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.

The course starts with a brief review of the three different kinds of editing. The course continues with a look at the three main strands in stylistic editing: clarity, flow and language. After that it introduces the communication tools and practices used in stylistic editing.

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 23 Register

Instructional hours: 12

Schedule clarification: This course begins on the first date listed and ends six days after the last date listed. Between those times, you work at your own pace within the timelines set by the instructor.

What will I learn?

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

  • Recognize unclear prose and make it clear
  • Recognize incoherent paragraphs or passages and make them coherent
  • Differentiate between stylistic editing, copyediting and structural editing
  • Identify and correct common stylistic problems such as general or abstract writing, jargon, clichés, noun strings, wordiness, and inappropriate language level for the audience
  • Edit manuscripts for clarity, flow and language
  • Query writers tactfully
  • Edit short manuscripts for a general audience

How will I learn?

Prepare to spend six to 10 hours per week on coursework, including:

  • Weekly course modules accessed through Canvas
  • Readings
  • Discussions
  • Exercises
  • Group assignments
  • Independent assignments

Course materials will be available 24/7, and assignment deadlines will be posted well in advance, allowing you to set your own pace for learning.

How will I be evaluated?

Your grade will be based on the following:

  • Participation
  • Two 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) and being comfortable with Track Changes function

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 About Online Learning 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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