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Editing vs Proofreading-How are they Different?

UserHenry Lee time03 August,2018

You must have heard about proofreading and editing several times, but do you really know whether they are the same or different? If you also believe these two tasks are the same, then, you need to change that thought immediately. Yes! Both are completely different. There are significant differences between proofreading and editing. To develop a refined and superior-quality paper, both of these processes are very important. If you are still confused about the two, then, read this blog.

Editing vs Proofreading

What is Proofreading?

Let us first look at what proofreading is. According to Cambridge Dictionary’s definition of proofreading, it is the process of detecting and rectifying errors in a copy. Revising is the first step that you need to do if you want to learn how to proofread. However, revising and proofreading are not the same; proofreading is a portion of the revision process and comes at the end.

Proofreading mainly concentrates on removing the external errors like

  • Grammar,
  • Spelling,
  • Quotation marks and punctuation,
  • Syntax,
  • Subject-verb agreement,
  • Sentence structure etc.
  • Words that sound almost similar but have complete different meanings
  • Spacings after periods
  • Formatting

Proofreaders aim at finding mistakes that may go unnoticed by the spellchecker or the computer. This process is usually carried out when the paper writing is completed.

It is a crucial phase of the writing process, and if you skip this, it might affect your paper negatively. Without effective proofreading, your message in the copy will not get conveyed to the reader properly.

A proofread copy will have the following features:

  • Free from all kind of errors
  • Properly structured and will include even language
  • Perfect writing
  • Will be ready for being published

Proofreading vs. Copyediting

Another term that you might be familiar with is copyediting. But, what is copyediting exactly?

Copyediting is checking the manuscript for grammar , spelling, style and punctuation before it has been published. It involves checking the consistency of style across all content that is going to be published.  An example can be writing the dates, locations, and names following the same style. Thus, having a good knowledge of the various style guides is a must for any copy editor. This process ensures that the content is appropriate for getting published in a journal or another platform. The copyright issues, libel and other patenting issues are addressed at copy editing stage.Proofreading is checking a proof of the manuscript published. It occurs in later stages after copy-editing

What is editing?

Through editing, one does a deeper analysis of the writing and on the presentation of ideas and information. An editor makes the necessary modifications in a paper to elevate its quality. The aim of an editor is to ensure that the copy is easily comprehensible, perfectly organised, and is written according to the reader’s needs.

In editing, the focus remains on the correct use of language and how the message or ideas are expressed in the copy. This way, the readers will be able to read the full text easily.

An editor generally considers the following aspects:

  • Usage of words to express ideas or feelings
  • When active or passive voice should be used
  • Determining tone, style and diction
  • Delivery of expressions in best possible way
  • Compactful and appealing writing
  • Usage of gendered language

An edited copy will have the following features:

  • Enhanced quality of the paper
  • Better and effective use of language
  • The meanings are better expressed
  • Increase the chance of impressing the readers

Editing vs. Revising

It is always said to revise a copy from the beginning to the end after the writing is finished. This process allows you to check the whole content so that, you can ensure that it contains the message that you wanted to convey. Through this process, you will be able to review it, make changes, and corrects any mistake made.

Just like proofreading, editing also falls under the revising process and comes in the beginning. But, the two are not the same. There is a difference between editing and revising, so, just by revising a copy, you cannot say you have edited it. Also, editing is much valuable than just revising; hence, in the battle of Revising vs. Editing, the latter will always win.

Proofreading vs. editing

Even though proofreading involves the process of editing, it cannot be said that the two are the same. The editing process is carried out several times while writing a paper. On the other hand, proofreading is done only after the copy is finished. Editing goes much beyond checking the grammatical or typing mistakes.

Both of these steps are extremely crucial for making a paper perfect and effective. Missing out on any of these steps can result in a poorly written paper, and the time and effort given in writing it will go in vain.

If you are still a student then, skipping this step will lead to the deduction of points. And, if you are a professional writer, then, what you have written may get rejected by the publication. If the reader does not understand what is written, your content will obviously be accepted in a negative way.

The importance of hiring a professional

One mistake that everybody does is that they do not give much importance to proofreading and editing. You might think that you can easily do that with some online tools. This concept is very wrong.

Editing and proofreading both are complicated tasks and requires specific skills. A professional will have the right knowledge and how to use them to maximise the quality of the content. They also boast great grammar knowledge which makes them adept at spotting errors that are most commonly made by a writer. The experts also know how to work in an organised way so that, they can work more efficiently.

There is a concept named ‘typo blindness’. It basically states that the writers cannot easily see the mistakes they have done in the copy as they know from the beginning the message that the writer is trying to convey. But, when the editor is the writer, the mistakes go unnoticed.

This is why a second opinion or pair of eyes is required to do this efficiently. A professional will be able to show the mistakes that have been in front of your eyes the whole eyes, yet, you cannot see them.

So, what can be said in conclusion?

A poorly written paper will get rejected from everywhere. Making the copy free of any errors will let the readers concentrate on the information provided instead of on how good your English language skill is. 

Some more differences…

Editing will ensure:

  • The content is written in a flow, using accurate language, and is easily readable
  • The information is presented in a logical order
  • One paragraph continues to the next one and only the relevant information is used in the paper
  • The copy will contain the right tone which is suitable for the readers

Proofreading will ensure:

  • Free from grammatical errors
  • No punctual mistakes
  • Use of the correct words
  • No extra space
  • The right use of quotation or similar marks
  • The correct sentence structure
  • There will be no typos or any such common mistakes
  • It will bring a final perfection in a copy

If you choose to do only proofreading, you will only be able to remove the external mistakes. But, you will miss out on bettering your writing. And, without a quality content, you will not be able to fulfil the purpose of writing the paper in the first place. So, it is always suggested to carry out both of these steps in order to develop a high-quality content.

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Along with using some super-effective techniques, they also utilise the most advanced tools to detect all the flaws in a copy. So, you can be ensured that your paper will be free of any grammatical, typing or linguistic errors.

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