proof read or copy edit?

What's proofreading?

Proofreading is the final quality check before something is published. It is purely intended to catch the little mistakes that have 'slipped through the net' or been introduced during the layout of a book.

It is a very useful process, but it does not highlight more significant issues which may be present if the text has not been copyedited. Due to an understandable misperception of this role, it is common for people to think they need proofreading when really they need a copyedit.


What's copyediting?

This is the step before proofreading. A few of the things it considers are:

  • spelling, punctuation and grammar
  • stylistic consistency
  • sentence and paragraph flow
  • presentation of ideas in clear, logical and consistent forms
  • areas where a gentle rewrite might enhance message and impact
  • potential legal issues
  • suitability of language for the target audience
  • setting text into different Word styles to ensure consistency.


By its nature, this type of copyediting incorporates what's sometimes referred to as line editing.

I make it a top priority to stay sensitive to each writer's voice and message and will always work closely with you to preserve and enhance your unique style – while also ensuring your message is conveyed in a way that is smooth, easy to understand and professional. Unless you instruct me otherwise, you remain in full control and make the final decisions.


And what about proofediting?

This term is gaining in popularity as publishing methods diversify. It combines proofreading and copyediting to catch the small things while also working on the more complex issues discussed in the copyediting section. It can work well for a writer who is operating outside traditional publishing circles and on a tight budget – or for shorter forms of writing, such as adverts, blogs or social media posts.