Copy Editing vs. Proofreading

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What is the difference between a copy editor and a proofreader?

Copy Editing vs. Proofreading

While many freelance editors do both copy editing and proofreading, they are different aspects of the same job.

A copy editor sees a manuscript before it is prepared for publication, and may raise substantive issues such as breaking some material off into a sidebar, or reorganizing the piece into more logical sections.

The term "proofreading" comes from the publishing world, where "proofs" show the manuscript set into type and ready to be bound into books. At this point, it is possible to correct small errors, but more difficult to correct large ones. Even today, many presses release a set of proofs and allow the author to change only a certain percentage of the pages before the final product is printed. Proofreading, therefore, is more focused on printing issues such as spacing and consistent typography, along with correcting minor errors in spelling and punctuation.



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