Week 1 Copyedit


Editing text

Copyediting and Proofreading

Editing basics (copied from another instructor, links will not work)

Proofreading marks cheat sheet

Editing work

You will edit these on paper with full use of the edit marks described in "Copyediting and Proofreading". How to turn in paper assignments. I know turning in paper copy is a pain for an online class, but you'll only have to do it for 2 weeks.

To copyedit these assignments, you will need to make decisions about spelling, capitalization, and abbreviations as well as to edit for consistency, grammar, and punctuation.

Basic copyedit practice

Copyedit basics

Effective PR

Open Hearth


Discussion questions


The vast majority of people who might come across the term "technical editor" will immediately think of someone who "fixes" other people's prose, attacking a text at the last stage with a handbook and a highly arcane set of internalized editing rules. What is your definition of a technical editor? As part of the online discussion, work to resolve the differences in the various definitions that different people post. Don't be surprised if your definition changes radically during the semester as you gain a deeper understanding of the breadth of an editor's job.


Your job is to copyedit—to make the document correct, consistent, accurate, and complete. You do not alter word choices or organization. Yet you know enough about style to wonder about the choice of “catch” in the second paragraph of the text in “Computer Viruses.” Given the metaphor of “virus,” you wonder if “intercept” might be better here because “catching” a virus means to get sick whereas the antiviral software “catches” the virus before it can make the computer sick. But changing words and editing for style are beyond your responsibilities. What can you do?

Computer Viruses
A malicious use of the computer is to insert a computer virus into an email message as an attachment. When the recipient opens the attached file, the virus begins to do its damage. One type of virus finds all the addresses in the recipient’s email address book and sends a copy of the message to them, thereby spreading itself widely. Other viruses attack the files and directories on the hard drive. These infections are as destructive as a viral infection in the human body. They can damage if not destroy individual computers and even whole networks of computers.

Prevention of these attacks requires multiple efforts. Antiviral software can catch many viruses, but new viruses may bypass the protection features. Users need to keep this software up-to-date. Users need to be educated not to open attachments whose names end in “.exe.” (The file extension identifies executable code.) In fact, it’s risky to open any attachment if you are uncertain of its source.



Here's a sample copyedit. Notice the author queries in the margins. You have to be willing to write notes to the author to tell them why you marked things or about text which is not clear. Also, the notes help the author rewrite the text. You are the editor; you do not rewrite it.