Stylistic Editing

Stylistic editing is editing to transform murky, muddled writing into clear, coherent prose. In this course, you will learn how to clarify the meaning, improve the flow, and smooth the language of the most turgid text.

You'll learn how to improve word choice, sentence and paragraph construction to clarify meaning. Learn how to structure each paragraph so it has a clear and coherent focus. Discover how using appropriate language, tone, style, and authorial voice is critical for audience understanding.

You will have the opportunity to work with excerpts from nonfiction books and magazine articles.

The final assignment for this course is due one week after the course ends.

Note: The course code for Stylistic Editing was previously EDIT508.

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Online - Heidi Turner $452.00 21 Register
Online - - TBD $452.00 25 -

Instructional hours: 8

Schedule clarification: Online courses begin on the first date listed and end six days after the last date listed. The interim dates/times are not your actual online class times.

What will I learn?

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

  • Describe what makes prose unclear and how to make it clear
  • Demonstrate what makes a paragraph or passage incoherent and how to make it coherent
  • Differentiate between stylistic editing and copyediting
  • Differentiate between stylistic editing and structural editing
  • Identify and correct common stylistic problems such as general or abstract writing, jargon, clichés, noun strings, inappropriate language level for the audience, and wordiness
  • Recognize when graphic elements must be edited to clearly and effectively convey the intended meaning
  • Edit manuscripts for clarity, flow and language
  • Query writers tactfully, understanding when to allow their writing style to override some editorial conventions
  • Edit manuscripts for the intended audience

How will I learn?

  • Readings
  • Discussions
  • Exercises
  • Group assignments
  • Independent assignments

How will I be evaluated?

Your grade will be based on the following:

  • Participation
  • Self and peer evaluation exercises
  • Four assignments

The final assignment is due seven days after the course ends.

Textbooks and learning materials

We will provide  course materials online.

Hardware and software requirements

  • Microsoft Word (2010 or newer)

We deliver this course using SFU's online course management system, Canvas. You will receive course details and Canvas access instructions on the first day of the course. You can check if your browser is compatible with Canvas here.

New to online learning? See Online Programs and Courses for helpful videos and additional information.

English language requirements

To succeed in this course, you will need an advanced level of written and spoken English. If you are unsure whether your English language skills are sufficient, we recommend you complete the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with the following minimums:

  • Overall band score minimum 6.5
  • No band below 6.0
  • Writing band score minimum 8.0

Please note we can’t refund your registration fees after the course start date if you find your English language skills are not adequate.

If you have questions or concerns about your English language proficiency, we encourage you to contact your local IELTS Test Centre.

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