Catherine Kendal

(Pernickety Kate)

Hi – I’m Catherine, also known as Pernickety Kate.

I’m based in mid-Suffolk, and I’m always happy to meet you to chat about the job. But it isn’t essential – working from home means I can work for you wherever you are.

So what makes Pernickety Kate tick? Some people feel immense satisfaction in dusting their picture frames or ironing socks. Sadly, I’m never going to be a domestic goddess. But that’s how I feel about polishing a piece of writing to make it the best it can be.

Unlike housework, editing doesn’t mean doing exactly the same thing next week, because every job is different.


The path to editing…

…began with an Open University degree in English Language and Linguistics. At that time, I had growing children and a job as a Teaching Assistant, so the degree took six years – but I loved every minute of it.

Then I trained for another year to qualify as a teacher. Teaching means communicating information clearly – and that’s what editing is all about, too. There followed many happy years of deciphering children’s writing, which did no harm either!

As English Language co-ordinator at a primary school, I ran training courses for parents and staff in grammar and phonics, as well as teaching children. So I know all about putting across information to different audiences.


How does that help you?

Well, I’ve done my homework…  A BA (Hons) First Class means you can trust me to know my stuff about language. I also keep up to date with courses from the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP).

Since becoming a freelance editor and proofreader, I’ve worked for students, authors, and businesses large and small. I’ve helped budding writers make their books sparkle and given a Pernickety Kate polish to a wonderful variety of texts, from a PhD thesis on black holes to a lengthy international report on the rail industry.  And I’ve worked with numerous businesses to help them communicate clearly to their customers.


Your reader’s viewpoint

My job is to look at whatever you’ve written from the viewpoint of your intended audience. In other words, I wear different ‘hats’ to help bring out the best in the text.

If you’ve written a CV, I’m your prospective employer. If you’ve written a website, I’m the client you’re trying to persuade. If you’ve written a ‘How to’ book, I’m the novice who needs to understand your instructions easily.

It’s your writing – your voice should shine through. But I can suggest ways of making it clearer, or more suitable, or more appealing to your readers.

I have a particular interest in making written website content more user-friendly!


Does an editor know all the rules?

The most important thing about writing is what it means to the reader. Yes, there are rules about grammar, spelling and punctuation, and they are important. But there aren’t nearly as many rules as some people assume, and language is always changing.

If you think I’ve broken some rules anywhere in this website, please do let me know. Or take a look at Pernickety Kate’s Blog for more thoughts on language and writing.


Life beyond editing

When I’m not proofreading or editing, my passion is singing – I sing with a large choir, an Early Music quartet and a couple of Folk bands.

Reading and writing obviously go with the territory.  I’ve dabbled with short stories and enjoyed writing successful musical stage plays for children. I have also produced articles about language and writing as a guest blogger for Mill House Media.

And then there are cats…



Still got some questions? Check out my FAQs for more answers. And if you are wondering about how much my services cost, here are my prices.

Help yourself…

In February 2021, I published my own first book! A guide to the most common problem words in everyday English, Wrong Words and How to Right Them is written in plain language, with a healthy dollop of humour. There are Quick Fix tips, quizzes and a short grammar guide too. It’s just £6.95 and you can buy a copy here.

word book
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