Consultation &

Guidelines for WTS Recommended Copy Editors

1. The editor should have professional copy editing or proofreading experience and a WTS seminary education, or the equivalent. The editor must pass the WTS copy-editing test.

2. Editors should adhere to copy editing parameters on the table below. These parameters are designed to encourage the student to be responsible for the final product, to continue to learn skills needed in academic pursuits, and, in the case of the thesis, to maintain proper boundaries for the role of the thesis advisor, the student, and the copy editor. Copy editing should focus on the grammatical and formatting level and avoid comments on the content of the thesis, the development or logic of the paragraphs, or the order of presentation of ideas.

3. Editors may provide the student with guiding comments on some types of repeated errors in punctuation and mechanics rather than correct every instance. For example, if a student consistently forgets the period at the end of a citation, mark a handful of instances and request that the student correct this type of mistake throughout his paper. All random errors and all grammatical errors should be corrected.

4. Editors must be willing to make the appropriate changes in their approach to copy editing in response to feedback from the WTS faculty, by way of the CTW director, on quality of their work.

5. Editors must prepare an initial estimate for a student. The student must accept that estimate before the work begins. The estimate should be based on an actual sample from the paper to be edited, and priced so that the student pays the equivalent of approximately $25 per hour for the work.

6. Editors must be thoroughly familiar with the Format Guidelines for WTS Theses, Dissertations, and Projects and with Turabian/Chicago and SBL citation systems.

7. Use of track changes and the comment function in Word (or its equivalent in OpenOffice) is encouraged. Please avoid altering the student’s text in such a way that your suggested changes cannot be distinguished from the original text.




Grammar Errors

The copy editor should correct errors in grammar and usage. The student’s content and style should be preserved.

Typical errors by Native English speakers: subject-verb agreement, pronoun-antecedent agreement, fragments, modification, shift, slang, and informal word choice.

Typical errors by Nonnative English speakers: sentence structure, pronouns, prepositions, articles, verb tense, word order, modification, agreement, word choice.

The copy editor should not correct every instance of repeated error.

Instead, he should mark some examples and then direct the student to correct similar instances in the rest of the document (see # 5 under guidelines).


The copy editor may suggest reordering words or phrases or adding transitions to increase coherence between sentences.

The copy editor may suggest substituting words that belong to an academic register for words that belong in conversation, for example, suggest substituting “he understands” for “he gets it.”

The copy editor should avoid changes in grammar or word choice for stylistic reasons only.

The copy editor should preserve the writer’s style.

The copy editor should avoid altering the author’s choice of generic “he” or “he or she.” *


The copy editor should avoid commenting on or correcting problems with the order of ideas, logical relations between paragraphs, leaps in logic, or other logical fallacies.

If these problems interfere with the editor’s work, he should notify the CTW director.


The copy editor should not comment on content.

Citation, Mechanics, Punctuation

The copy editor should correct random errors and a representative number of repeated errors, drawing the students’ attention to the pattern.

If it is evident that the student has not consulted the formatting guidelines or required style manuals, the copy editor should notify the CTW director.