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APA Resources List

Whether you are a high school/university student or a scholar working on the first journal article, you must have encountered formatting/citation issues at least once. Depending on your subject area, you might have been required to format your paper either according to The Chicago Manual of Style, MLA, or APA style. There are many more, including CP and SAA, but the APA, MLA, and Chicago are the most common ones in academic writing. Used as an abbreviation for the American Psychological Association, APA format is normally used for papers concerning social sciences topics, such as psychology, economics, statistics, and education. Here I compiled the list of the most common issues that arise when formatting and/or citing a paper in the APA style.












Citing Government Documents










Tables and Figures






Using et al.




Tips for Avoiding Freelancer Scams

A few weeks ago, a potential client approached me about a proofreading project. After I requested a writing sample, he quickly forwarded me the document that looked a lot like a paper on policy research. At first, everything seemed normal. He accepted my quote, and we agreed upon a tentative deadline.

Then red flags began showing up. His email was a combination of letters and numbers—which in itself looked suspicious. His name search yielded no online results about his professional identity. His email language quickly changed from overtly polite to very informal. What’s more, he insisted on paying with a certified bank check and asked for my name, phone number, and address. This made me feel a bit uneasy, but I did not want to refuse the project just yet. I googled “client wants to pay using check only” and found a link to a forum discussion about a situation very similar to mine. This search led me to discover that the document had been plagiarized from the web and was being actively used by scammers to create fake jobs for editors and translators.

Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon scenario, and it will happen to many freelancers down the road. However, with a little vigilance, it’s note too difficult to weed out the scam offers. Here are some questions you should ask yourself before accepting a client offer.

Can you trace your client-in-question via online search databases? If not, can you establish their identity by other means? 

Firstly, I want to mention that there is nothing wrong about a person who does not own social media accounts. Some people like to avoid popular social media networks to maintain their privacy, while others might even feel intimidated by modern technology. So if you cannot find your contact’s Facebook profile, don’t fret just yet. Provided that the contact is valid, most likely you’ll be able to find some clues about their identity. If you cannot find any information about the contact online, consider asking them for a phone number. Most aspiring writers and business professionals will get excited about the idea of speaking to their editor on the phone. Once you have the contact’s phone and be able to reach the client, you’ll know it’s a real person.

Does the client-in-question ask a lot of questions about your services?

Most clients will ask a lot of questions about your professional background, your fees, and the types of services you offer. Those who are new to the editing world will likely want to know about the difference between substantive editing and copy editing. Most clients will provide some form of instructions on how deeply you should edit the document. Some will insist on structural editing, while others will make it clear they want light proofreading only. Naturally, this depends on a client, and some will want to skip the interview process altogether and plunge into the project. In this case, you’ll be the one to ask questions about the type of services they need. The client-in-question accepted my offer right away, without discussing the fee or the editing level he needed. This looked too good to be true 

Do they insist on paying via check only?

Just like with the social media, everyone is at a different level of Internet use. Some are more comfortable paying in an old-fashioned way, and this is perfectly fine. As long as you manage to establish your client’s identity, you shouldn’t have a problem with the check. Most likely, the client will provide you with a valid reason for choosing this mode of payment. For instance, their company issues certified checks to independent contractors, or they are simply uncomfortable with Interac transfer (This is very rare in modern days but nonetheless possible).

My client-in-question flat out refused to discuss all other modes of payment, insisting on a check only. I later discovered that some scammers use a special advanced fee scheme to send a fake check on the amount greater than the initial amount billed and then ask to to pay the difference. I was horrified by the discovery but also relieved that I hadn’t gone along with the project.

Are they honest about the prospect of hiring someone else?

This is probably the least pleasant part of the negotiations process. You seem to tick all the boxes, but the client tells you there are other candidates for the job. Maybe you’ll hear again from the client in a few days or maybe not. As frustrating as it can be, this form of honesty is actually a good sign. The client is serious enough about the project to share the hiring process with you. If you’re fortunate to get the job, it will happen after the client has thought hard, interviewed multiple freelancers, and the chosen you as the best fit.

A final note…

The good news is that most freelance offers you’ll receive will be legit. If your contact keeps open lines of communication, asks a lot of questions, and is willing to negotiate the fees or methods of payment, most likely, this person can be trusted. Throughout your freelance career, you will meet many talented individuals who will be eager to collaborate with you and will fully appreciate your part in their creative process. However, there’ll also be a few times when you’ll be contacted by someone you should probably ignore.

Good luck!

So you want to be a medical editor?


By Olga Sushinsky

AMA Manual of StyleIf you’ve ever thought about pursuing a career in medical editing, you might want to familiarize yourself with the specifics of the industry. At first, it may appear daunting, but learning this craft is perfectly doable with a little help from print and online resources, such as medical dictionaries and industry-specific style guides. If you do come from a science background, the odds of success are in your favour, but if not, you can still master medical editing. Regardless of your level of expertise, it is important to have these resources on hand.

The American Medical Association’s AMA Manual of Style 

Most likely, you will be provided with log-in access to the AMA website when you rece­­ive a medical editing gig. However, it’s also a good idea to invest in a physical copy of the AMA Manual of Style if you plan to edit medical documents long-term…

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English Grammar Resources for Newbies and Well-Seasoned Writers

Are you finding English grammar rules mind-boggling? Perhaps, you’ve got amazing ideas but are feeling stuck because the difference between past perfect and simple past won’t let you be. Fortunately, there is no need to remember absolutely everything about the language to be a good writer. Here are some of the best resources on English grammar.

Booher, Dianna. Booher’s Rules of Business Grammar 101 Fast and Easy Ways to Correct the Most Common Errors. New York: McGraw Hill, 2009.

Written in a humorous tone, this book will guide you through all the common grammar pitfalls, including the infamous dangling modifiers, the lie/lay combo, indefinite pronouns, and irregular verbs. Although the book is mainly geared towards business writers, anyone, from an ESL student to a well-seasoned copywriter, can benefit from Booher’s Rules.

Ensohn, Amy. The Copyeditor’ Handbook A Guide to Publishing and Corporate Communications. London: University of California Press Ltd., 2006.

In this book, you’ll find anything you need to know about the art of copy editing, from copy editor’s marks for hard copy to practical information on how to edit tables, numbers, and graphs. The Copyeditor’s Handbook is a good starting point for anyone interested in an editing career. It’s also a good source for professional writers who want to know about elements that deserve special attention during the self-editing/proofreading process.

Ruvinsky, Maxine. Practical Grammar A Canadian Writer’s Resource, 2nd Ed. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Everything you needed to know about parts of speech, verbs, sentence structure, and punctuation can be found in this book. Its chapters are short, simple, and organized in a clear, concise way that will appeal to both absolute beginners and advanced English speakers. Each chapter contains exercises for readers to test themselves and to discover areas of improvement.

Stilman, Anne. Grammatically Correct: The Essential Guide to Spelling, Style, Usage, Grammar, and Punctuation, 2nd Ed. Cincinatti: Writer’s Digest Books, 2010.

Similarly to Ruvinsky’s Practical Grammar, Grammatically Correct by Stilman represents a compilation of rules one needs to know to be a successful writer. Although this book is organized a bit differently, its essence remains the same. It provides a breakdown of the major grammar rules and touches upon the common issues surrounding spelling and punctuation. The book’s well-organized table of contents, along with the index, makes the content extremely informative and user-friendly.

Crag, Catherine et al. Editing Canadian English The Essential Canadian Guide Revised and Updated, 2nd Ed. Toronto: Macfarlane Walter & Ross, 2000.

Although the title implies the book had been written for Canadian market, anyone eager to learn about differences between British and American spellings can benefit from this book. It’s organized thematically into tables, each representing a particular convention, such as -ae vs. -e. Editing Canadian English is a good reference point for those who cannot remember all the spelling variations.

Indexing Demystified

When I had finished my indexing course several years ago, my friends would ask me, “what is indexing?” I tried explaining it in simple terms, thus making this craft sound even more mysterious. For those who have been wondering what indexing is all about, I’ll try my best to describe it in this article.


Indexing can have several definitions. The term “web indexing” refers to the process of storing web contents, while “search engine indexing” means collecting and storing web data for “fast and accurate information retrieval.”[1]The indexing I’m referring to can be best understood in the context of books, journals, monographs, and other similar media. Basically, an index is a list of terms you’ll find at the end of most non-fiction books, and indexing is the process of generating such list.

Creating a high-quality index involves a great deal of analytical thinking and of course attention to detail. An indexer will read a text, try to locate the key concept and terms, and analyze ways they are interrelated. A good index will always have a lot of sub-entries, references, and even double postings.

Some of the issues around the index-making process involve size requirements made by an author/publisher. If an index needs not to exceed a certain number of pages, choosing the right entries/sub-entries might become a challenge. An indexer will need to learn how to balance between making detailed references and economizing space–a very daunting task. Nevertheless, an indexer’s job can be very rewarding, as he/she gets to read a lot of books from many fields. Many former librarians, Ph.D graduates, and, broadly speaking, humanities majors choose to become indexers. Indexing is in demand in many fields, including sciences and law.

Why every non-fiction book should have an index

During the past years, I had came across a few amazing books that didn’t have indexes. Since I was reading them for personal enjoyment, this lacking didn’t affect me too much. However, if I were to use one of them for a research project or simply wanted to find a specific term, a problem would arise. Surely, one can use a table of contents to navigate around a book, but what about specific terms? How can one find them without an index? The answer is going page by page. The process can quickly become wearisome for a reader and may affect his/her perception of the whole book. That’s why every non-fiction title, especially a scholarly one, should have a carefully-written index. Not only will it enrich the content but will also make the entire book more user-friendly.

Knowing your options as an author

As a non-fiction author, you have several options including writing your own index or using computerized software to create one.  There is nothing wrong with either of them. It’s even possible to generate one using the “Insert Index” feature located under the “References” tab in Microsoft Office.[2] To do so, you’ll have to mark entries first using the “Mark Entry” button, also located under the “References” tab. [3] If you click on the button, you’ll be able to key in sub-entries, cross references, and page ranges, as well as choose the format for page numbers. Although this method  may sound easy, you might end up with extra work, such as reversing some of the terms manually (i.e., “indexing, the art of” instead of “the art of indexing”) and ensuring these terms stay in an alphabetic order.

To avoid the hassle and to save time, you can always hire a professional indexer. Indexers use specialized software that alphabetizes all entries and sub-entries automatically and can format documents according to individual preferences (i.e., either run-in or indented). Also, if you want your sub-entries organized in a non-alphabetical order but to follow a certain chronology, your indexer will take care of that.  Even if you’ve already written an index, it’s always good to get a second opinion. Hiring an indexer might sound like a costly undertaking, but it will definitely be a great investment.


American Society for Indexing 

Indexing Society of Canada

A Good Index,” by Siusan Moffat.

The Good Lands/Un Territoire À Partager

Good_LandsI’m excited to announce that the book I worked on this past summer is now available for purchase. Titled The Good Lands and written by Victoria Dickenson, Naomi Fontaine, and Lee Maracle, this book features some of the most notable works that reflect Native Canadian and Native-inspired art. Among the images, you’ll find acrylic, watercolor, and oil paintings; historic maps; photographs; woodwork; and even rock art from Canadian national parks. In addition to the artworks, the book also includes short chapters and poems written by different authors who share their views on nature and art and their role in shaping of Canada’s identity.

While the overall tone of the book appears to be positive, the authors and artists also touch upon the darker topics, such as past wars, injustices, and current environmental issues. The book includes an entire chapter devoted to the military art and a few artworks, such as Carapace by Brian Jungen, make an allusion to industrialization and its impact on our environment.

The idea beyond this project was “to celebrate the beauty and power of our shared spaces, and a reminder that we all live by the gifts of the land. This is a book that acknowledges the power of art to reveal what is hidden, to make visible the landscapes of our imagination.” Despite the past tensions between the Europeans and the Natives, the authors seem to be optimistic about future. They believe that art can help us to create common grounds for dialogue between different ethnic groups that now occupy Canadian soil. It is interesting to note that not all the artists presented in The Good Lands have Native background, but almost all have some form of affinity with Native culture. Local landscapes, wildlife, and cultural elements (i.e., Indigenous clothes, canoes) are the most common themes of their artworks.

As the proofreader, I was responsible for the final version of the French counterpart, Un Territoire À Partager. I must say that it’s been also a wonderful opportunity to work with talented people who are highly knowledgeable of the subject matter. In the process, I learned about the power of teamwork, as the project involved a lot of communication with different parties, including authors, fellow editors, and the publisher’s management team.

Both English and French versions are now available online at Amazon and Chapters Indigo as well as through local bookstores. To learn more about the book, you can also visit the publisher’s page created specifically for The Good Lands.

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.