Professsional Editing

Discussion and practice in
professional editing. Specific focus on editing of articles, books, and reports
with a focus on logic, clarity, coherence, consistency of tone and style, and
conventional grammar and punctuation. Pre: 306, 311, 313, 403, or 405; or


The Overall Course Goals for English
408 are twofold—1). to 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 and 2). to 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
Outcomes 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.”), and 3). be able to apply what is learned in class to any new piece of
writing with the confidence of an emerging professional


As a class, we will take a field
trip to a local publishing company. The overall design of the course will span
sixteen weeks with a different editing “problem” or “situation” as the focus
for each week (i.e., “Clichés, Jargon, and Clutter” and “The Digital
Revolution”). Classes will involve weekly readings and editing activities along
with quizzes. Grades will largely be based on the accuracy of the editing on
those activities and taking those quizzes; however, there will also be one
graded writing assignment that has two parts (hence two separate writing
grades). There will not be a final exam for this course.


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.


The primary course text is The Copyeditor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book
Publishing and Corporate Communications
(Third Edition) by Amy Einsohn. The
secondary course text, which is strongly recommended but not required, is The Chicago Manual of Style: The Essential
Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers
(16th Edition). In
addition, students should have access to a dictionary (whether print or online)
that is more prescriptive (proposing “correct” usage) and less descriptive
(“neutral”) and one that lists the most common definition first, versus giving
definitions in historical order. Other grammar and language usage handbooks
will also be useful to students enrolled in 408.