Sean Dennis

Copy Editing Services

My Editing Style/Philosophy

I am descriptivist, not prescriptivist.

So you might be thinking, "What does that mean? Are those even real words?"

I can be the grammar wonk you seek, and ensure your content matches AP, Chicago, MLA, or APA style as well as any corporate style sheet that is in play. If you like, I'll mend those split infinitives, rescue those stranded prepositions, etc. That's being prescriptivist.

However, effective communication involves an agreement, usually tacit, between two or more parties about the meaning of words, phrases, sentences — a shared worldview. Of course, that agreement isn't found in any dictionary. So I tend to have a gentle touch as a copy editor. I am more concerned with preserving your voice, and in meeting the needs and expectations of your audience. That's being descriptivist.

In real-life conversations, even the most effective communicators sometimes start sentences with "There are..." and trot out tired clichés or do any number of things that would make pedantic editors reach for their inhalers. On the flip side, some folks try way too hard to sound authoritative and ultimately come across as boring. One thing is certain—boring doesn't sell ideas or books.

That said, your manuscript will be properly punctuated with no spelling errors or sketchy syntax.

Please note that extensive restructuring or rewriting of your manuscript is not always part of this process. Minor rewrites are no big deal. But contributing significant amounts of new content gets into the realm of ghostwriting or coauthoring. Those are quoted on a case-by-base basis, depending on the content type, deadlines involved, and other factors.

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Editing Rates


Punctuation, spelling, capitalization, applying styles such as AP or APA.

$.013 per word.

Copy editing

Proofreading plus grammar and rules-based light sentence rewrites as needed.

$.018 per word.

Line editing

Copy editing plus word choice, sentence meaning, power, and flow within the paragraph. Often needed for ESL authors.

$.026 per word

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