Week 2 Copyedit


Basic copyediting and copyediting for consistency

Reconsidering Some Prescriptive Rules of Grammar and Composition

About Style Guides and Editing Marks

Developing Company Editing Standards

Examples of style guides

APA style guide

MLA style guide

Naval Air Warefare Center style manual

NSF (National Science Foundation) proposal guidelines

U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual

More computer guides than you want to know about

Editing work

You will edit these on paper with full use of the edit marks you learned last week. How to turn in paper assignments.

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.

Make a style sheet for both assignments indicating choices that involve editorial judgment and that might apply to related documents, even if the judgment is to leave the text as it stands. The style choices you make for this section would apply to the entire report.

Editing style sheet (you'll need to use this repeatedly for the rest of your editing career)

Ignitron tube

Stem cells

Discussion questions


How do you use the editing style sheet? A blank one just looks like a bunch of empty squares.


Often there is a third style guide, the company style guide, which would have to use. In priority, it sits between the major style (such as Chicago Manual of Style) and the editing style sheet. If you have a company style guide, why would you need an editing style sheet? How does it serve as a better style guide than Chicago Manual of Style (or others); in other words, why bother to go through the expense of creating & maintaining a company style guide?


Both Sun and Microsoft have published their style guides, what would be good and bad reasons for using them as your company style guide? Esspecially if you are editing in the computer industry.



Concerning Prepositions and Split Infinitives


As people learn to copyedit, there is a tendency to want to move beyond basic sentence elements and get into questions of style. I tend to think that's because sentence elements (grammar, usage, punctuation) are fairly black and white, right or wrong, whereas we conjure up stylistic "improvements" based on "ear," or just the way we feel about a particular phrase or passage.

The ultimate problem with "style," of course, is that no element of a document is more bound to the situation and purpose of a document than style. One person's flippant style is another person's friendly style, depending solely on the context and purpose. The trick for the comprehensive editor is not to have some rigid definition of appropriateness, but to be able to interpret the psychological dynamic in play from both writer and reader.

As a little game, this is an actual piece of writing in a professional situation. How would you interpret what is going on and its appropriateness? If this were a portion of a memo you were expected to edit, what would you say to the author?

If you continue to avoid responding, I will inform your supervisor and you will be in more trouble than you have ever been in your whole life. If this happens and I have anything to do with it, you will have seen the last of this profession.