Copy Editing: Advanced

The finer points of grammar and the larger issues of style

  • sections:
  • Discussions Tuesdays 9-10pm ET, 4 sessions full schedule

Working copy editors know there are exceptions to almost every rule, but do you know what they are? This class aims to examine the finer points of copy editing, with an emphasis on trickier grammar and punctuation examples. We will also discuss issues in the marketplace including freelance v. staff considerations, titles, duties, and the murky waters of office politics. This class is for junior copy editors, writers, editors, or anyone with some background in copy editing who wishes to discuss the realities of working in this profession.

In this class, you will learn how to:

  • Understand finer points of grammar, including rules on danglers, collective nouns, and misplaced modifiers
  • Apply advanced punctuation rules, including proper comma and hyphen usage
  • Create and update your own in-house style guide
  • Be aware of issues in the marketplace: copy editing online, navigating office politics, job titles and responsibilities of the advanced copy editor, and when you've overstepped your bounds
  • Use resources for the advanced copy editor

By the end of class, you will have:

Advanced skills to update in-house style guides and get work as a copy editor.

Admission requirements:

At least one year copyediting experience, or the equivalent. Apply with a note to explain your interest in this topic and a brief work history with details about your copyediting experience.

John Hogan is a freelance writer, editor, and copy editor. He began working as a copy editor in 1994, and since then, he has worked for a diverse range of publications, including TV Guide, Mental Floss, Seventeen, The Knot, Fitness, Midrange Computing, and several others. He was also formerly the editor-in-chief of Pages magazine and has worked as a ghostwriter. He lives in New York City.

  • "I highly recommend John Hogan's course. Every session was well prepared with Power Point presentations and his own commentary on advanced grammar. He explained some very thorny problems clearly and concisely. The class was given every opportunity to ask questions, both in class and through the website. His manner is pleasant and helpful. I felt as if I was a valued member of his class. He is deeply knowledgeable about his subject and succeeds in communicating his respect and love for the English language. I enjoyed his class very much indeed and came away with deeper knowledge and understanding."

    Caroline Carter