Most copyeditors use several dictionaries, one or two of which may look more dog-eared than the rest. Specialized dictionaries are invaluable when editing for specific fields such as medicine, law, biotechnology, computer technology, or the government. Here are some of the more commonly used dictionaries.
Even the most astute editors grapple with difficult style and usage questions. Many of these questions are resolved by following house style (the common style used by the publisher or company for whom the editor is working). But often, style decisions must be made by the editor, who will usually turn to one of several style and usage guides on the market.
- The Elements of Style, 4th Edition
- The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition
- The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law
- Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition
- AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors, 10th Edition
- MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 3nd Edition
- Words into Type, 3rd Edition
- The Yahoo! Style Guide
Sometimes writers use words that have negative connotations, that are imprecise, or whose usage is confusing. Editors use thesauruses to suggest alternatives.