Editorial terms – NO

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narrative voice: in fiction, this is the perspective from which the story is told, as opposed to character voices, which are demonstrated through dialogue and character thought processes. Narrative voice perspectives can be first person (‘I/my’ or ‘we/our’ – a character within the story narrates it), second person (‘you/your’ – not commonly used), third person (‘she/he/they’ – the story is told by someone not involved in the story) and third person omniscient (the narrator of the story knows more than the characters in the story).

non-lining (old-style) figures: in numbers, figures might have ascenders and descenders, so will not appear to be uniform in size. See also lining figures.

non-restrictive (non-defining) relative clause: a clause which adds additional information that can be omitted from the sentence without changing its meaning. For example:

The English playwright who wrote Hamlet, Shakespeare, also wrote sonnets.

There is only one author of the play Hamlet, so Shakespeare’s name is put within commas. The sentence still makes sense if the name is omitted:

The English playwright who wrote Hamlet also wrote sonnets.

Also called a non-essential relative clause. See also restrictive (defining) relative clause.


OCR (optical character recognition): software that allows you to scan a page containing text. Rather than producing a photographic image, the software converts the information into text that can be edited and searched in a word-processing program.

offset (lithography) printing: a method of printing using plates and a rubber surface to transfer ink to a page. One of its advantages is high-quality image reproduction.

op. cit.: (Latin opere citato) in citations, this means that the work has previously been cited.

orphan: the first line of a paragraph or a heading appearing at the foot of a page or column with no other lines of text following it, or a very short line at the end of a paragraph. See also widow.

overmatter: text or content for which there is no room in the layout. The editor or proofreader may need to suggest cuts or changes to make the content fit the space available.

Oxford comma: see serial comma