Writers Talk About Writing
Is It "Copyeditor" or "Copy Editor"?
Here is the latest in our series of quick tips on usage and style shared by Mignon Fogarty, better known as Grammar Girl. This time she answers the question, is it copy editor or copyeditor?
September is Be Kind to Writers and Editors Month, which reminded me of an old question: Is copy editor one word or two?
As with so many compound words, either form works; some dictionaries list it both ways. The AP Stylebook says copy editor is two words just like business editor and managing editor. A Google search and a Google News search also both return far more results for the two-word version, and the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary lists only the two-word form. Perhaps most tellingly, the American Copy Editors Society presents it as two words.
I can't say copyeditor is wrong, but I recommend copy editor.
For more on copy editor vs. copyeditor, see the comments on the Language Log post, "How should we spell 'copy editor'?"