FAQs – General

Q.  How do you edit papers?
I have developed a clear, detailed and thorough method of editing that is very easy to follow.  Most questions/issues are addressed within the text.  If necessary, I call you or email you to clarify various points or double-check your requirements.  When you review the paper it will be ready to submit.  On occasion several drafts are sent back and forth before the paper is complete.

Editing can be done in Word Track Changes (TRK), which highlights all deletions and revisions in color and and I use the Word ‘Comments’ feature as needed.

I do not edit papers with students in person as it is not a verbal or social process.

See ‘Payment Options’ for information on how you can pay me.

Q.  What kind of editing do you do?
My intention is for your paper to articulate its facts, ideas and arguments clearly and comprehensibly; to flow easily and logically; to be error-free; to conform to style guidelines when specified; and in some cases, to be of publishable or exceptional quality.  Essentially, I raise the original up a level or two.  Many papers require substantive editing, which looks at organization, content, paragraph transitions, and the development of ideas as well as grammar, vocabulary, flow, and clarity.   Rewriting occurs when material is poorly written, awkward, or unclear. Sentences will be reworded and paragraphs may need to be reconstructed. Although I retain as much of your original wording as possible without compromising quality, papers often require rewriting as well as editing. Papers that are very well-written and developed or simple and straightforward tend to only need copy editing for grammar, vocabulary, flow, and clarity, primarily at the sentence-by-sentence level.

Q.  What is the difference between proofreading and editing?
Proofreading comes after editing and entails correcting minor typing, grammar, punctuation and style errors as well as checking for details like Canadian versus American spelling or proper hyphenation.  I proofread your paper after editing it and recommend that you do a final proofing yourself, preferably on hard copy.

Q: How do you work as a writing coach?

I meet with you to help you to understand and analyze your reading materials, develop your ideas and arguments, organize your outline, and map your content. My office is in my home, which is in Vancouver close to Burnaby and just minutes away from the Renfrew skytrain station; I do not meet with students at college or university or travel to students’ homes.  I can also coach you by phone or through online communication.

Q.  How much does it cost to edit a paper written by a native speaker or non-native speaker with an adequate command of academic English?

A VERY WELL written 10-page paper takes about two hours to edit. However, it is rare for me to receive work this well done.  Most of the papers I receive require a fair to extensive number of changes.  A FAIRLY WELL written 10-page paper will take me about four hours on average, which allows for quite a lot of changes.  If your writing is below average or particularly problematic (i.e. convoluted, unclear or disorganized), I can spend double that time. Obviously, the better the work is, the faster the editing goes. In addition, editing time also reflects the density of a paper’s content and the complexity of the writer’s analysis.

Q.  How much does it cost to edit a paper for a non-native English speaker with a poor command of English?

These papers often require a lot of work in terms of grammar, sentence structure, paragraphing, style, vocabulary, clarity, and flow. Many sentences will likely need to be completely rewritten. If the writer struggles with reading comprehension it creates problems with clarity and accuracy.  Meanings are often unclear and I have to give several alternative wordings or discuss various points with you.

A straightforward 10-page marketing report may take me half an hour per page, but many papers written by non-native speakers with poor English writing skills take ¾ to one hour per double spaced page. This is particularly the case for Philosophy, History, and Literature, as well as courses which draw heavily upon theory, such as Communications and Sociology. If I need to do research or reference your materials, it adds on additional time.

Q.  What do the total charges include?
In addition to the time spent editing or reviewing your paper on my own, I charge for time spent doing corrections or clarifying points on the phone. Time spent reading material for your assignments (which is sometimes necessary to prepare for coaching or requested prior to editing) is also charged. Generally I prefer not to study students’ materials before I edit a paper because it takes considerable time and I basically consider it to be your job; tutoring is available to help you understand your materials.

Time is also charged for on-line tutoring, which can involve exploring topic or thesis ideas with you via email, reviewing my files in order to find ideas or examples for you, doing research, and making notes or outlines. Furthermore, I may have to take into account time spent downloading, faxing, filing or rescheduling your work if it proves to be substantial.

Q.  How much notice do you need to book an appointment or editing space?
My schedule is flexible. Students I work with on an on-going basis give me their due dates and paper lengths right at the start of term, and I make sure to find time for them.  I only meet with students on certain days of the week, usually in the afternoon or early evening and it is best to allow five days to a week for arranging a meeting.

My availability for editing varies. I have an assistant and can often find space for you with just a few days notice; rush service is sometimes available. At the busy times of term it is best to get your paper to me early.

Q.  How much time do you need to edit a paper? 
This varies by my workload, my deadlines, and the amount of work your paper requires. Generally, I need three days for a 12-15 page paper, two days for a 6-11 page paper, and one day for five pages or less. More time is usually better, especially when we need to discuss some of the revisions and corrections. These turnaround times are only an estimate.

Q.  How much time do you need to edit a thesis, dissertation, or lengthy papers?
Although I have edited a 70-page thesis in four days, I often begin working on these projects with students a month or more before their due date. Several edits (or one substantive edit and a final proofread) are commonly involved.

Academic articles for publication (20 to 40 pages) usually take between two and five days; a quicker turnaround time may be possible if I am given adequate notice.

Q.  Is there a fee for canceling appointments or not sending my paper on time?

If you want to cancel an appointment, it is courteous to give me 24 hours notice.  If I have made a firm commitment of time to you and you deliver late, I may choose not to book work for you in advance again.  If I can still edit the paper, you may have to pay rush rate.  Students who are unable to commit to getting a paper in to me at a certain time can always just check in with me whey they are done and see if I’m available.

Q.  What grades will I get?
My students see an average grade improvement of one to two grade points, although there is no guarantee as some teachers reward good writing better than others and grading is very subjective; what is a B to one teacher is A to another. First language speakers (or non-native speakers with a strong command of English) who are dedicated to their studies tend to achieve the grade they aspire towards with my help; I work with many A students.

You are responsible for the content of your paper, which includes attention to classroom instruction, reading, research, understanding your materials, and allowing adequate time to do your work. I do on occasion reference students’ materials or do research to clarify points or add missing content.  Keep in that that great editing cannot alone transform a hastily written paper that is thin in content into a masterpiece.

An A or A+ grade can be very difficult to achieve. It usually requires that you have fully understood all the course materials and conducted your research thoroughly, and often you must express an unusual or exceptionally bright insight.

See the section on ‘Keys to Improving Your Essays” for additional tips.

Samples of A and A+ papers are provided under ‘Editing Samples’.

Note for students taking college English and Academic Writing classes:
These courses are very demanding in terms of the reading required, the number of assignments, and the format of the assignments.  I have a lot of experience with them and know what is required for you to get the best grade possible; in recent terms several of my students taking these courses have received A/A- for their final grade.  I will maintain a commitment to you for the duration of your course/courses, which means helping you to understand your materials, explore ideas, develop outlines, edit out-of-class essays, and prepare for in-class essays.