Substantive and Copy Editing Workshop

From Organization and Persuasion to Commas and Clarity

Length and Cost


Virtual Workshops

Duration and Scheduling: Three 2-hour sessions
Instructor and Materials Fee: $900
Registration Fee Per Participant: $450


On-Site Workshops

Duration: One 6-hour session
Instructor and Materials Fee: $900
Registration Fee Per Participant: $450


Virtual Workshops During COVID-19

Currently, we are only offering virtual workshops due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To check on the status of on-site workshop options, or for any other questions, please email program director Jessica McCaughey at [email protected].



Substantive editing (also known as comprehensive, developmental and/or structural editing), is the process of assessing and improving a document at the highest level, including issues of organization, structure, argument, scope, audience, genre and style. Copyediting is considered sentence-level editing, which includes, among other tasks, editing for consistency, clarity and correctness, as well as readability and accessibility. Rooted in rhetorical principles that apply across industries, this workshop teaches strategies and ways of thinking for each.



In this workshop, participants will learn to:

  • Understand the differences and key tasks involved in substantive or comprehensive editing, copyediting and proofreading
  • Approach new texts (their own or the writing of others) with an eye toward, first, high-level concerns before shifting to sentence-level clarity and effectiveness
  • Identify and assess the structure, organization and argument of a document
  • Better implement effective editing processes that allow not just for better mechanics, but also more readable, clear and effective texts overall
  • Identify common errors and issues in grammar, punctuation and clarity at the sentence level
  • Consider the process of providing feedback to other workplace writers as an opportunity to teach, rather than simply “correct” — and learn how to do so
  • Evaluate and make suggestions for better editing practices across their team and organization


To schedule a workshop or for more information, please contact [email protected] or complete the GW Workplace Writing Inquiry Form.