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Editing vs proofreading

Both editing and proofreading are essential steps in ensuring that a text is error-free and understandable.

“The proofreading vs. copyediting debate has been around for quite some time. Both proofreading and copyediting are important elements of the editing process, but they are very different. Which one do you need? That's up to you. But if you're not sure, it's always best to err on the side of caution and get both proofreading and copyediting done. That way, you can be sure that your project is as error-free as possible,” says Lincoln Beck, managing editor of BizHero, a premier website that publishes top-tier business articles.

Here's a quick rundown of the differences between editing and proofreading:


Editing is the process of revising and improving a piece of writing. This can involve correcting errors, improving the flow and organisation of the writing, and adding or removing content as needed. Editing is an essential step in writing and can help make your writing clearer and more effective.

Editing has two levels with different areas of focus:

Substantive editing
Substantive editing is a type of editing that focuses on making sure that the content of a piece of writing is explicit, accurate, and complete. This can involve adding or removing material as needed and making sure that the overall organisation of the writing makes sense. Substantive editing is done before a piece of writing is submitted for publication to ensure it is of the highest possible quality.

Without substantive editing, a piece of writing may be challenging to understand and even inaccurate. This would lead to problems if the writing were used for research or other purposes. Hence, substantive editing is essential in the writing process and can help improve your writing quality.

Copyediting is a type of editing that focuses on correcting errors and improving the clarity and flow of a piece of writing. This can involve fixing grammar and spelling mistakes and ensuring that the paper is consistent and easy to read. Copyediting is done before a piece of writing is published to ensure that it is error-free and reads well. Without copyediting, you risk the quality of your writing, which may reflect poorly on your brand and voice. Hence, it is an indispensable step in your writing process.


Proofreading is the last step in the process before a piece of writing is published. It is completed on a PDF after a graphic designer has completed the design. It doesn’t focus so much on the grammar and spelling but concentrates on the piece as a whole, which includes consistency and coherence in the visual aspects. This entails ensuring that the typeface and its formatting are appropriate to the nature of the piece. It also includes checking:
- for orphans and widows (where a paragraph split across two pages has the first or last line only on one of the pages)
- there are no ‘rivers’ (white lines running diagonally through the text)
- that the pages are numbered correctly the content is in the proper order
- no content from the master document is missing
- captions relate to their respective images.

Get rid of your writing problems!

Are you having a hard time writing cohesive and error-free pieces? Are you one of those who dread writing but find it hard to avoid? Well, worry no more!

Wordwallah provides off-site editorial services for a wide range of requirements. We specialise in various sectors, including law, medicine, government, finance and science. Our team of professionals is sure to make writing a breeze regarding your editorial requirements.

Contact us and get rid of your writing problems!
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