Why use a copy editor?

Graduate students working to improve their writing can benefit from guidance that might include the simplest markings (for clear punctuation and grammar) to concrete (written-out) examples of how their ideas might be better stated. In my academic career, I have worked with professors and colleagues who provided both kinds of assistance. Some taught me the use of academic language by writing out stronger alternatives to my sentences (as a piano professor, for instance, might play a passage of music to show a student how she hears it), and others wrote questions or comments in the margins that led me to think further about my argument, subtleties of meaning in my ideas, and to find ways of clarifying or otherwise strengthening my expression.

I use these kinds of approaches in guiding writers. I also serve as copy editor for dissertations and other kinds of academic writing. While I do not rewrite your article, thesis, or dissertation, my editing corresponds to the following ideals:

  • engaging prose that promotes general ease of comprehension
  • convincing evidence of argument
  • clear logic of argument
  • avoidance of passive voice except in unusual cases
  • accuracy in following citation and style guidelines
  • continuity in formatting

To approach these ideals I do:

Mechanical editing: making a manuscript conform to a particular style (APA, Chicago/Turabian, MLA), including correcting for spelling, hyphenation, capitalization, punctuation, treatment of numbers, and so on.

Language editing: correcting or querying you on errors in grammar, syntax, and usage.

Content editing: correcting or querying you on errors of internal consistency, content discrepancies, and structural or organizational problems.

I have a doctorate in music (composition) and have edited music history/theory/performance, education, psychology, literature, theology, film, and LGBTQ topics for dissertations, theses, and journal articles. I also edit cover letters, teaching and research statements, and resum├ęs.

I have worked as dissertation copy editor with writers from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Seoul, London, New York, and points across the US. The entire process can take place online using the Microsoft Word Track Changes tool. If you like, contact me now at jgriffiti@gmail.com to arrange for an estimate on your current project, with no obligation.