Professional Editing

The Overall Course Goals for English 408 are twofold.

  1. Introduce students to the very real elements involved in becoming and establishing one’s self as a professional editor/copyeditor/proofreader in the ever-evolving world of publishing.
  2. Nurture students in their individual investigations into the difference between writing well and editing well by helping them develop the ability to find and fix everything possible in a given manuscript.

There are three Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) for English 408.

  1. Develop thinking and problem-solving skills in relation to working with written text (i.e., “What are the problems with this manuscript, and how do I fix them?”)
  2. Understand the research and depth of knowledge required to be a strong and effective editor/copyeditor/proofreader (i.e., “Know the basics, do the research, and make a manuscript the best it can be.”)
  3. Be able to apply what is learned in class to any new piece of writing with the confidence of an emerging professional editor/copyeditor/proofreader.

The overall design of the course will span sixteen weeks, each week based on a chapter of our class text The Copyeditor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications by Amy Einsohn (e.g., Chapter 5: Spelling and Hyphenation and Chapter 15: Beyond Grammar).

In addition, students will be asked to purchase the companion text The Copyeditor’s Workbook.

Classes will also involve weekly readings and a variety of in-class editing activities with the goal of helping students become skilled in the amazing craft of copyediting, along with an awareness of editing and proofreading.

Grades will largely be based on weekly quizzes, each of which will be focused on a chapter from The Copyeditor’s Handbook and The Copyeditor’s Workbook.

In addition, students will have two graded writing assignments, both with two parts (hence four total grades based on students’ individual writing and editing skills).

There will not be a final exam for this course.

Finally, I must express strongly that students enrolled in 408 should have a solid grasp on grammar consistencies within the English language. All enrolled will be expected to work on a professional level and will be graded accordingly.

Questions regarding this course can be directed to the instructor at the following email address: (noting that the letter before the 8 is a lowercase “l” and not the numeral “1”).