The Differences Between Copy Editing, Proofreading, and Reading

Copy Editing, Proofreading. Photo Credit – Flickr: Terry FreedmanThe differences between copy editing, proofreading, and reading are commonly considered subtle.

For instance, if I happened to mention in conversation that I’m a “freelance proofreader and copy editor,” it may seem that I’m referring to the same occupation.

In contrast, if I said that I’m a “neuroscientist and farmer,” it would appear that I have two separate careers.

It is clear that neuroscience and farming are different practices that require distinct educational prerequisites, skills, and expertise.

The technical differences between copy editing and proofreading are too boring to explain, and I’ve created Revision Fairy proofreading services so that you can invest in producing a quality product without having to pinpoint the exact type of help you need before I review your work.

If you know you need to specifically hire a copy editor or proofreader, you may already know the differences between copy editing and proofreading.

If you don’t know the differences between the two activities, and aren’t seriously interested in hiring a professional proofreader, you may regard both copy editing and proofreading as just reading and making some corrections.

There is also a misconception that proofreading is a less expensive service than copy editing because it’s “not as much work.”

This attitude rests on the false notion that proofreading requires less time, attention to detail, and reading comprehension than copy editing.

The first step of revising a draft is reading, but the ability to read does not equal the ability to proofread or copy edit.

When you hire a proofreader or copy editor, you’re not hiring a reader.

Reading is only a small portion of his or her work.

Next week, I’m releasing the second edition of Your Ultimate Online Proofreading Guide for Better Writing.

The new version is twice as long as the first edition and explains straightforward proofreading techniques and tips after establishing effective writing and editing methods.

Rewriting, copy editing, and proofreading are different processes, and the second edition of my proofreading guide helps distinguish the tools you need for each stage of creation.

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About Stefanie Flaxman

Stefanie Flaxman is a digital copywriter and editor with an unparalleled eye for detail. She teaches better writing, disciplined creativity, and non-sleazy marketing. Get more from Stefanie on YouTube.