Editorial terms – P
page heads: see running heads
paragraph style: a set of attributes that decides the look of the text in a paragraph. It may contain more than one character style, plus elements like alignment and indentation.
parochialisms: writing that expresses a limited viewpoint, which may not be understood or welcomed by readers from a wider sphere. For instance, in a text that is aimed at an international audience, references to ‘this country’ and ‘our government’ will be unclear to many readers. Similarly, statements such as ‘in the last few years’ will soon become obsolete. In all cases it is better to make the reference specific so that it can be understood by all readers: ‘in Canada’, ‘the UK government’, ‘since 2010’.
PDF (portable document format): a file format that preserves the appearance of a page regardless of the software or hardware used to view it.
perfect binding: a widely used method of book binding in which the pages are glued to the spine of the book. See also saddle stitch binding.
permissions: the consent from a copyright holder to use their work in a new publication. Material for which permission needs to be sought includes text, lyrics, images, TV and film scripts, computer programs and music.
pilcrow: a symbol that looks like a backwards ‘P’ that denotes the end of a paragraph in word-processing programs.
plagiarism: the action or practice of taking someone else’s work or idea and passing it off as one’s own. In other words, literary theft; see also copyright.
plain English: a style of writing that helps readers readily find the information they need, understand it and act on it.
PPI: pixels per inch. A measure of the resolution of a picture. The higher the PPI, the clearer the image will be as it is enlarged. See also DPI.
preface: a personal introduction written by the author.
preliminary pages (prelims): also called front matter; the pages of a book that come before the main text. They can include title pages, contents page, preface, foreword or introduction, list of figures and so on. A proofreader will be expected to proofread these pages and cross-check any details such as page numbers in the contents list with actual page numbers.
print run: the number of copies of a publication that are printed at a time.
pronoun: a word or term that is used in place of a noun, such as ‘she’, ‘they’ and ‘them’.
proof: a sample document of how the final version of the text will look, often supplied by the typesetter, usually in the form of a PDF, which proofreaders or others who are working on the document can mark up on screen or hard copy.
proof collator: someone who takes the proofs that have been corrected by the proofreader and author and combines the corrections into one proof to pass to the typesetter.
proof-editing: the type of editorial work that is done on unedited material that has already been typeset (usually on a PDF) or that will not be separately typeset (eg it has been prepared in and will remain as a Microsoft Word document). Usually a more in-depth approach is needed than with standard proofreading.
proofreading: reading and marking up the proofs of a text to fix any problems in layout and design; errors introduced during typesetting; or mistakes missed during copyediting. It is the final stage before the text is released for publication, so the proofreader should not be looking to improve the writing style, layout or any other aspect of the text, and needs to take into account the effects of any changes they mark and how they will fit into the existing page layout.
proofreading against copy: checking that all corrections marked by the copyeditor on the copy have been implemented correctly in the proof.
pull quote: see call-out.