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Editors' Association of Canada

Professional Editorial Standards:
D. Standards for Copy Editing

Copy editing is editing to ensure correctness, consistency, accuracy, and completeness.

A professional copy editor requires a mastery of Part A: The Fundamentals of Editing and meets the following standards.


D1 Understand the rules of grammar in written English and correct errors (e.g., lack of subject-verb agreement, misplaced modifiers, incorrect pronoun case).

D2 Understand the principles of punctuation and correct errors (e.g., comma splices, misplaced colons, incorrect apostrophes).

D3 Correct errors in spelling (e.g., typographical errors, errors arising from homonyms and similar-sounding words).

D4 Correct errors in usage (e.g., words commonly confused, such as imply/infer; incorrect idioms and phrases, such as centres around).


D5 Identify and consistently apply categories of editorial style (e.g., abbreviations, measurements, treatment of numbers, Canadian/British/American spelling).

D6 Develop a style sheet, or follow one that is provided, to track editorial style and apply it consistently.

D7 Understand the different editorial styles for citing sources (e.g., APA, Chicago) and consistently apply a style appropriate to the material.

D8 Identify and either correct or query inconsistencies in logic, factual details, and cross-references.

D9 Ensure that all tables, photos, multimedia, and other visual elements are consistent with surrounding text and are consistently presented (e.g., headings, captions, numbering).

D10 Understand the issues related to using other languages, especially French, in an English context (e.g., capitalization, italicization, accented characters) and edit for consistency.


D11 Identify and either correct or query items that should be checked for accuracy (e.g., names of people and places, titles, quotations, web links).

D12 Identify and either correct or query errors in material containing statistics, mathematics, and numerals (e.g., incorrect imperial/metric conversions, incorrect totals in tables).

D13 Ensure that material is complete and, as appropriate, query or supply missing elements (e.g., captions and headings, web links, phone numbers, addresses).

D14 Recognize and flag places where citations are needed (e.g., quotations without a source, unsupported generalizations in academic work, tables that require a data source).

D15 Recognize elements that require copyright acknowledgement and permission to reproduce (e.g., quotations, multimedia, photos). If necessary, prepare acknowledgements and obtain permissions or bring the matter to the attention of the appropriate person.


D16 When working on paper copy, mark clearly and use standard copy editing marks unless another system has been agreed upon. When working on electronic copy, use an agreed-upon markup system (e.g., track changes, PDF markup tools).

D17 Use judgment about when to query the author or other appropriate person and when to resolve problems without consultation.

D18 Write clear, coherent, and diplomatic queries and notes for the appropriate person (e.g., author, client, other team members).