Editing I (Editing and Proofreading)

Improve your editing and proofreading skills, learn to assess manuscripts, and mark up like the pros with this introductory course. Excellent for writers and new editors alike.

Course CodeBWR106
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Become a Professional Editor or Proofreader!

Good editors are always in demand, and with greater access to the internet, today's editors can often work from anywhere in the world.

Editors do more than add commas and correct spelling mistakes. They work to improve readability, clarify messaging, and create better material, from white papers and pitch decks to novels and textbooks.

The best editors:

  • are good communicators
  • love language
  • enjoy polishing and revising existing work
  • are detail-oriented
This course provides a solid foundation for working as a freelance editor or proofreader. You will learn:

  • to identify different types of errors and areas for improvement
  • the basics of manuscript assessment
  • how to revise and polish existing copy to a high standard
What Our Students are saying about this course:

"[Marked work] comes back quickly and the comments are helpful and detailed if necessary. The course is very valuable, as it makes me more accustomed to communicating electronically, which is how everything is done these days. I’m really enjoying this course. I have a really unpredictable schedule, so I never really took to other avenues of study. With this course I can take my time and absorb the material at my own pace. I think it’s clever and practical. I haven’t had this much fun studying in years." Michelle de Klerk, Australia - Editing & Proofreading course.

"It took me a while but in the end it was a very useful course for my work.  I would like to really thank my tutor for all her feedback which improved my proofreading skills.  You will see the results in our 2011 catalogue." Premo Jackniacki, Australia 
"With regard to my tutors, I thought they were excellent and gave me great support."  Marlies

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Editing
    • The role and scope of editing
    • Tools for editing
    • Editing skills
    • The production process
    • An overview; who does what in publishing
  2. The Mechanics of Clear Writing
    • Spelling
    • Punctuation
    • Grammar
    • Language
    • Style
    • Tense
  3. Assessing Manuscripts
    • Readability
    • Word length
    • Structure
    • Consistencies and inaccuracies
    • The reader’s report
    • Substantive editing
    • The author’s responsibilities
    • The author/editor relationship
  4. Copy Editing I
    • What the copy editor does
    • The procedure
    • House style
    • Style sheets
  5. Copy Editing II
    • Marking up
    • Parts of a publication
    • Editing non-text material
    • Illustration.
  6. Preparing Copy for Printing
    • Type design
    • Page layout
    • Proof stages
  7. Proof Reading
    • Role
    • Procedures
    • Tips
  8. The Final Stages
    • Indexes
    • Blurbs
    • Checking final proofs

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • To gain an understanding of the role and scope of editing.
  • Explain the importance of clear, effective writing, throughout all stages of the publishing process.
  • Describe the procedure of manuscript assessment.
  • Describe the procedures used by copy editors.
  • Explain procedures used to prepare copy for printing.
  • Describe the checks and procedures used in the final stages of preparing and printing publications.

What You Will Do

  • Create a set of resource files
  • Learn to tighten text and improve clarity
  • Edit and rewrite existing texts to hone your skills
  • Use proofreading marks for corrections and layout details
  • Assess manuscripts and write a reader's report


Very few people can write high quality pieces of work "right off the cuff". In most cases, at least some "polishing" is required before the final draft is ready.

It is the editor’s role to improve the quality of the writing, whether it is their own or another person's work.

The scope of editing ranges from self-editing (where the writer examines their own writing and improves it as best they can) to professional editing (where an expert is employed by a publishing company to improve the quality of a piece of writing prior to publication).

There are many other facets of commercial publishing that require the skills of professional editors. These include:

  • Commissioning publications
  • Reviewing manuscripts
  • Overseeing manuscripts through the production process
  • Liaising with writers, publishers, printers and agents
  • Writing blurbs, captions and press releases
  • Researching and organising pictures
In smaller organisations, the editor may also be responsible for the design and publication of documents, newsletters, reports, magazines and books using desktop publishing software and equipment.

Editing involves several stages, all of which will be examined in detail during this course. In summary, they are:

  1. Reviewing the manuscript
  2. Structural (substantive) editing
  3. Copy editing
  4. Proof reading
  5. Checking proofs

What should you expect during this course?

Working through this course involves:

  • Reading study materials and additional materials
  • Interacting with tutors who themselves are qualified and experienced professionals
  • Undertaking a variety of practical tasks
  • Answering and submitting assignment questions

Example of Reading from the Course:

Style Errors - Below are errors in style due to inappropriate or poor choices of language which can lead to boring, imprecise and inaccurate writing. In some situations, they may be relevant and suitable, but they are usually best avoided:

  • Clichés – over-used phrases e.g. bed of roses
  • Vogue words and trendy expressions - e.g. proactive, meaningful dialogue, flavour of the month
  • Colloquialisms in formal writing
  • Parochialisms in documents intended for a wide audience
  • Jargon in documents intended for a general audience
  • Euphemisms - e.g. pass away, upwardly mobile
  • Overstatements - e.g. fabulous, incredible, fantastic, amazing
  • Archaic words - e.g. herewith, thereby, hereinafter
  • Sexist terms - e.g. man made, nurseryman, waitress
  • Tautologies - e.g. totally unique, completely empty
  • Unnecessary use of foreign words and phrases
  • Ambiguity

Who can benefit from taking this course?

Freelance writers seeking to offer editorial services to their existing clients, or bring in new business.

In house agency designers or writers across a variety of B2B and B2C companies. Improving readability scoring and general grammar and punctuation helps staff create better material, from white papers and pitch decks to client-side briefs and press releases.

Existing editors wanting to improve their skill set or upskill from proofreading and line edits to copy and style editing.

Students at a secondary or tertiary level wanting to improve their writing and editing to achieve better grades.

Any writer looking to improve their work.

At the end of this course you will:

  • Understand how to identify different types of errors and areas for improvement
  • Understand the different types of editing, with a focus on copyediting and creating stylesheets
  • Understand how to properly assess manuscripts, whether for yourself or a client
  • Know how to revise and polish existing copy to a high standard


Next steps:


Want something more in depth? Learn about our certificates and higher qualifications in Journalism and Writing here.

  • FLEXIBILITY – Study in your own home and at your own pace.
  • TUTORS – Learn from real editors -We publish ebooks and web pages on a regular basis; and many of our staff work on freelance projects for publishers outside of the school. Our tutors are highly qualified, experienced and up to date with the publishing industry -more than just teachers.
  • STAFF – Our administrative and office support are accessible to ease your learning plan and support you all the way. Replying to our students is always top priority!
  • VALUE – Our courses offer excellent value – compare our cost per study hour.
  • HISTORY – Established in 1979. We are an independent, successful distance learning college. Our longevity says it all – we are an excellent and experienced distance learning college!
  • STUDY RESOURCES – All students have access to our online library, student room and other study resources.
  • LEARNING METHODS – We offer three methods of learning – e-learning, online and traditional correspondence. Choose the method that works best for you. 
  • GRADUATES - Tens of thousands of graduates from all around the world, have gone on to successful careers.

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John Mason

Writer, Manager, Teacher and Businessman with over 40 years interenational experience covering Education, Publishing, Leisure Management, Education, and Horticulture. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner. J
Jacinda Cole

Former operations manager for highly reputable Landscape firm, The Chelsea Gardener, before starting his own firm. Gavin has over 20 years of industry experience in Psychology, Landscaping, Publishing, Writing and Education. Gavin has a B.Sc., Psych.Cert.
Tracey Jones

Widely published author, Psychologist, Manager and Lecturer. Over 10 years working with ACS and 25 years of industry experience. Qualifications include: B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Lear
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