February 10, 2018 | Leave a comment

Some time ago, I posted about the different spellings used for the set of “copyedit”-based words—and how some dictionaries were inconsistent. For example, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.) defines the word copy editor (open compound) yet also defines the word copyedit (closed compound). While this may be technically accurate in terms of common usage for each word, I think many editors would say that consistency should trump specificity. (If the primary spelling of four out of five words in a document end in “yze,” then the fifth word should not end in “yse”—even if that’s how that single word is more commonly spelled.)

Since that post, I made the discovery that although The Chicago Manual of Style (the default style guide that I use) doesn’t have an explicit rule on this, it does, itself, use the closed form of all variations of the word. Therefore, I have happily accepted this as an implicit rule—and will adopt it in all of my uses of the word unless overridden in a particular case.

I must confess to a certain degree of relief. It’s nice to have such a widely-acclaimed standards guide support my personal inclination.

I have updated this website to change the spelling. I hesitated briefly because, in doing this, I was worried I was breaking parallelism by, for example, using ‘copyeditor’ alongside ‘stylistic editor’. But I decided that if I was going to be wrong in some way no matter what I did, this particular decision made the most sense.