, such as differences between different job roles (i.e., substantive editor, copy editor, and proofreader), successful communication with authors, and editor’s legal responsibilities. Inclusivity is a big part of communication both in Canada and aboard. One of the chapters provides practical advice on avoiding stereotypes, gender bias, and over generalizations in writing.

Many years ago, I was lucky enough to get a free copy of the second edition from an English instructor, who was gracious enough to give away her old books on the last days of our course. Ever since, I’ve been actively using it as a reference source for numerous editing projects. The content is broken down into several chapters organized thematically into various topics and sub-topics. Each sub-topic corresponds to a particular number point (1.1 through 12.157) and is searchable both through the index and table of context. Such mode of organization makes the text very user-friendly and easy to navigate. No matter which format you prefer, Editing Canadian English is a must-have for anyone who is serious about editing career.

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