Proofreading & Editing

PROOFREADING & EDITING: Where you correct for grammar, logic, and tone

Proofreading & Editing: Are they the same?  No.

Proofreading focuses on correcting superficial errors in spelling, grammar, syntax, punctuation, and formatting. Therefore, it normally occurs at the end of the writing process as a final step before submitting a paper which is otherwise ready to be published.

On the other hand, editing takes a deeper look at how information and ideas are presented. While editing includes all steps involved in proofreading, the focus is on making changes that make an article easier to understand, better organized, and more suitable for the audience. Because editing is an essential part of formulating a research argument, it occurs multiple times throughout the writing process.

More on editing.  There are 3 different levels of editing:

Level 1 – Proofreading
Editors will check grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, verb-tense consistency, pronouns, spacing, and formatting consistency. Don’t expect editors to make radical changes to your sentences or words because those services fall under the next level of copy editing. You can read more about proofreading here.

Level 2 – Copyediting
This is the most common interpretation of copy editing. In addition to the proofreading services in Level 1, copy editing focuses on the “five Cs” – writing that is clear, correct, concise, complete, and consistent. Editors will adjust sentence and paragraph structure, eliminate redundant words, replace repetitive words with synonyms, and substitute weak words, phrases, and sentences with powerful alternatives. Experienced editors will ensure your original tone remains intact. You can expect noticeable change to your original document and should be prepared to review the changes to ensure you are happy with them.

Professional editors will use a revision-tracking system, such as Microsoft Word’s Track Changes feature, so you can see changes and quickly accept or reject them with the click of a button.

Level 3 – Substantive editing (also known as Line editing)
Editors will rewrite major portions of your document if this type of copy editing is requested. Most people who need this service need help writing the paper, not just editing. Level 3 is essentially developmental editing in that the editor rewrites your document with the intent of educating you on how to better write. Expect your work to change substantively. New content will be added if the editor feels arguments made in the body of the paper lack substance or need support. New references, citations, and research may also be added.

Substantive editing is time-consuming and expensive. It also demands extra time from the original author to ensure the editor’s changes hasn’t altered the intent or tone of the paper. Rewrites are often prone to the loss of the author’s original voice. It often takes multiple revisions to get everything right.

Plan your schedule and budget accordingly if this is the level of service you need.

1. The Society for Editing or ACES.  ACES from Wikipedia.  
2. American Cinema Editors.
3. American Copy Editors Society.  
4. American Society of Business Publication Editors.
5. American Society of News Editors.  
6. Council of Science Editors.
7. Society for Editors & Proofreaders, SFEP, UK.  
8. Society of American Business Editors & Writers, SABEW
9.  Goals of the proofreader.  More here by Louise Harnby.  I like what she says here:

It’s not my book, it’s not my story, it’s not my voice, they’re not my characters, and I didn’t build that world! All those things belong to you, so any suggested recasts or direct amendments need to read as if you made them – they need to sound authentic to the reader’s ear.

If the reader can identify where I intervened, there’s a problem.
One of my clients recently told me, ‘You tightened up some spots that I just could not get right myself—but you put them right—and it still sounds like my voice as the author!’

That’s how I want every one of my authors to feel.

10.  Proofread Anywhere:  5 Successful tips.
11.  New Hart’s Rules: Handbook of Style for Writers, R.M. Ritter, 2005.

1. Intelligent Editing.
2.  StyleWriter.
3.  Kissmetrics.  A blog about analytics, marketing, and testing.
4.  Content Mavericks.  
5.  John Espirian.
6.  Word N Sync.
7.  Nice collection of tools.
9.  The competition: AJE, American Journal Experts.  

Track Changes and All Markup 1-trackchanges-all-markup-100537247-large

In Microsoft Word 2013, choose All Markup to see every contributor’s changes.  For a review of the features, check this out.  

What’s the average cost of Editing & Proofreading services?  Miranda Marquit offers her input:

According to the Writer’s Market, the average for proofreading is $3 per page, for copy editing $4 per page, and for content editing you can expect to charge around $7.50 per page.


1. Penguin Guide to Punctuation, R. L. Trask, 2004.
2.  The University of Sussex.

1. Register.   4 Types of Register: Familiar, Informal, Formal, & Ceremonial.  More on Register.

1.  Editing Basics.

1.  3T Editing.  This is a paid editing service.
2.  ProofHQ.

On my editing services, a graduate student claimed “Great turn-around time.”

On my resume writing services, a medical student from China wrote “My English friends really like your resume.  Thank U.”