Academic services

If you are writing a thesis, essay, or academic article The Public Sentence can take the pain out of formatting, proofing, and minor editing.

Is it US or U.S. or United States? Principal or principle? Is it commonwealth or Commonwealth, western or Western? What about al Qaeda, al-Qaeda, Al Qaiida or Al-Qaeda? When and how do I use an em dash and not a hyphen? What about commas, colons, and semi-colons? And where, oh where, have all the apostrophes gone?

We’re good friends with Kate Turabian, we love the APA, and we wish we’d studied at Harvard. And if you know what all that means then you probably don’t need our help. But if you just need someone to get those words in order and work out whether the final period goes inside or outside the quotation marks, then give us a call. And if Microsoft Word feels more like an enemy than a friend, then we can help you get better acquainted. Ditto with Endnote.

Within the limits of academic integrity (including, where relevant, your supervisor’s permission) we’ll make suggestions and help you get that piece of writing just write. Sorry, ‘right’.

What will it cost you?
Alas, maybe more than you expect! You need to be realistic about the time you would put into your work if you did it yourself—not to mention the problems you’d miss because you are so familiar with your own material. It’s also important to realise that proofing almost always finishes up as minor editing. Unfortunately, people often tend to be optimistic about how much work there is to be done. One person, surprised at a higher-than-expected quote, said, “I guess I was doing some quotes in my head based on how many errors might remain, as opposed to how much work might be involved in finding them.” Remember: even if there are no errors at all in your thesis, it still takes a long time to read 50–100,000 words carefully.

What we can promise is that The Public Sentence will only charge for the work we do and at an agreed rate. You’d like an estimate? Fine, here are some ballpark figures:

  • We notionally charge $66 an hour (includes GST) but you will normally pay per 1000 words. It works like this:
  • If you really only want proofreading and you’re confident that you’ve read your style guide and got it all right, then proofing will probably be close to 3000 words an hour. But it’s more usual for things to slow down a bit as we hit inconsistencies or formatting problems or footnote and citation glitches. If that’s the case and you want us to help, then …
  • Minor editing/suggestions plus proofing is likely to be at about 2000 words per hour.
  • We’ll quote you by the size of your document after having a look at its current state. Send us a page for a free quotation.
  • Having said all that, you can see the writing on the wall, can’t you? A PhD is probably going to cost you anywhere between $1500 and $3500 to format, proofread and edit properly. Perhaps it’s time to enquire about an allowance or grant to help with these costs?

Big project? Please read this!
Early in a big writing project it’s much easier to get things right rather than having to tidy it up later. So …

  • If you are working on a long document (or chapters of a thesis) and you aren’t very familiar with Microsoft Word’s styles and headings and formatting functions, then please talk to us now—not down the track when you’ve done lots of work that has to be reformatted. When you know how to use formatting, Word is your best friend. But if you are manually formatting paragraphs and headings and line breaks then you are setting yourself up for difficulties when it comes time for submission.
  • If you are writing a long thesis and you already have some of your work in almost final form, why not let us have a quick look at it now? That way, you can sort out the repetitive errors that have to be changed throughout your work and you can stop making the same mistakes in later work. An example: if you are writing about the United States and using Chicago style, did you know that U.S. takes periods and is only used as an adjective and the noun is always spelled out in full as United States? Or that you can change final punctuation in a direct quotation? Save yourself the trouble and get it right from the beginning.
  • Give yourself time; get good advice now, not near the submission date. Feel free to write to us; send us a page of your work and we’ll get back to you with complimentary advice (that’s free, gratis, sin costo, etc.).
  • We have prepared some documents that may help you, but remember that they contain our advice on such matters and we can’t be held responsible for what you do with that advice. Here are the links for Word downloads:

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