Editing or Proofreading: Which Service Do You Need?

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Editing or proofreading? Many of our first-time clients ask us: “What’s the difference? And which one do I need?” Our answer is “It isn’t that simple”. Editing or proofreading is a question debated by professional writers and its answer depends on who you ask.
So, instead of telling you which service you need, I’ll explain what editing and proofreading are, to help you decide what you need. Then, when you’re ready to shine, we can help sculpt your document into a work of art.

What is Editing?

Editing completes the last step of the 5 stages of the writing process and shares equal importance with the previous steps. Effective editing involves a proactive editor focused on improving not only the quality of your writing but also you, as a writer or professional. This step concentrates on the style, language, and expressions within your document. A worthwhile editor tailors editing to your needs. Let’s take a look at some different types of editing:

Developmental Editing:

Bigger projects like extensive research papers or books benefit from developmental editing. When looking for a developmental editing service, consider your editor’s involvement from day one. A developmental editor works on your side and edits simultaneously while you write. The editor not only corrects mistakes but also helps you gather and arrange your ideas in the order that your document demands. This editing style produces a proper layout for your writing.
In developmental editing, the editor observes your arguments to ensure their proper application and focuses on the bigger picture so that all of your different segments complement each other.

Substantive Editing:

Substantive editing presents a detail-oriented approach to your writing.  A substantive editor analyzes paragraphs to ensure strong connections and sentence readability. Substantive editing focuses on smooth transitions between paragraphs to identify if you need to add some missing connections or paragraphs.

Line Editing:

Line editing is the most detailed type of editing. A line editor edits your document line by line, focusing on each word and its proper use. The editor also checks for general grammar mistakes, redundant words, and transitional errors. This is the most extensive editing and is also known as micro editing.

Manuscript Evaluation and Editing:

Not sure which type of editing do you need? Then manuscript evaluation and editing are what you are looking for. This type of editor looks through your script and checks the quality of its structure and flow. They do not make major changes, but rather focus on the flow of the entire document, summarize your mistakes, and suggest which type of editing you need for your document.

Copy Editing:

Copy editing finalizes the editing process. After completion of your document, your editor goes through the whole manuscript doublechecking for: grammatical errors, proper word usage, and typographical mistakes. Your copy editor also checks your format, layout, and transition to ensure you have followed applicable writing conventions and citation styles.
As a complicated and time-consuming process, copy editing somewhat combines all the previous types of editing. If you haven’t used any other type of editing before proceeding with copy editing, then your document will probably need a thorough review. Check out what some of our other clients think of our editors.

What is Proofreading?

Proofreading, the final screening of your document, identifies spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, and in some cases, fixes the format. Proofreading, used by writers satisfied with their style and content, usually follows after editing. Proofreading provides an essential fresh look at your documents from the eyes of a reader who discusses the readability of your manuscript.

So, what are the differences between editing and proofreading? Well, let’s find out!

Editing vs. Proofreading:




The editor takes over the entire document The reader just screens the document
The editor makes changes and edits errors The reader just highlights errors
Is detailed and time-consuming Is less time-consuming
Has different types Offers a different perspective
Ensures clear expressions Is straightforward
Ensure maximum writing impact Has minimal writing impact
Ensures language use improved Ensures consistent language use
Is more expensive Is cheaper

So, the final questions: “Which should you choose? Editing or proofreading?”

Which should you choose?

Editing or proofreading? Well, the answer is yours to choose from. Editing makes your writing better, while proofreading checks the final product and ensures the best quality before submission. Ideally, you would choose both, starting with editing and ending with proofreading. However, we understand that it might be expensive to afford both.  If you must choose between editing or proofreading, we advise you to answer this question:
“Am I satisfied with the quality of my writing?”
Then, go through our post again and let us know how our editors can help you. It’s as simple as filling in this form. If you are still unsure, contact us, and our native speakers will help you understand what your document needs!

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