Manuscript Preparation, Copyediting, and Proofreading

Q. I was wondering what your thoughts were concerning using the words “above” and “below” in the text to refer to different sections (“as mentioned above”). Our editorial director insists we alter any such uses of the words, but I’ve had several authors become quite annoyed when we change them. Thanks!

A. Those words are often used to steer readers, and I don’t think readers are puzzled if something referred to as “below” actually appears at the top of the next page. But if there’s any chance of confusion (say, in writing for children) or misdirection (say, in referring to images that might get moved during composition), it’s best to find other words.