What is copyediting, anyway?
‘Copy’ just means any piece of text that’s going to be published or submitted for review. It could be text for a website, business literature such as brochures, maybe a job application. Or it could be a longer piece of writing, such as an academic text or even a full-length novel. 

Copyediting is working with this text to make sure that sentences flow smoothly and logically. This means ensuring that grammar and punctuation are correct and that there aren’t any glaring typos, off-putting repetitions, or odd word choices.

What I Do

There are many different elements involved in copyediting, and the services offered by one editor under this banner may be different from another. This is what I do as part of my comprehensive copyediting service:

  • Work at paragraph level, examining sentence structure and making sure that writing is clear, consistent, and flows well.

  • Examine word choices, avoiding repetition and making substitutions where necessary.

  • Revise and re-order some sentences, making suggestions for alternative terms if needed.

  • Ensure that spelling, grammar, and punctuation are clear and consistent throughout.

  • Fact-check – I won’t check every statement and piece of information in your text, but I will ensure that links are functioning and that names of places, people, and organisations are correct.

  • Scan for potential legal and copyright issues.

  • Check for tone, sensitivity, and use of appropriate terminology.



What is proofreading, anyway?
Proofreading is the final step for a piece of text, right before publication.  By this stage, all of the content will have been finalised and the text will have been copyedited. The proofreading stage is like a final quality check.

What I Do

As part of my full proofreading service, I will:

  • Scan for errors, including typos, grammatical mistakes, and incorrect punctuation.

  • Check page numbering, headers and footers, and references.

  • Ensure consistency in use of font and style.

  • Check formatting, including line spacing and use of paragraph breaks.

But I already have a spelling and grammar check in Microsoft Word.

Doesn't this do the same job?


No! Honestly, it really doesn’t. Spellcheck is a useful tool, but it can’t compete with the services of a professional proofreader. All spellcheck does is highlight words which are spelled incorrectly, according to a pre-programmed list. That’s it.


It won’t pick up instances where you've repeated the word, or where you’ve typed the wrong word but spelled it correctly. For example:


  • Manager/Manger

  • Excited/Exited

  • Compiles/Complies

  • Lose/Loose

  • Through/Though

  • Assess/Asses


And of course, that perennial favourite of editors everywhere:

  • Public/Pubic*

*Although this is funny, it cannot compete with my favourite typo of all time. When we work together, I’ll let you know what that is!