Home Copy Writing What Is The Difference Between Copy-Editing And Proofreading?

What Is The Difference Between Copy-Editing And Proofreading?


Almost every piece of writing you read from your favourite brands has undergone some form of proofreading or editing. Why? Since the digital world has become a more important part of everyday life, brands have found multiple ways and platforms to communicate with consumers online. But, what is proofreading and what is copy-editing, and how do the two correlate? We will look at the difference between proofreading and copy-editing and how you can become part of this exciting career field.

What Is The Difference Between Copy-Editing And Proofreading

Professional content writers

“Copy-Editing, Do You Copy?”

Copy-editing is simply ensuring that any piece of work is up to readable standards. There aren’t any ‘set-in-stone’ standards and rules; however, there are a few things to always note, and depending on different businesses, products and services, the copy-editing will differ. Here are some of the things that copy-editors look for when going through any piece of work:

  • Correcting spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors: This is usually the first step to editing any piece of work, depending on the brand’s tone and location, spelling and grammar will differ. For example, US English will say ‘organize’ while British English will say ‘organise’. It is a copy-editor’s job to spot these and other mistakes in the piece of writing. 
  • Revising sentences for clarity or concision: Editing a document or piece of writing may change its flow a bit, so for the sake of it being concise, a copy-editor has to do a check on that too. 
  • Checking that word choice is appropriate: This is to ensure that no derogatory, oppressive, or simply bad words slip through the cracks. Connotation is also important here as some words may have positive and negative connotations to different people. 
  • Making sure the document follows the client’s chosen style guide: This may be considered one of the most important aspects of copy-editing because it is for your clients. A copy-editor will ensure that the writer has followed all the procedures the client requested and check for the tone used. 

Becoming a copy-editor and proofreader is not difficult, thanks to the digital world. There are a lot of opportunities and skills you can learn by investing in a copy-editing course, and you can learn how to edit a document easily and quickly, spotting grammatical errors almost instantly.

The Proof Is In The Reading

Proofreading may be considered as part of the final stages of a document. It involves assessing if the initial story or brief has been met while also looking out for the final bits of what the copy-editing phase may have missed. The nice thing about investing in a copy-editing course is that proofreading almost becomes second nature and can be honed as a skill to accompany the editing part of the process. A pro-tip for proofreading is to apply almost the same protocol as copy-editing, just more on the noting side as opposed to editing the copy. Remember, by the time it gets to proof, the story is solid enough already and doesn’t need changing. So ensure that every part of the document or written piece has been edited before proofreading.

Interconnectivity In Writing

When it comes to the writing world, editing and proofreading are often the milestones most writers reach at a certain point in their careers. It becomes more of an expected career shift and allows most literature enthusiasts an opportunity to stay in the publishing industry without doing much of the writing. It is encouraged that writers invest in editing and proofreading skills to outsource them on a freelance basis as well as be able to assess their work. However, depending on what you are most passionate about in the writing scheme of things, you can always stay an author that seeks feedback now and then from qualified and experienced editors. Explore all your options and figure out whether you want to stay in the exciting world of creating the work or enter the thrilling world of editing and proofreading the magic.

Copy-Editing And Proofreading

Final Thoughts

Next time you look at a post or an article from your favourite brand online, test yourself to see if you can tell that the work has been edited or if it can use some more sharpening. Once your copy-editing instincts kick in, there’s no stopping you.

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