Testimonials

Appreciations received

You have singlehandedly put together what amounts to an entire university department!

Katharine O’Moore-Klopf, ELS
Consulting medical editor
http://www.kokedit.com/

 

Dr. Venkat, your site is the first place I've found that seems to honor the actual work it takes for truly great editing. Thank you! Reading through your explanations and documents is more edifying than I could hope.

Gina A, 17 June 2019
Freelance writer–editor
Littleton, CO, United States 

 

Review of Essentials of Written English

My key takeaways from the course are as follows:

  1. The course is quite structured with terse and clearly laid-out rules, broadly classified under the categories: Words and Sentences, Grammar and Syntax, Punctuation, and Beyond Grammar. This classification enables a quick recall of a specific rule when needed. That is a huge plus for me: the structured manner in which the curriculum has been put together. The live editing exercise at the end lends you an opportunity to utilise all the knowledge you have acquired over the course of 20–30 hours.
  2. My second takeaway from the course was the simplified meaning of jargon such as prepositional phrases, coordinating conjunctions, phrasal verbs, false possessives, appositives, independent and dependent clauses among others. Thanks to the course, I now have a list that I put together just so I can have it all in one place; it is like a reference document for me. 
  3. The session on subject-verb agreement was, for me, mostly a practice in reviewing what I already knew and had been following. But, that too, I think is imperative: a brushing up on what you already know. It made me feel self-assured.
  4. I was particularly fond of the session on restrictive and non-restrictive clauses. I have to admit, it did appear quite tricky and confusing at the beginning. In fact, I knew that it was going to take really long for me to understand it and put into practice. However, I kept at it because it was very mind-boggling and eye-opening for me. I think I have started to view sentences with those editorial filters now; that is a good start. I read this somewhere: what you lack in natural ability, you make it up in practice. I think that is what I am trying to do here.
  5. This course has, quite surprisingly, boosted my confidence but it has also humbled me in a way. It took me back to my school days when I was too vain: I never studied for the paper on grammar because I was mostly brilliant with language; it came from reading good English at a very young age. Thus, I became accustomed to speaking and writing correct English and never felt the need to invest any time in learning. Looking back, I think that was a mistake; I should have taken my grammar lessons seriously. Those lessons help you know the why of the spoken/written word. As a child and even as an adult, I have mostly known the correct answer to a grammatical error but rarely known the rule. This course has helped me make up for that loss.

I know that I am going to take several years to actually be able to implement whatever I have been taught. But the fact that today, when I pick up a book and observe how and why the serial comma has been used somewhere, or that a comma has been inserted before a coordinating conjunction that separates two independent clauses, is telling. It is exciting to know that I have started to observe how we break sentences and add commas unnecessarily because the mind processes information in chunks.

Lastly, I have always wondered why one would refer to it as The 'Art' of Copyediting when there are solid rules that dictate usage and construction; I would often wonder: isn't it a science more than an art? But, I would like to believe that the course helped me come one step closer to an answer: we are using all the elements of language to create symphony, coherence, meaning (both lexical and visual), memory and such depth in the experience of the reader that the words must appear to flow in form rather than feel tied and bound in structure. The intent is to make it seem effortless. That is probably why it is an art.

Garima Syal, 30 May 2021
Email: [email protected]

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The course Essentials of Written English has been a lifesaver for me. As a proofreader and copyeditor, I’ve been constantly questioning myself and my editor friends about the correct use of commas, em dashes, en dashes, and other nuances of the English language. The Essentials course basically helped me comprehend the editing process and structure my thoughts and ideas in a better manner. Here are my takeaways from the course:

  1. I now understand the connections between the principles: Each principle leads to the next one and is neatly structured in terms of complexity, going from less complex to more complex ones. So, if you’ve learned the first principle, you would find it easy to understand the second principle; if you’ve learned the second principle, you would be able to understand the third one; and so on. Dr. Venkat says that over 200 principles are condensed in these 14 rules. Just imagine the power of these connections and the level of mastery one can attain by mulling through and practicing these principles after completing the course!
  2. I am now able to appreciate the nuances of the English language: Even the most intricate details are explained so beautifully through examples and snippets that I was able to appreciate afresh the nuances of the English language. When I look back, I realize that I actually enjoyed the learning process.
  3. I didn’t have to look any further: This course is comprehensive and completely self-contained. Dr. Venkat explains every point in such great detail that there was no need for me to look anywhere else for clarification. In fact, after having completed the course, I’m now able to understand different concepts well, identify my mistakes, and even understand different style preferences. My understanding of the use of commas, em dashes, and en dashes have improved greatly. Even my perception of sentences, the way I look at them and examine them (which we do almost unconsciously), has changed so much for the better.
  4. I got my money’s worth: The Essentials course is worth every penny. The value offered by the course far outweighs the cost. At the end of the day, you’ll be glad that you invested in such an invaluable course taught by the Master himself.

Vidya Ravi, 20 April 2021
New Delhi, India
Email: [email protected]

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I completed the course Styling Journal Manuscript Elements to Perfection in December 2020. I had long wanted to learn the nuances of manuscript styling, and this course did a great job of demystifying this rather intimidating part of academic editing for me.

I got to take a deep dive into the various principles of document styling, right from correctly identifying an element to knowing how it may be set in different ways based on context. In this regard, I found the modules on notes and extracts particularly useful. Also, an entire module devoted to article titles left me delighted and satiated as a learner.

I recommend this excellent course for multiple reasons. For one, it not only builds a strong theoretical foundation but also teaches one how to apply those principles in real time. The lectures are unhurried, the explanations thorough. Dr Venkat goes over each concept in detail and links it to a real-life scenario, which makes it easier for one to grasp and retain the concept. In addition, he urges one not be to intimidated by complex styling tasks but to handle them using logic (and common sense). This is especially helpful in getting a grip on tricky elements such as abstracts, affiliations and title-page footnotes.

I was always on the lookout for good, credible courses from veteran Indian editors; with this course I got to learn from one of the best. And that I got to do it at my own pace made all the difference.

Look forward to learning more from you, Venkat Sir.

Neetu Ralhan, 2 March 2021
Freelance Nonfiction Editor
http://linkedin.com/in/neeturalhanbookeditor

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With absolutely no formal training in copy editing there was a lot I was not aware of about the essentials of copy editing. The course was a godsent opportunity for someone like me who needed a professional copy editing course and wanted to upskill to meet current publishing-industry standards.

From grammar to sentence structure to punctuation, the course was an eye opener.

As a fiction editor, the sessions on the serial comma, em and en dash, keeping related words together, subject–verb agreement and basic differences between British and American English were especially informative.

The course is well planned and Dr Venkataraman Anantharaman is an excellent instructor. It was an inspiration learning from him. The techniques and strategies taught were easy to grasp and insightful.

This course has helped me become not only a better editor but also a better writer. I enjoyed taking this course and would definitely recommend it to all freshers as well as those experienced but uncertified editors who struggle with the basics.

Nirja Sharma, 12 February 2021

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I am happy to have completed the course Essentials of Written English, and it has been an extremely enriching experience. I found this course useful in improving grammar as well as gaining basic knowledge on sentence construction and analysis. Each rule is explained in much detail, which helps in understanding the core concept. The examples used to explain all the rules and the list of catchwords provided makes it easy to follow the rule. The tips and tricks discussed over the course topics are very helpful.

Topics like parallelism and restrictive and nonrestrictive elements are covered in great detail which help us analyse the sentence and understand the nuances of language, beyond grammar rules.

Dr. Venkat’s detailed answers and discussions on various subjects are interesting and bring great clarity to the subject.

Manisha Upare, 15 January 2021
Email: [email protected]

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Thank you for being a remarkable teacher and I am very grateful to have you as a teacher. I did not undergo an extensive language training until I joined your course “Essentials of Written English.” Your explanations were clear and they were easy to understand. Thank you for introducing me to the “questioning method.” I have used this method and got answers while editing. This course has introduced me to many things that I should consider while editing. I have learned so much from you through this course and I look forward to learning more.

Devi Gopalakrishnan, 3 June 2020
Chennai, India

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I can see that you have put enormous time and thought into the training, and everything that you covered in the sample content you shared with me mirrors exactly the type of training we have been doing for editors internally for the past few years. I can see immense value for individuals trying to learn the fundamentals of the trade and for corporates that don't have the capacity to train copyeditors quickly enough after they join.

Jason Pearce, 2 April 2019
Previously Head of Prepress & Systems, Oxford University Press, London
Now President, Strategic Technology, Newgen KnowledgeWorks, Chennai, India

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I must admit that these sessions have been truly beneficial to me as a copyeditor. I haven’t had any formal training in editing prior to this, and so I can say that this has opened a whole new world of learning for me. I would love to be a part of online sessions conducted by you in future as well. I felt that you are not just an excellent editor, but a wonderful teacher as well, because many a times we might be very knowledgeable, but to transfer that knowledge to someone with accuracy is also not easy. It requires much insight. Being a teacher, I can very well understand this. Frankly speaking, I had little clarity on the use of the colon, semicolon, and dash prior to this class, but it is quite clear now. And the methodology used to edit a sentence was also not known to me. I was unaware of the fact that there is so much technique behind it. However, my belief that editing is all about logic got reiterated. And many such notions got reassured. The moment I see a colon or a semicolon in a sentence, I can very easily connect and apply what I learned from you. There were so many minute things you brought our attention to during the entire course.

In fact, I would like to share with you that after taking the course, whenever I read any book, I am now able to see it in a new light and understand it much better than I used to earlier. Thank you!

Look forward to learning more from you!

Palak Asnani
Ghaziabad, India

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I attended Dr Venkat’s Basic Course on Writing/Editing (June 2017–January 2018). I have to say the experience was illuminating and humbling: the former because it brought to light errors that are common but usually unrecognized, and the latter because it made me realize that though I am a native English speaker, there were flaws in my grammar. Fortunately, Dr Venkat helped to iron these out.

Dr Venkat’s delivery in interesting and his passion for the language comes through in each session. He answers questions with precision, clarity and patience. I highly recommend this course as a refresher for all those who have been away from the formal study of English for some time, including those who, like myself, consider themselves pros at the language!

Neena Thomas
Haryana, India

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The basic language training classes happened at a very opportune moment for me when I was searching eagerly for training in copyediting. A big thanks for making it an online training program, having it on Sundays, and making it affordable.

Lack of formal training had been bothering me in my work as a copyeditor, and the classes have given me the much-needed confidence boost. The classes were so well organized into points and each one discussed in detail; using many examples to elucidate each point made it much easier to comprehend the differences between different scenarios; and connecting a rule to other relevant rules was very effective in helping to grasp certain concepts much better than before.

I enjoyed each session as sentence structure became clearer. Although I should not play favorites, I loved the session on introductory phrases; the ones on the colon, semicolon, and dashes come next. Of course, I would feel guilty if I do not mention the one on prepositions or the explanation about appositives. But then, each session had something new to be learned.

In all, a reorganization of the thought process has occurred and my outlook on the structure of a sentence has undergone a revision. Sometimes, there are “Eureka!” moments when, prompted by the “rules” learned from the training, I spot an error that might have slipped by in the past!

But I realize, as you have often pointed out, that we have all got just a glimpse of the tip of the iceberg and that there is so much more that needs to be learned. This prospect is at once exhilarating and daunting. I hope that just like on this occasion circumstances come together to make it possible for me to learn more sometime in the future.

I would also like to wish you once again the very best in this new venture, and I hope many more editors blossom under your tutelage.

Chandra
Chennai, India

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