Editing or proofreading?

I offer both proofreading services and editing. They’re related services and people aren’t always sure of the difference.

Basically, proofreading tells you what is wrong with a document or manuscript, whereas editing will tell you how to make things even better.

Proofreading

Basic proofreading covers things like:

  • Spelling errors
  • Grammatical errors
  • Formatting errors
  • Very basic continuity and factual errors

If English is not your first language, it will pick up on syntax errors and iron out the language.

Examples

For academic work, proofreading will check things like whether your tables and figures are consistently formatted, and whether your referencing has been done right. It will make sure you don’t mix up different spelling of words – like US and UK spellings of the same word.

For fiction or non-fiction manuscripts, proofreading will ensure the formatting is right for printing or self-publication, including rivers, widow and orphan lines, and bad breaks. It will make sure your punctuation is correct, without interfering with the creative style of the piece.

The proofreading service I provide will include very light-touch editorial, too. For example, it will highlight areas or tell you where points are particularly confusing, but won’t go into more detail than that.

Editing

Editorial advice covers things that aren’t wrong as such, but could be better, such as

  • Overall flow
  • Use of language, including plain English
  • Narrative position
  • Time space knowledge
  • Consistency of tone
  • Character dialects

Examples

For academic work, it will check the coherence of your arguments, check for a strong conclusion, and highlight anything that could look like plagiarism.

For writers, editing will make sure your story is consistent and engaging, that characters are clearly defined and that there are no redundant passages. It will help you produce a tightly-written, exciting story, whether it’s fictional, research-based, or life writing.

The level of editorial input that your piece needs, or that you want, is likely to vary a lot depending on the piece, which is one of the reasons I ask for a sample.

Please get in touch if you need any more information:

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