“Inside every good piece of writing there’s a better, more beautiful piece just bursting to get out.”

How is copy-editing different from proofreading?

Copy-editing is what many people refer to as proofreading, but there is very little call for simple proofreading, except from publishers, in these days of electronic spelling and grammar checkers. A proofreader will check your document for incorrect spelling, grammar and punctuation. This is usually the “proof” – a document that has already been prepared for publishing and might be compared against the original for omissions and formatting errors.  A copy-editor will do much much more, and will work on your “copy” – the document before it is submitted, posted or published anywhere.

A copy-editor will not only check your spelling but check that certain words are spelt consistently throughout, for example where there are differences between UK and US English. She will check that the names of organisations are spelt and capitalised in line with the organisation’s own style. She will ensure that your the logic in your document is coherent, that you do not contradict yourself, that you do not unnecessarily repeat facts or arguments and that the cause and effect links you have made are correct. Where it makes for a more readable document, she will join short sentences together, or split up long ones, and will improve your use of vocabulary to avoid repetition or misunderstanding. Your quotations and references will be checked against the originals where possible, and the tone of your language will be adjusted if necessary for the target audience. A copy-editor will also cross-reference the data in tables and graphs with their descriptions in the text.

We could continue, but we’re sure you get the picture. Each document is different and will therefore be checked for different things, and if you wish us to look out for something in particular we will be happy to take instructions from you.

What will you receive from us?

We will return your document to you with all the changes tracked in Word (or Open Office if you prefer) and will add notes/comments where the revision has not been straightforward or clarification is needed. We will respond to any queries you might have about the latter, at no extra cost of course.

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