Editorial terms – D

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dangling participle (dangling modifier): a participle or modifier is described as dangling when it is used at the beginning of a sentence but has no connection with the subject of a sentence. ‘Nestling in a peaceful green valley [modifier], you [subject] will love the rural tranquillity of our holiday cottage.’ Dangling participles should be corrected as they introduce ambiguity.

design: the decisions taken on how elements that need special presentation (eg quotations, lists, notes, tables) should be structured and displayed. These are usually the responsibility of the designer, not the copyeditor/proofreader.

designer (graphic designer): someone who designs the document and creates a template for the typesetter to follow.

design/type specification: a document containing the decisions taken by the designer on the layout and typographical elements to be applied to a specific text that will determine how it will look on the printed page or screen. These include typefaces, type size, spacing and position on the page of all elements.

desktop publishing: where a document is designed and laid out by the author or publisher, rather than being outsourced to a typesetter.

developmental editing: the stage after a text has been written and before copyediting. In non-fiction, it aims to help an author clarify their message effectively for the intended audience; in fiction, it helps the author develop and refine a story to achieve their creative and publishing goals.

directional: a type of caption that directs the reader to a specific piece of artwork. Directionals may be used where the illustration fills a complete page and the caption has to appear on the opposite page (eg ‘Figure 1 opposite’), or where the artwork consists of several images (eg ‘Top left: View of the Houses of Parliament from south of the river. Top right: Aerial view of the Thames and the Houses of Parliament’). Directionals cannot usually be written until the material is laid out on pages with text, captions and images in their final positions.

displayed matter: any text feature that is broken off from the running text and set out separately, such as a heading, a mathematical equation, a bullet list, a long prose quotation or a piece of poetry, perhaps formatted and aligned differently from the main text. Displayed material usually has a space preceding it and following it, to make clear its separation from the main text; when copyediting, displayed matter needs to be assigned a style or a code/tag so that the designer can specify a typographic treatment for its layout on the typeset page.

DOI: a standardised unique number given to many (but not all) articles, papers and books by some publishers to identify a particular publication.

double numbering: images identified by chapter and serial number are said to be ‘double numbered’: the serial numbers start again at 1 in each chapter (Fig. 1.1, 1.2, 1.3; Fig. 2.1, 2.2, 2.3).

double-page spread (DPS): see spread

DPI: dots per inch. The more dots per inch, the clearer the print, so with images in particular it’s a good idea to aim for a higher DPI. 300 is standard for printing, but photographs on very large displays might appear at 1200DPI. See also PPI.

drop cap: a large capital letter (a dropped capital) of the depth of two or more lines which appears at the beginning of a chapter, section or paragraph.