Cleaning Your Copy: Grammar, Style and More

Course Overview

Cleaning Your Copy: Grammar, Style and More
Self-Directed Course
This $29.95 course is free thanks to the generous support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Time Estimate:
This course takes about one to two hours to complete.

About Self-Directed Courses

In a self-directed course, you can start and stop whenever you like, progressing entirely at your own pace and going back as many times as you want to review the material.

Mistakes in grammar, spelling and style are like coffee stains on a shirt. People notice. Readers notice. Those mistakes will eat away at your credibility as a journalist and erode readers' faith in your media organization.

How can you clean up your act? This self-directed course will help you understand the basics of grammar, spelling, punctuation and AP style. Brush up on your skills so you can create clean, error-free copy — no matter what you're writing.

What Will I Learn:

Upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify and solve grammatical problems in your copy
  • Pick the right word when choosing between tricky pairs such as "that/which," "that/who" and "who/whom"
  • Use the correct AP style for addresses, ages, money and numbers
  • Identify and correct common punctuation errors
  • Correctly spell words that are tough to get right
  • Avoid errors caused by homophone trip-ups
Who should take this course:

Writers, reporters, bloggers, visual journalists and anyone who wants to avoid typos and grammatical mistakes in their writing.

Course Instructor:

Vicki Krueger

Vicki Krueger worked with The Poynter Institute for more than 20 years in roles from editor to director of interactive learning and marketing communications manager. She is the creator of the Coffee Break Course on and the author of Cleaning Your Copy: Grammar, Style and More – a self-directed module that consistently is ranked as one of the most popular courses at NewsU. She recently joined the internal communications team at BayCare Health System, a leading non-profit health care system with more than 14 hospitals and hundreds of other inpatient and outpatient services in the Tampa Bay area and central Florida.

She worked with The Poynter Institute for more than 20 years, including work on "Best Newspaper Writing," the annual collection of the ASNE Distinguished Writing Award winners and finalists, as well as other Poynter publications. She recently completed editing "Aim for the Heart," a book by Poynter's Al Tompkins for TV reporters and producers and developed an e-learning module at NewsU to accompany the book, Reporting, Writing for TV and the Web: Aim for the Heart. You can follow her on Twitter at @vkrueger.