Copy Editors

Last updated December 31, 2014

"Twenty-five" or "25"? "PhD" or "Ph.D."? Being a copy editor means paying close attention to differences like these. Copy editors review text to ensure it is easy to understand and follows the publisher's style. And they make sure that the tone of the writing suits the publication’s audience, whether it's teens, scientists, or art lovers.

Copy editors also rewrite text or suggest changes, such as reordering paragraphs, to make the writing stronger. On top of all that, they correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.

Copy editors review text to make sure that it is free of errors and is clearly written. They also ensure that writing follows the publisher's style and editorial policy.

Did You Know?

Getting experience, for example, as an intern at a local newspaper, will make it easier to find a job.

Are You Ready To...?

  • Know style and grammar rules
  • Know when to break them
  • Write headlines, captions, and some content
  • Suggest revisions to strengthen writing
  • Set standards for how your organization will deal with text
  • Work in a chaotic environment and under a deadline

It Helps To Be...

Creative with a love of reading and writing and a broad range of interests. You should be able to express ideas clearly and to communicate with others in a sensitive and encouraging way. You need to be self-motivated, detail oriented, and organized.

Make High School Count

  • Make the most of your English classes. Pay attention to lessons on grammar and punctuation and to the way that articles and books are constructed.
  • Take classes in journalism, creative writing, and speech.
  • Work on your writing and editing skills on the staff of the school newspaper or yearbook.
  • Build computer skills. Learn to use desktop publishing software and to write code in HTML.

Did You Know?

Copy editors must become very familiar with reference books on writing style and keep up with changes to grammar and style rules.