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Editorial Services

Jan Ryder, Ph.D.


I offer different levels of editing, depending on your needs and budget.


Proofreading (light editing):

This level of edit is best performed on a finished document ready for submission. I check the following points and correct any errors:

  • typos
  • spelling
  • punctuation
  • capitalization
  • hyphens
  • dashes
  • abbreviations
  • indents
  • number style 
  • italics
  • spacing
  • page numbers
  • citations
  • running heads and footers
  • cross-references to pages, charts, tables, maps, etc.
  • style and documentation format

I do not change wording except to correct simple errors of grammar.

Copyediting (medium editing):

This level of edit includes all the above plus attention to usage and grammar. Below is a sampling of the types of errors I look for and correct:

  • word choice (e.g., affect/effect, ambiguous/ambivalent, convince/persuade, flaunt/flout, forbear/forebear, imply/infer, lie/lay, permeate/pervade, solecism/solipsism)
  • subject/verb disagreement
  • pronoun/antecedent disagreement
  • dangling participles and misplaced modifiers
  • split infinitives
  • misused adjectives and adverbs
  • improper prepositions
  • faulty tense and mood
  • lack of parallel construction
  • mixed grammar
  • sentence fragments
  • confusion of restrictive and non-restrictive clauses
  • obvious errors of fact

At this level of edit I am not concerned with matters of style, organization, argument, or evidence.


Substantive editing (heavy editing):

In addition to the above considerations, I improve style by working to achieve a consistent tone and a clarity and flow of language. To this end I

  • smooth out awkward language
  • eliminate ambiguity, wordiness, redundancies, jargon, slang, and bias
  • change passive to active voice where appropriate
  • clarify indefinite pronouns
  • rework run-on sentences and noun strings
  • point out vague or confusing language
  • indicate where paraphrase is preferable to quotation
  • rework paragraph structure and transitions

This level of edit includes some attention to organization but not to arguments or evidence.


Structural editing (manuscript evaluation and critique):

At this level of edit I analyze the document as a whole, looking for strengths and weaknesses in organization, argument, and evidence. I consider whether

  • the document is clearly organized
  • you have an effective introduction 
  • you have a strong conclusion
  • you have a compelling hypothesis or theme
  • you have clearly stated your hypothesis or theme
  • your arguments support your hypothesis
  • your evidence supports your arguments
  • you have sufficient evidence
  • your arguments or sequence of ideas flow logically and are easy to follow
  • your assumptions are valid
  • logic, facts, and details are consistent
  • paragraphs are well structured and developed
  • you have a good balance of primary and secondary sources
  • your introduction, conclusion, arguments, and evidence are all clearly related.

I also query possible errors or omissions. At this level I am not editing for such matters as grammar, spelling, punctuation, style, or usage, which require a separate edit if you choose; this is best done after the structural editing. Also, I perform this type of editing only for documents in the humanities, arts, and social sciences.

Style editing:

I will conform a document to a particular style (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, CBE, AP, or other journal or publisher style) or to university and department guidelines for theses and dissertations. This includes but is not limited to the following considerations:

  • margins
  • typeface and font
  • spacing
  • indents
  • capitalization
  • abbreviations
  • italics
  • serial commas
  • number style
  • heading formats
  • tables
  • captions
  • pagination
  • proper sequencing of manuscript pages
  • documentation format 

These different levels of editing necessarily shade into one another, and it’s not always easy to decide where one ends and another begins. For this reason your document may receive a bit more editing than you arranged for, but never less, and at no extra charge.

I charge $44.00/hour for all levels of editing, with a discount for graduate students, adjuncts, and independent scholars at $40.00/hour. For more information, please see the Fees and Payment page.

To learn more about my services or to submit a document, please contact me at editor@myfinaldraft.com.