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 seem pretty trivial. However, if you get used to dealing with the following mistakes in copy editing, you are going to make your day-to-day life so much easier. (Read Top 5 Skills Required for Copy Editing)

So, what are some of the most common copy editing mistakes that you are going to benefit from if you can simply avoid them in the future?

Everybody needs copy editing

Failing to change tense

One of the biggest mistakes in copy editing can be failing to change the tense of the text. Sometimes, you find that a text seems to move from past to present to future tense almost at will. However, within the context of that exact line it might sound OK. When you bring the whole together, though, it can sound quite messy and uneven.

For that reason, we highly recommend that you look to change the tense as you go through the first round of copy editing. You will often find this helps to make the whole piece more balanced and easier to read.

Universal writing style

Another big change that you might fail to make when editing is building a universal language style. For example, is the whole thing written in US English? Or do you happen to move between the various forms of English?

You should always look to have a universal and clear writing style, as it can only benefit you moving forward to have such a specific nature to your writing. Not only that, but it will play a big role in ensuring that your content is easier to read and understand for the intended audience.

Failing to fact check

A big mistake that we often do when copy editing is failing to check the actual substance of the writing. You might get the content edited so that it reads great…but does it actually reflect properly on the topic at hand?

Many times, we can produce awesome and well-written content that, after a fact check, simply does not add up to reality. With that being the case, failing to fact check is easily one of the biggest and most damaging mistakes that you can make when it comes to copywriting. So, try and avoid that if possible!

Missing the little things

From captions around a piece of imagery to the actual location of an illustration, copy editing can be about a whole lot more than simply editing words and typos. You might want to look out for little things that are incorrectly written, in the wrong place, or maybe lack context.

Often, the biggest mistakes are the ones which are hardest to spot – those little mistakes in language that can make the rest of the piece confusing. Therefore, don’t look for just the big, glaring errors; always look for the little things that often skip the eye test.

Relying on spellcheck

The biggest mistake that a copy editor can make, though, is simply running your document through spell-check and being done with it. While a spellchecker is always going to be useful, it is not the be-all and end-all of editing. It cannot pick up the little things that a human eye would notice and be confused by.

This is why you should really look to come up with the solution to your copy editing needs via professional help. If you want to cut down on the mistakes, bring in a professional to help you progress your writing easier than you can on your own.

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By Bizhan Romani

Dr. Bizhan Romani has a PhD in medical virology. When it comes to writing an article about science and research, he is one of our best writers. He is also an expert in blogging about writing styles, proofreading methods, and literature.

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