Human Kinetics Guide for Freelance Copyeditors and Proofreaders


Reference Library NEW material updated 3/11
The Editorial Team
General Guidelines

Who Is Responsible?
Style Manual and HK Exceptions to It
Transmittal and Contract Forms
Style Sheets
HK House Style Sheet NEW material updated 3/11

Notes and Reminders

Returning the Project
Levels of Copyediting

Level O
Level C
Level B
Level A

Editing Hard Copy
Editing Online Copy

Style Sheet for Proofreaders and Graphic Artists
Special Characters
Fonts and Font Styles
Ellipses and Their Spacing
En Dashes
Math Operators and Their Spacing
Quotation Marks
Spelling Check and Search-and-Replace Functions
Second Read-Through
Text Wraps and Hard Returns
Showing Revisions Online


Parts of the Book

Front Matter and What Not to Edit
Running Text Divisions
Back Matter

Editing the Text

Academic and Trade Division Styles
Copyediting Marks
Heads--Styling and Capitalization
Bias and Inclusiveness
British Spelling and Style
Cross-References and Text Mentions
Degrees (Academic)
Foreign Terms
Lists (Bulleted, Numbered) and Enumeration
Metric and English Measurements
Multiple-Choice Tests
Permissions and Credit Lines

Abbreviated Credit Lines
Full Credit Lines
Differences From Chicago

Phone Numbers
Previously Published Materials and Revised Editions
Scientific Style (Including Marking Math and Greek Symbols)
Trademarked Names


Figure Captions and Labels, Text Mentions and Callouts
House Style for Figure Labels


Table Titles and Styling
Text Mentions and Callouts


Internet and Electronic Mail References

Chapters in Edited Books
Journal Articles
Magazine Articles
Newspaper Articles
Discussion List Messages
Personal Electronic Communications

Citing Electronic References


How Much Authority Does a Proofreader Have?
Proofing With Little Attention to Dead Copy
Reviewing Changes
Summary of Errors and Problems to Mark, Query, or Ignore
Tricks of the Trade for Proofreaders

Follow Proven Procedures
Take Extra Precautions
Use Several Tools
Keep Notes


Appendix 1: Editing Levels

Clean Copy
Sample C-Level Edit
Sample B-Level Edit
Sample A-Level Edit

Appendix 2. Sample Style Sheet
Appendix 3. Guidelines for Character Coding

Codes to Use With Numeric Keypad and ALT Key
Foreign Characters/Accents/Diacritical Marks
Standard Signs and Symbols
Special Punctuation Symbols
Currency Marks
Copyright/Trademark Symbols
Greek Alphabet

Appendix 4. Guidelines for Typemarking

What Gets Typemarked?
How to Mark Up the Manuscript
Typemarking Online
Typemarking Tables
Typemarking Figures
Typemarking Special Elements
Typemarking on Hard Copy
Miscellaneous Typemarking Issues
Style Tags/Typemarks
Sample Tables
Typemarking Lists Within Lists
Typemarking Dos and Don'ts
Further Typemarking Samples

Appendix 5. Place of Publication and Province Abbreviations
Appendix 6. Publisher Names and Abbreviations
Appendix 7. Measurement Conversions
Appendix 8. Heads: Guidelines for Dividing Lines
Appendix 9. Scientific Abbreviations
Appendix 10: List of Commonly Misspelled Names
Appendix 11: Clarification on Hyphenation Rules
Appendix 12: Words to Avoid, Replace, or Explain Because of Different International Meanings
Appendix 13: Inappropriate Connotations: Words to Avoid
Appenidx 14: Levels of Internationalization
Appenidx 15: Scientific Style: When to Use it, How to Use It
Appendix 16: Outline of 15th Edition of Chicago Manual of Style: What to Obey, What to Ignore
Appendix 17: Guidelines on Using Leading Zeroes in Scientific Text

Style Sessions and Additional Information

Procedures for Citing Electronic Media NEW material added 3/11
Procedures for Bulleted and Numbered Lists
Problematic Editorial Issues
Editorial Q&A

Guidelines for Reporting and Writing About People With Disabilities

Nits to Pick

1: Object Pronouns: Me, Myself, and I

2: Demonstrative Pronouns

3: Redundancy

4: Appositives

5: Unparallel Structure

6: Imprecise Words

7: Big Words

8: Woman and Female

9: Rules That Aren't

10: Errant Apostrophes

11: Know Your Parts of Speech

12: Cut the Fat

13: Affix Those Prefixes

14: Subject-Verb Disagreement

15: Unnecessary Commas

16: Misplaced Onlys

17: Ambiguity

18: Comma of Direct Address

19: Trite and Trendy

20: More Rules That Aren't

21: Incorrect Use of "As"

22: Like and As

23: When to Ignore the Dictionary

24: Unnecessary Quotes

25: Commas With Quotes

26: Possessive Gerunds

27: Internet Jargon

28: Hyphenation Reminders

29: Overcapitalization

30: Semicolons

31: Colons

32: Unnecessary Adjectives and Adverbs

33: Weak Beginnings of Sentences

34: Misplaced Prepositions

35: Misplaced Includings

Reference Library

Most copyeditors find it helpful to review standard references on occasion, such as Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, Fowler's A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, Mary Stoughton's Substance & Style: Instruction & Practice in Copyediting, or Claire Kehrwald Cook's Line by Line. The following books should be in your library. You probably will refer frequently to the first two of them!

1. University of Chicago Press. 2010. The Chicago Manual of Style. 16th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Note:
We now expect HK freelance editors and proofreaders to start using the 15th edition of CMS. Many rules from the 14th edition still apply. NEW: Click here for an outline of the changes in the 15th edition and a list of things that HK is and is not following in the 15th edition of CMS.

Note that Human Kinetics (HK) makes some exceptions to The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), which are listed under General Guidelines: Style Manual and HK Exceptions to It.

2. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. 2003. 11th ed. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc. Note: You can access the 11th edition of the dictionary at

Use the first spelling where alternates occur (for example, toward, not towards).

3. American Psychological Association (APA). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 2001. 5th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Human Kinetics uses APA as the style guide for its journals. An occasional book manuscript might use aspects of APA style consistently. If the transmittal form specifies APA, you should use the fifth edition.

4. Style Manual Committee, Council of Biology Editors. Scientific Style and Format: The CBE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers. 1994. 6th ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. See also the CBE's website:

5. Skillin, Marjorie E., Robert M. Gay, and others. Words Into Type. 1974. 3rd ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

This reference is of occasional use.

6. Bernstein, Theodore M. 1965. The Careful Writer. New York: Simon & Schuster.

The Careful Writer is very comprehensive and easy to use. It may be hard to find, though. Check with your local bookstore or online bookseller for availability.

7. Cook, Claire Kehrwald. 1985. Line by Line: How to Improve Your Own Writing. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Line by Line is an excellent resource. The author provides good examples, good explanations, and references to other style guides.

8. Walsh, Bill. 2000. Lapsing Into a Comma: A Curmudgeon's Guide to the Many Things That Can Go Wrong in Print--and How to Fix Them. Chicago: Contemporary.

Lapsing Into a Comma is a great resource for those who want to know about the nitpicky editorial issues that editors must be aware of to survive as editors. The book is also an entertaining read. Bill Walsh is the copy desk chief for the Washington Post, so keep in mind that he favors Associated Press style. Some of HK's house styles are different from Walsh's (and the AP's) preferences.

The Editorial Team

When all goes well, the publishing process takes about a year from the time of a manuscript's acceptance to its becoming a book in print. Copyediting is one of the last steps while the manuscript is in the Editorial Department, and proofreading is among the first steps while it is in the Production Department. Whereas copyediting occurs before the manuscript is transmitted to Production, proofreading is done by the editorial team members (freelance and in-house) after it has been officially transmitted to the Production Department.

An acquisitions editor (AcqE) first solicits or receives a manuscript and reviews it, deciding whether to recommend it for publication. Often the AcqE returns the draft to the author for revision. For many manuscripts, a developmental editor (DE) then reviews the manuscript and may return it again to the author for revision. An increasing number of projects aren't given reviews and are given directly to managing editors (MEs), who prepare the manuscript for copyediting right away. The DE or ME oversees the manuscript's organization, flow, art work, and book design, managing the project until its publication. Major stylistic questions are in the DE's or ME's domain, and this editor is ordinarily the sole person to communicate with the author about corrections and other changes. Questions of content, organization, and accuracy must go through the DE or ME, although on occasion copyeditors have communicated directly with authors to have changes approved and queries answered. The DE or ME uses an assistant editor (AE) to determine the page count for copyediting payment. In addition, the DE or ME specifies the copyedit level (see pages 11-13) and fills out a copyediting transmittal form giving directions about how to handle particular aspects of each job to the copyeditor (CE).

The editorial services manager (ESM) is responsible for setting house style; answering copyediting questions; and for hiring and evaluating freelance copyeditors, proofreaders, and assistant editors. By the time a CE receives the manuscript, it has been reviewed by in-house staff and revised by the author. When the CE completes work on the manuscript and returns it, the ESM will review it briefly and return it to the DE or ME, who reviews the queries and the copyediting, afterward sending the copyedited manuscript to the author for review. Once the author returns the manuscript with comments and corrections, an AE will integrate these and arbitrate any disagreements between the author and the copyeditor, consulting with the DE or ME about content issues and with the ESM about stylistic or usage issues in dispute. The AE also integrates proofreader and author changes to the galleys (if used) and page proofs, and, with the advice of the DE or ME, arbitrates disagreements and decides whether to make the changes.

General Guidelines

In evaluating a copyedit, we look first for correct spelling and grammar and consistent styling. If an author's style or usage is reasonable, please keep it. We do, however, value changes from a passive to an active voice, trimming wordiness and redundancy, paring down strings of nouns, substituting a more precise word, changing sexist or other biased language, streamlining pronoun usage, and other more substantive edits.

A good copyedit doesn't call attention to itself. The writing flows clearly and smoothly. As you edit, please look to eliminate wordiness, trite expressions, tautologies, dead wood and unnecessary jargon or academese, annoying repetitions of particular words, and unnecessary previews or summaries. Pay particular attention to the beginnings of chapters and to the preface, trying to enliven them and make them inviting to readers. Here are some common problems that authors have in writing:

Most rules have exceptions. If you are in doubt about making an exception, feel free to call the editorial services manager (or the developmental or managing editor when content is at issue). If you feel certain that an exception is justified, make it, but add a note of explanation in the form of a query.

Who Is Responsible?

These lists provide only a very basic look at the responsibilities of the following members of the publication process.


In-house editor

Graphic artist



We appreciate feedback you offer DEs, MEs, or authors about accuracy, logic, and the flow of writing--if your comments are polite, brief, within the realms of your expertise, and justifiable. When you make queries, please remember that authors will see the ones you direct to them and sometimes the ones you direct to the ESM or DE. Be courteous and use tact; this manuscript is someone's baby. In general, a simple query will alert the author to read it. But when you're asking the author whether an edit is OK, please briefly explain what you edited so that the author knows what's been changed. Be sure you can defend every change you make in a manuscript, but if you think it's an important change it probably is.

You may make global queries about issues that recur, but list them at the top of each chapter. (For some jobs we use more than one graphic artist [GA]--what we call typesetters/layout artists.) Use Post-it notes for queries on hard copy, placing all of them within the right margin of the manuscript. Address queries to the author (AU), DE or ME, or ESM. You may find notations in the manuscript to the AE because she or he works extensively with the manuscript in-house.

For queries in online edits, mark them by typing \QQ, the query itself, and XQQ\ to mark the end of the query. Use boldface for the query and make clear to whom you are addressing it (AU and DE or ME usually, as well as ESM on occasion). See specific querying procedures for page proofs on page 43, or click here.

Style Manual and HK Exceptions to It

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) is the guide that HK uses for its book manuscripts. We now would like HK freelance editors to start following the 16th edition of CMS. HK makes these exceptions to CMS style:

Transmittal and Contract Forms

With each job you will receive several forms, including at least a

You should sign (on the back) and return the original of the contract to the editorial services manager, keeping the copy of it for your records. We cannot process payment to you without having the signed contract; be sure to return it! You will find on the contract your payment rate for the job, the number of pages that we have computed, and the due date for the completed job. Do not fill out any information on the front of the page. If you think there is any error, please call the ESM and discuss it, or write a note and include it with the completed manuscript. The return date is when we expect to receive the manuscript in-house; please plan accordingly! If you foresee a delay, please call the ESM to verify that a later date is okay or to make alternate arrangements.

The contract lists the copyedit level (see appendix 1 for examples). The transmittal form, which the DE or ME fills out, will give you descriptive information about the project and the stylistic issues special to it. Read this carefully and call if anything is unclear. In some book series, the DE or ME may include sample pages or extra materials to show the styling and format.

Fill out the copyediting or proofreading checklist that you find enclosed for each job, even if you are familiar with HK procedures. Please return the completed checklist, which lets us verify that you have understood and fulfilled the various expectations we have of a freelancer on the project.

Style Sheets

We encourage you to make your style sheets as complete as possible. They help all subsequent workers know your decisions about spelling, capitalization, proper names, compounds and hyphenation, acronyms, numerals instead of words, jargon, phrasing, and details of format. Moreover, we have found that the more complete a style sheet is, the more consistent the manuscript copyediting seems to be. A thorough style sheet can help you maintain consistent usage between chapters, for example, and you can use it with online editing as the basis for a final spelling check, along with the find/replace feature on your software. See the section on online editing starting on page 13 for instructions about how to create a sheet to indicate character coding for the GAs.

The copyeditor creates a manuscript-specific style sheet for each project. The style sheet should reflect every style point that could be handled more than one way and that the copyeditor has made a decision about. Any instructions about style provided by the DE, ME, or ESM should be included in the final style sheet, and any appropriate and necessary deviations from standard style procedures should be noted.

You may use the style sheet format in CMS in figure 2.2 (see 2.97) or the format in Mary Stoughton's Substance & Style: Instruction & Practice in Copyediting. 1996. Alexandria, VA: Editorial Experts. It gives an alphabetical list divided into categories, including abbreviations, capitalizations, numbers, compounds, spelling, punctuation--and I would add acronyms and organizations. See appendix 2 for a sample style sheet.

Reminder: Where Webster's Tenth gives variant spellings, use the first-occurring variant.

HK House Style Sheet


AAHPERD = American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (note no series comma; before 1979 the acronym was AAHPER)
AD (and BC; full capitals without periods) We no longer need to use small caps, according to CMS.
adviser (but advisory)
appendix; appendixes (appendices only in math usage)
a.m. (and p.m.) Small caps with periods are no longer necessary.
at-bat (n) (added 9/03)
attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (per Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders,
Fourth Edition) Note: DSM IV doesn't acknowledge ADD anymore.
B12, B6 vitamins (all numbers with B complex vitamins are subscript)
biceps (s. or pl.)
Big Ten Conference
bingeing (retain e)
burpees (name of an exercise)
carrys (n; as in canoe maneuvers or football rushing)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
co-chair, co-conspirator, co-investigator, co-leader but coauthor, coeditor Note: In general, follow Webster's 11th on this issue. Be sure to note any "co" prefixes on style sheet.
cool-down (n; but cool down as v)
copyedit (-or; -ing)
counterattack (n, v)
cross country (running; n and adj)
cross-country skiing
deadlift (one word; added 11/01)
diagramed (but diagrammable, diagrammatic)
dietitian (American spelling; use British spelling of dietician for books marketed in the UK)
disc (for discs in vertebrae, compact discs, and disc golf)
disk (for floppy computer disks)
double-check (v)
double-dribble (v)
double dribble (n)
double-fault (v)
double fault (n)
Down syndrome (no apostrophe) NEW added 11/03

early-season (adj before n)
eye-hand coordination (use an en dash)
Fitnessgram (an HK product; don't use all caps)
flier (a handbill or pamphlet)
flys (n; a weightlifting exercise)
focuses (not foci)
follow through (v)
follow-through (n, adj)
formulas (not formulae)
freelance (no hyphen)
gold medalist
ground stroke
Hacky Sack
health care (n, adj; not healthcare)
heart rate
heart rate monitor
high-intensity (adj)
hula hoop

in-line skating (try to avoid Rollerblade; definitely don't lowercase Rollerblade)
in-season (adj, n, but no hyphen in "strawberries are in season")
L = liter but ml = milliliter
lifestyle (no hyphen)
long-sleeved, short-sleeved (adj before n)
longtime (adj)
K, not km, for races of standard lengths (e.g., 5K, 10K; the numeral and K are closed up)

middle-aged (adj before n)
middle aged (predicate adj)
mucous (adj)
mucus (n)
Nerf ball
National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA)
number one (adj, as in cancer is America's number one killer)
off balance (predicate adj)
off-balance (adj before n)
off-season (n, adj)
Olympic Games (always cap Games when referring to Olympics)
one-arm, two-leg (adj, as in he did a one-arm handstand)
online (n and adj)
orthopedic (vs. -paedic) (if the ae spelling is used in proper names, retain it; otherwise, use the American spelling)

out of bounds (adv: She stepped out of bounds)
Part I (of book--uppercase for title); part I (text mention-lowercase)
physical education (avoid abbreviation PE, except when used often; never use P.E., phys. ed.)
Pilates (always capped)
pinny (a vest worn to identify one as part of a team; common in physical education)
pull-down (adj, n; also lat pull-down or lateral pull-down)
quadriceps (s. or pl.)
racket (e.g., tennis racket)
rating of perceived exertion (not rate of perceived exertion)
rectus abdominis
rock 'n' roll

sample worksheets (not example worksheets; example can't be an adj)
section II (text mention-lowercase)
Soldier Field (football stadium in Chicago)
shoulder-width ("Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.")
speedskating (-es, -er)
Spinning (trademarked name of specific stationary cycling class; but no trademark symbol is necessary) added 5/1
sports medicine (but see "Notes and Reminders"; in most cases HK style is sport without the ending s)
StairMaster (but use a generic description, such as stair stepper, in most cases)
student-athlete (n)
Summer Olympics (Summer Games, Olympic Games, 1984 Games; Games always cap when it refers to Olympics)
syllabuses (not syllabi)
taekwondo (one word)
takeoff (n)
take off (v)
tee ball (NOT T-ball; this differs from Webster's)
teenage (n, adj)
time line
triceps (s. and pl.)
type 1, type 2 diabetes
Type I, Type II muscle fibers
U.S. (abbreviation okay as adjective but spell out as noun; use periods with abbreviation)

vitamin B6, B12
VO2max (V must have overdot, which you must code for the GA--subscript 2, no word space after 2; see pages 14-15 and appendix 3) (*See note about VO2 [without max] at the end of this style sheet)
warm-up (n; but warm up as v)
Wiffle ball
website NEW added 3/11
Winter Olympics, Winter Games (see Summer Olympics)
world-class (adj before n)
world-record holder
World Wide Web
X-ray (noun, verb, adj)

Numbers, Measurements, and Ages
aged 15 to 20; 15- to 20-year age group
10-year-old (n and adj), 8- to 10-year-old kids, 5- to 10-year-olds
1RM (abbreviation for 1-repetition max)
one on one (predicate adv)
one-on-one (adj before noun)
1v1 (no spaces; used in drill books on soccer, basketball, and other sports)
aged 15 to 20 (no hyphen)
15- \x\ 25-yard area but an area 15 \x\ 25 yards or 15 by 25 yards (use of multiplication symbol depends on the context)

Notes and Reminders