Writing Strategies

Basic Copy Editing

Another writing strategy I intend to use is basic copy editing. This method helped me enormously as a working writer, and I believe students would greatly benefit as well.

I would begin by providing examples from newspapers, trade books, students’ own textbooks, magazines, advertisements. I might start with this example, from an article I was assigned to edit some years ago: “At the time, there was no one who didn’t think that Colin Powell wasn’t going to get some stars on his shoulders.”

The students, with guidance, should be able to see that all the negatives in that sentence interfere with the meaning. This sentence also will be useful in showing that a sentence does not necessarily have to be too long or wordy to be confusing.

I would ask students to begin looking for and bringing in their own examples of sentences that they think could be improved. This will sharpen their outside reading skills and help them to begin thinking like writers.