Proofreading Vs Copyediting

There are different types of edits like proofreading, manuscripts critiques, copyedits, line edits and many more. Many people find it difficult to identify or understand the different types of edits, especially for a new editor – It can feel very overwhelming. That’s because he/she will have a hard time trying to figure out which type to choose for your manuscript. Amateur editors also struggle because they want to make sure they charge enough to pay their bills and remain competitive in a competitive market. On the other hand, they also want to make sure that they are not making clients pay more than they should.

Copyediting and proofreading are two different editing types or practices that people often confuse with each other. In the course of this post, we will be breaking down the differences between Copy-editing and proofreading to help you understand the editing process better.

Copy Editing

What Is Copyediting?

This is the process of checking for repetition, inconsistencies, and mistakes. In the course of this editing process, your manuscript is polished enough for publication.

The copyeditor makes sure that your manuscript tells the best story possible. He/she is your partner in publication. The responsibility of the copyeditor is not just to focus on the big picture, he/she also focuses on the small details like spelling. That debunks the popular opinion that the copyeditor is not a glorified spell-checker.

Below are some of the things a copyeditor does, they include:

  • It is the job of the copyeditor to check for spelling, syntax, grammar, and punctuation.
  • He/she is responsible for technical consistency all through your work such as capitalization, font usage, numerals, and hyphenation.
  • He/she checks for continuity errors to ensure that all loose ends are tied.
  • The copyeditor’s job is also to check for factually incorrect statements. This is a vital role in the copyediting process for non-fiction manuscripts such as memoirs and historical pieces. The copyeditor must make sure that all facts in your manuscripts accurate, as well as, the dates and names in your manuscript.

From the list of jobs/responsibilities listed above, you can see that copyeditors job is much more than just checking out for spelling and grammar. He or she must ensure that all the elements of your story are cohesive, consistent, and complete.

Your copyeditor is not the same as your general editor, and they do not perform the same responsibilities. The copyeditor has a wide range of skill sets. He or she must be detail-oriented, precise and adept in word usage and grammar. Also, the copyeditor must be up to date with the standard practices in book publishing.

This is what copy editing looks like

How Long Does a Copyedit Take?

The timeframe for getting your copyedit done for your manuscript usually takes between 3-5 days.



What Is Proofreading?

Proofreading usually takes place after the manuscript has been printed. A copy of the final manuscript after it’s gone through all the stages of editing, including copyediting is then examined by a professional proofreader.

The job of the proofreader is to check for quality before the book is published. The proofreader will also take the original edited copy and compare it to the proof. The purpose of this is to ensure that there are no missing pages or omissions. The proofreader corrects page breaks.

Even though the proofreader may do light editing, such as correcting spelling or hyphenations, a proofreader is not a copyeditor. If there are too many errors, the proofreader may return the proof for further copyediting.

This is what proofreading looks like

Traditional publishers often require professional proofreading as a quality assurance measure before the publication of a mass quantity of books. Nevertheless, some self-publishing authors choose to skip the proofreading process after giving their manuscripts to professional copyeditors. If you don’t have enough money to proofread your work, you can decide to do it yourself. After all, there wouldn’t be so many errors to deal with at that stage.

Scientific Editing

2 thoughts on “Proofreading Vs Copyediting”

Leave a Comment

Related Posts


All Types of Copy Editing

In the world of writing, there are several types of copy editing and  here we provide brief descriptions for each type of copy editing. Let’s assume you give your work to a copy-editor to work on it. The copy-editor after some days or weeks returns the work to you, and what you find is something…
Human proofreading vs. machine proofreading

Human Proofreading Vs. Machine Proofreading

Can the current proofreading tools/machine proofreading replace human proofreading? If this is your question, this article is for you! Towards the end of the 1990s, a chess-playing machine designed by IBM known as Deep Blue did an extraordinary thing; it beat the world chess champion, Garry Kasparov, in a chess match. What made this even…
What is copy editing?

What Is Copy Editing?

When it comes to writing, there’s a whole lot involved. Sure, curating the content takes the lion’s share of the work, but other subcategories of activities every written piece need before publishing or submission. Most of these subcategories are targeted towards editing. Editing is crucial for every caliber or writer as it ensures that the…
Common copy editing mistakes

Top 5 Common Copy Editing Mistakes

There are common copy editing mistakes that are well known to skilled copy editors. If you are thinking of making some copy editing changes on your own, you might want to avoid some of the following major copy editing mistakes. When self-editing, it really is easy to make some big mistakes that, to you, can…
Skills required for copy editing

Top 5 Skills Required for Copy Editing

If you ever intend on becoming a copy editor, then you need to know what you are actually doing. Many of us get involved in things like copy editing and improving our work without really knowing for sure if we are making the right calls. That is problematic, and it can often lead to making…