Lead or led: what is correct?

July 31, 2013

Here’s another spelling question that comes up a lot.

Image of lead pencils with the text: correctio, the past thense of lead is not l e a d, but l e d

The past tense of lead, to lead something, is ‘led’

Is the past tense of lead – to lead a horse to water – ‘lead’ or ‘led’? It depends whom you ask it seems.

English teachers and publishers of old who write to UK and Australian spelling say that the correct past tense of lead is ‘lead’: the same spelling but pronounced differently. In the United States, they have adopted ‘led’.

Given that Australian publishing standards  follow the UK spelling, I would have agreed with the said teachers and publishers and used ‘lead’. But it now seems that the Macquarie Dictionary and other keepers of English language standards support the use of ‘led’. I was led down the garden path. It seems in terms of using ‘lead’ for the past tense, this is so.

I defer to the keepers of the faith: ‘led’ it is.

Susie Stevens is the manager of Bold Type in Sydney Australia. We specialise in online writing, editing, proofreading and web development. Visit our website, Bold Type, for more information.


Editing is alive and thriving in the digital media age

April 28, 2013
Image of pencil, sharpener and pencil shavings – metaphor for sharpening pencils when editing

A professional editor can make sure you use the right word at the right time

It’s great to see that people in business, academia and government value the work of a professional editor and proofreader in the new digital age. Spell check should be renamed ‘sometimes spell check’. The incorrect spelling of their, there and they’re just doesn’t cut it with spell check and needs the sharp eye (not I) of a professional editor.

This month, I have completed the edit and proofread of a 100 page catalogue for a sports uniform business and worked on several interesting theses from one about the law and drugs to another on Aboriginal Art.

The response from one client:

The difference to the text is amazing. I thought I had it right. The tweeking that Susie did made such a difference. I had so many typos that I just couldn’t see. We send our catalogue to schools so it was very important to get the spelling and punctuation right.

I’m always surprised to be reading a publication or webpage of a government department or large multinational business to find apostrophes in the wrong place. A particularly common error is to put the apostrophe on 60s, 70s, 80s and so forth. My other pet hate is – CD’s, DVD’s. People, there is no apostrophe – it’s simply a plural of CD.

Some people still need enlightenment – get a professional editor to check your work before you send your work out to the public. As a professional editor working in the business for over 25 years, I can help. Email me at susie.stevens@bold-type.com.au. If you are in Australia, call my mobile 0410 037 635.

As a lecturer once said to me: ‘Don’t get it right, get it written’. The next sentence should have been: ‘To get it right, get an editor’.

Read more about editing and proofreading on my website.

What should you pay for editing or proofreading?

November 29, 2012
Well-used Style Manual for Australian editing and proofreading

Well-used Style Manual – essential for editors and proofreaders

This is the question that everyone wants to know. Let’s go back to the old saying, ‘You get what you pay for’.

Working in publishing for over 20 years as an editor, proofreader, senior editor and publisher, I know how true this is. The cheapest quote might be a waste of time and money because the results are so poor that there is no substantial difference between the pre-edited or proofread work and the version after a bad edit or proofread.

At Bold Type, we don’t charge the cheapest rates but we are professionals who know what we are doing and will do the best job.

Recently, we did some work for the Leichhardt Municipal Council. They were finding that constituents were having difficulty understanding some of their brochures which was costing them time and money responding to requests for clarification. After we went to work on the brochures, the number of calls they had reduced dramatically. Not only that, the frustration levels of their constituents would have been dramatically reduced too.

We’re always thrilled to see great results from our work. Making text clearer, more easy to read, logical – it’s what we love to do.

Wherever you are, email us for an obligation free quote for editing and/or proofreading. We work for clients all over Australia and overseas too.

Read about our editing and proofreading rates

Loving Facebook Timeline

June 30, 2012

For businesses, the new Facebook Timeline layout is rather cool. Loving the background image with the profile image set into it.

A good thing to do for businesses – in the first line of ‘Product/Services’, put in your web address so that people visiting your Facebook page can click through to your website easily. Click on the image to Like Bold Type on Facebook.

Facebook page for Bold Type in the new Timeline layout

Like Bold Type. Click on the image to go to our Facebook page to like us

We manage a Facebook pages for some of our clients as well as writing and editing web content to improve the search engine optimisation on their websites. It’s all about visibility on the Internet. If you’re not seen, you’re not happening.

We’re loving the Ski The World Facebook page which has prompted a redesign (underway) of their website. It’s going to be a cracker so ‘like’ their Facebook page to keep in touch.

Ski the World Facebook page in new Timeline layout

Click on the image to go to Ski the World Facebook page to like Ski The World

If you want a new website or need a website design, call Susie at Bold Type (Australia) on 0410 037 635. Email Bold Type or contact us through Skype on sue_boldtype.

We’d love to help you get more targetted traffic to your website and Facebook page.

Visit the Bold Type website

Visit the Ski The World website

May 31, 2012
Image of pencil, sharpener and pencil shavings – metaphor for sharpening pencils when editing

Sharpen your pencils when it comes to using the right word at the right time

I don’t know about you but when I hear or see health regime I want to scream. It’s regimen when we’re talking about a regulated course of diet or exercise. Regime is what we have with a given system of government, for example, an African regime meaning a government system, not an African eating or exercise program.

Now some people writing on the Internet suggest that the words are interchangable. Arguable. As an editor, I would make the distinction so that if a text is talking about a diet plan, and the writer had used ‘regime’, I would definitely change to ‘regimen’.

I appreciate that English is a living language, and perhaps in years to come, the word ‘regimen’ will become obsolete, but until then getting the meaning of a piece of writing right is my job. So it’s regimen for eating or exercise program and regime for a mode or system of government.

Want a professional editor? Send an email request or call Sue Stevens on 0410 037 635 (Australia).

It’s tough working online – not!

March 29, 2012
Astral Cafe street sign in Main Street, Murwillumbah, Northen New South Wales

The Astral Cafe in Murwillumbah is the ideal place for a morning coffee while checking emails and so forth

With my trusty Mac computer, iPhone and iPad combo, I can work from anywhere in the world. Right now, it’s Murwillumbah in Northern New South Wales where I’m catching up with one of our graphic designers to discuss some special effects graphics on the Classic Summer website which is in the making.

Also catching up with a couple of clients for whom I do website maintenance – writing news and enewsletters and making sure that their websites are performing well when it comes to search engine optimization.

My day starts at the Astral Cafe. It’s an authentic 1950s milk bar with real milk shakes served in the aluminium containers, booths and wonderful home-made cakes, pies and other treats. I opt for the flat white expresso coffee while I catch up on emails, check out some websites and organise my to-do list for the day.

Astral Cafe is an authentic 1950s style milk bar in Murwillumbah Northern New South Wales

Love the authentic 1950s style milk bar atmosphere – and the coffee is great too!

It’s a great way to get going in the morning. I recommend the Astral Cafe for anyone visiting Murwillumbah for work or pleasure – in fact, it’s a bit of both. Work is pleasure in these surroundings!

Want a website? How about improving your search engine optimisation (SEO)? For a free appraisal of your existing website or if you want to check our reasonable prices, contact Sue Stevens by email or call mobile: 0410 037 635.

Have work will travel

December 31, 2011
The beach at dusk at Woolgoolga in northern New South Wales with swimmers and surfboard riders

One day working on the road at places such as Woolgoolga in New South Wales, Australia

The great thing about working in web development, website content management and content development and all things related to the Internet is that wherever I go, my work goes with me. Well, that’s good because I can log on and respond to emails and discuss website development projects with my team and so forth. Not so good in that wherever I go, my work goes with me.

As I write for several websites including Captivations – custom sports clothing manufacturer, Ski The World (say no more!) and Stuff By Susie’s Health Blog (more about the Dukan Diet than simple health website), I’m not restricted to a small airless office to do my work.

A road trip from Sydney to Brisbane to visit clients (and catch up with family and friends along the way) gave me ample time to do the necessary work-related jobs and to enjoy some of the scenery along the way. Later in January, I head to Canada to research for the ski website and a skiing book that is planned.

Ski event at Silver Star in February 2011

Within a few days working at some of Canada's best known ski resorts

One day, working at some of the best beaches in Australia in mid-summer then in a few short days, working in minus 5 temperatures at some of Canada’s best ski resorts.

Life-work balance – way to go!

Highlight this month: the Internet Show in Sydney

October 28, 2011
Seminar at the Internet Show held at Darling Harbour, Sydney, 27 and 28 October 2011

Free seminars were well attended at the Internet Show

With the online environment changing so rapidly, those of us working in the business of building websites, managing search engine optimization (SEO) and writing good web copy that has the right balance of keywords (and engage the reader – most important) attending conferences and shows like the one in Sydney this week is critical.

Internet statistics alone are enough to make the head spin.

Here’s one – there have been 2.3 billion searches on mobiles in 2011 (so far!).

Here’s another – there are 4 billion mobile phones being used in the world – many more than the 1 billion televisions.

And another: in 2013 mobiles are expected to outstrip computers.

Yes, mobile technology was a focus of the Internet Show, though eCommerce got a good run as did digital marketing and social media.

The seminars affirmed that we at Bold Type are right up there in SEO as we are in writing good copy for our online clients. We’ve done some digital video and that’s the new frontier for our business. We have the expertise so watch this space (as they say).

New websites, trip to Melbourne: it’s been a busy month

September 29, 2011

We’ve got some fabulous websites on the go: one for a new line of outdoor casual clothing that will rival Billabong. Another is for my very own design-your-own-summer-dress range which is an interesting build.

Looking over the Yarra River towards SouthBank in Melbourne at dusk: sublime

SouthBank at dusk with the Yarra looking particularly Seine-like, oui?

In the midst of all that, a business trip to Melbourne for the design-your-own-summer-dress website. Gotta love that city. Yeah, there is a rivalry between Sydneysiders and Melbournites but, hey, I come from Queensland and I love both. A tram ride is sublime for someone who loves public transport. I managed all my appointments from East Brunswick to Abbotsford, Northcote to South Yarra, Collingwood to Preston using the trams and trains. MetLink app for the iPhone helped too!

Smith Street Collingwood in Melbourne: strip shopping heaven

Smith Street Collingwood in Melbourne – worth a look, catch a tram!

What’s best about Melbourne for me: strip shopping which is everywhere. Particularly liked Smith Street, Collingwood. And for sheer gorgeousness, SouthBank precinct at dusk has got to be a winner. It’s no wonder they call Melbourne the Paris of the South.

Good for me that my new made-to-order summer dresses website business will be taking me back there for some time to come.

Oh, and by the way, I almost ran into Matthew Pavlich, the AFL Fremantle Docker footballer at SouthBank. Thanks to Gaysie for reminding me!

Loved editing work this month

August 29, 2011
Pens and pencils depicting the skill of writing and editing

Even though we use computers for writing and editing, a good pen never goes astray

Loving your work is perhaps a luxury but I really have loved my editing jobs this month.

I had the pleasure of editing a great essay by a Year 12 student this month. Great writing that drove the narrative forward and held the reader’s attention.

Structurally it was very sound. And while it might have looked like there were lots of ‘red marks’ (even if an an online edit in Word with track changes), many of the changes were typographical or consistency issues – double or single quotation marks, when to use a ‘z’ or an ‘s’? It was a great piece of writing and good to edit.

Also, I edited some webpages for Linda Magson, Sydney Counsellor’s website. Editing webpages is quite different from editing print pages. Structurally, the two medias are similar. However, for websites, focusing on specific keywords for each webpage and making sure keyword density is right are just two of the differences. Metatagging is also something I do when editing webpages.

Then there was the writing and editing of the Captivations website and writing news articles for Liza McKilliam Real estate, Kenmore and Chapel Hill in Brisbane.

As an editor who also writes, here is some advice on good writing.

Six tips for great writing

Whether writing for the web or for print, good writing has:

  • interesting and/or important ideas of value to the reader
  • logical organisation of the content – use headings to signpost the information in the body text
  • an appropriate voice for the context of the work – some things to think about: is it formal or casual, friendly or factual?
  • the right words and good variation so that the writing is interesting
  • smooth and expressive paragraphs and sentence structure
  • correct and consistent punctuation, spelling and grammar that make the text easy to read

And regardless how good you think your own writing is, a professional editor will make it better. That’s the truth because as writers we’re too close to the work to find the little things that take a good piece of writing to a great one.

Love the work? Get the best editor. Contact Sue Stevens for a quote. Read about Sue Stevens on the Bold Type website.