Help:Tutorial (Copy-editing)

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Vincentian Encyclopedia entries have not been copy-edited

Finding that pages at Vincentian Encyclopedia need copy-editing can be a surprise to users who expect perfection. Most pages can be edited by users, so when you see a page that has spelling or punctuation errors, please address these.

Although some Vincentian historians have contributed their work (generally, these pages may not be edited), many articles and changes to articles are contributed by people who are not specialists. The quality of articles varies, so when you come across an article that needs tweaking or rewriting, please ask yourself: "Could I copy-edit this ?"

Manual of Style

Wikipedia has a Manual of Style which can be of great use in developing articles that are easy to read.

Spelling Errors

When you find typos or spelling errors, please correct them. The Vincentian Encyclopedia includes an automatic spell-checker, but like any spell-checker it is not completely accurate and it does not check proper spelling of words such as "Vincentian" or "Berceau".

The Vincentian Encyclopedia is not associated with any variety of English, so American or British spellings are acceptable. It is preferable, of course, that the variety of English used remain consistent within an article.

Common copy-edits

  • Words that are being defined, described, or referenced as words, should be italicized. Example: The term style can refer to the layout and context of an article.
  • Headings should generally be noun phrases ( Life and work of...), not prepositional phrases (About the life and work of...).
  • Headings should be in sentence case, with only a single capital letter (except for proper nouns). Examples: Cultural context, Theology and spirituality, Rankings and ratings
  • Titles of works (books, titles of paintings, titles of poems) should be italicized rather than in quotation marks, e.g., Abelly: Book One. Notable exceptions are songs or briefer poems. Italics are required, though, for a song cycle such as or a longer poem. The names of individual episodes of a video series should also be in quotation marks.
  • Unless part of a quotation, contractions of words (won't, can't, etc.) should be changed to non-contracted forms (will not, cannot, etc.).
  • Its and it's should be correctly differentiated. It's, a contraction of it is or it has, should not be used unless it occurs in a quotation (see previous rule). Its, the possessive of it, should be used in the same way as my, his, her, our, etc.
  • When not at the end of a sentence, constructions such as London, England call for a comma after the second element. (Examples: He was born in Senlis, France, during the Commune. -or- Her community moved to Atlanta, Georgia, immediately after the Ameican Civil War.) Similarly, dates written in the American style demand a comma after the year unless the date falls at the end of the sentence. (Example: On September 27, 2004, she decided to contribute an article to the Vincentian Encyclopedia.)
  • External links -- links to pages outside the Vincentian Encyclopedia -- generally belong at the end of an article under the heading External links. References are an exception and should match the link in the reference section; these are then handled automatically.
  • Misplaced formality should be eliminated. Words and phrases such as in order to, whereas, due to the fact that, and utilize are unnecessary in an encyclopedia; instead, use to, while, because, and use respectively.
  • Vague terms of size, such as a number of and a vast majority of, are usually redundant; consider several and most as alternatives, or request specific numbers.
  • Many articles are verbose, with repeated material and an excessively wordy writing style. Vigorous writing is clear and concise. See the Wikipedia article on Plain English.


If you are taking the trouble to copy-edit an article, please remember that the original author took the trouble to fill in a gap in Vincentian Encyclopedia knowledge. No matter how good or bad the article seems to be or is, it is probably a valuable contribution. Your summary note (just above the Save page button] should acknowledge the original contributor's efforts by being brief, but not so brief that it is impolite.

If you are the author of a page that has been copy-edited, please try not to take corrections personally. This can be especially hard with stylistic differences. Copy-editors are usually trying to make an article better, which reflects well on both the original author and the copy-editor.

At times, caution is advisable. A copy-edit should address only technical aspects of spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Specialized or controversial topics may require specific wording for accuracy and neutral point of view (NPOV). One solution is to ask for a re-write from an editor with expertise in the subject. Another good alternative is to post potential copy-edits to the talk page for discussion so the article remains balanced and accurate while the copy-editor avoids the risk of causing or prolonging a content dispute.

Do not copy-edit talk pages for articles. Talk pages let users ask questions or make comments about article content. Although it is acceptable to copy-edit your own contributions to a talk page, please do not modify the talk entries of Vincentian Encyclopedia contributors.

Technical and stylistic questions

The following sources at Wikipedia can be helpful:

External links

Source for information on this page

Much of the content on this page is based on the Wikipedia article on How to copy-edit. All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. (See Vincentian Encyclopedia:Copyrights for details.

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