Copy Editing: Beyond the Basics

If you are already familiar with the editorial process and the fundamentals of copy editing—how to correct errors and ensure consistency of style—this course will allow you to explore some of the more demanding aspects of the copy editor's job. Through lectures, exercises, and class discussions, you will get a clearer understanding of why one author calls the good copy editor a "rare creature."

Using examples from a variety of non-fiction documents, you will consider challenges posed by complex, multi-author publications and look at a range of documentation conventions. You will learn about editing non-text materials such as tables, graphs, labels, and captions. You will also find out how to get the most out of common editorial references like The Chicago Manual of Style, Editing Canadian English, The Oxford Guide to Style, and web resources.


You must have completed Copy Editing or have at least two years of editorial experience. You must also be familiar with the use of editing marks, style sheets, and query sheets, and understand a copy editor's responsibilities regarding mechanics, punctuation, grammar, and usage.

Currently not available for registration.

Instructional hours: 6

Registration may close up to one week before the course begins. 

What will I learn?

By the end of the course, you will be able to do the following:

  • Describe the stages of the editorial process, including the place of copy editing
  • List and describe the copy editor’s responsibilities, including the concern with correct spelling, punctuation, grammar, usage, accurate content, consistent mechanics, and style
  • List common editorial references and find answers to grammar and usage questions
  • Prepare a house style guide and explain why organizations need them
  • Describe common principles for styling titles
  • Copy edit tables, graphs, and references, and describe the common procedures for editing each one
  • Recognize two common systems for documenting sources of information: Notes and bibliography, as well as author-date citations and reference lists
  • Recognize the elements of preparing a publication schedule for a project, then draft an effective schedule

How will I learn?

  • Lectures
  • Class discussions
  • In-class exercises
  • Independent take-home assignments

How will I be evaluated?

Your grade will be based on a final assignment (100%), which is required for certificate students and optional for others.

Textbooks and learning materials

We will provide custom course materials.

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