Editing vs. Proofreading – What’s The Difference?
Straight off the bat, let’s establish that editing and proofreading are not the same. However, most people remain unaware of this, hence the necessity of this blog to reinforce the same.
Think of editing as this big umbrella and proofreading as one of the many people standing under it. So, you’ll find that quite a few steps overlap and repeat between the two, but there are still significant distinctions.
What are they? Let’s find out!
There are different types of editing; namely developmental or substantive and of course, copy editing. But those are terms to be explored some other time, stories that will be told some other day!
For the most part, editing can simply be described as the process of improving the quality of writing in general. Often overlapping with the early stages of writing, editing focuses on your content and looks at how it is being presented. If editing is undertaken alongside the writing process, then it doesn’t focus on correcting words or sentences. It’s more about helping the content evolve as it goes before it becomes what is also known as copyediting.
That is when the focus is on improving language, checking facts and consistencies, and your work can often be rewritten, or even omitted depending on whichever helps readability.
Editors also tend to leave comments while adding, rewriting or omitting any moderate to major parts of your document. This, of course, shouldn’t be confused with changing the meaning of your work but is, in fact, better presentation of it.
When you choose to get your document edited, you are choosing a detailed content review and feedback that will make your work easier to understand and better organized.
Editing a document can be a process undertaken alongside writing or after, but proofreading happens only after a document is written and done. Proofreading is usually done after a document has been edited as well since it doesn’t involve content creation or correction. So, at that point, the writing is assumed to be pretty good and doesn’t require much help.
It involves correcting superficial errors in spelling, grammar, syntax, punctuation, and formatting. Small errors are corrected to improve the overall flow of the document. Here too, the document is rigorously checked for consistency and formatting. However, proofreaders end up maintaining style sheets to have a point of reference while proofreading large documents. For example, if a character is named Josie in the beginning of the book and referred to as Lilly much later, it could be difficult for the proofreader to remember that.
Therefore, proofreading is a subset of editing, but the more technical and skilled aspect of it, as opposed to correcting or rearranging any content.
So, which do you choose between the two?
If you’re looking to hire a professional editor or proofreader, you might find yourself a little unsure of which service to pick. Obviously, we’d suggest you did both since these aren’t mutually exclusive services.
Often, a document can have great content but would still require a great deal of formatting to fix it. Similarly, you can’t send in a document that’s only been proofread, since sentence-level editing in context is necessary. If you decide to simply proofread your document, it would be error-free for sure, but the lack of content editing could make the difference between getting published, a good grade, or getting a job!
Imagine an assembly line in a soup factory. Here, editing would be checking the soup while it’s still being packed and making any changes in the formula if required. Proofreading, on the other hand, would come right in the end as quality control. So, you see, one cannot (or should not) be done without the other.
To further illuminate the difference between editing and proofreading, take a look at this example of an edited sentence below. You can then cross-check it with the simply proofread version of the same sentence and see the difference in the process!
Proofread version –
If your document has been edited and proofread to perfection, not only would you have a document that’s error-free – but also easy to read and comprehend overall. Now, who wouldn’t want to be the owner of a brilliant document like that, whether it be a thesis, a job application, an essay or even an online post.
Make the smart choice and pick an error-free document. Choose PaperTrue.
P.S – We’re offering a free sample edit and proofread for you to try. What are you waiting for?
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I was happy to receive both a tracked and a clean version of the edited document.
I will happily recommend PaperTrue to my friends, and I will myself come back on a later occasion.
Amazing service and a welcoming chat on the website! I love the detailed comments and feedback on the tracked document :) They really did a good job at making my debut novel a lot better while still keeping my style of writing!
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