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Difference between Editing and Proofreading

Many people are uncertain about the difference between editing and proofreading. Mostly these two are considered as one and the same thing. Although these two are part of the revision processes, these have different outcomes.

So, what is the difference between the two?

Before incorporating any of these services, it is important to know the difference between the two. This blog will explain the difference between editing and proofreading. This will not only help people to differentiate between these two but will also help writers to improve their writing.

Lets first discuss editing


Editing is a process in which a professional editor makes changes and recommend suggestions to improve the overall quality of writing. After editing is done, the language becomes precise and consistent with better readability and more clear expressions.

Why is editing necessary?

Good quality writing is required not just in academics but also in other walks of life. It can make difference in your success and failure. If your standard of writing is high, you can elaborate your expressions and arguments more clearly in your work. The effect of your logic in your work does not matters if the quality of writing is not good. Therefore, the writing should be fluent, error-free, and consistent. In order to make the quality of writing more graceful, editing is required.

Apart from improving the quality of writing, editing also ensures that the required conventions of the writing are met.

What does an editor do while editing a document?:

An editor analyses the following things while editing a document:

  • Use of Words – An editor checks how the words are used in expressing ideas and arguments in the content. Is there any repetition of words? Are there any homophonic words?

  • Use of active and passive voice – A writing containing too much of active or passive voice is not compelling. An editor checks whether the active and passive voice is used appropriately or not in the document.

  • Tone – How is the tone of the language in the content? Is it appropriate for readers? Is it sarcastic, argumentative or ironic?

  • Use of unnecessary words – Useless and senseless words affect the quality of writing. Professional writers try to avoid the use of these words as much as possible. An editor inspects the use of these words in the content.

  • Language – Checks the flow and style of language so that the writing has maximum impact.

Types of editors

There are different types of editors enrolled for performing different tasks of editing. Following are the four main types of editors:

  • Copy Editors
  • Developmental Editors
  • Substantive Editors
  • Proofreaders

Copy Editors – Copy Editors examines grammatical errors like grammar, spellings, and punctuation. Along with this, any inconsistency in the language is also identified. Any form of such error is corrected by the copy editor through rewriting.

Developmental Editors – Developmental Editors assist writers in the overall content structure which includes the creation of the content, organization of the content, and tone of the content. These editors are not concerned with any grammatical issues.

Substantive Editors – Substantive Editors are concerned with the clarity and style of writing. These editors analyses paragraphs, sections and chapters and perform rewriting wherever required.

Proofreaders – Proofreaders look for grammatical errors in the document that is just completed. Along with grammatical errors, proofreaders also check the formatting of the document.

This was all about editing. Now let’s discuss proofreading.


Proofreading is another form of revision of the document and just like editing it also plays an important role in improving the quality of writing. It is the final stage of revision of document before it is sent for publication. The definition of proofreading says that:

“Proofreading is a process of detecting and correcting errors in the form of grammar, spellings, punctuation, and other language mistakes.”

You may be thinking that these errors are so much easy to eliminate and do not require professional skills.

If you believe that these errors can be easily eliminated by you or your friend then you are wrong. A professional proofreader has far more experience than you or your friend in tackling these type of errors. A professional person knows all the conventions of English writing and its various variations. It is easier for him to catch these mistakes than the writer himself.

Proofreading is important in the sense that the message in the writing is more clearly explained. Any form of grammatical errors like grammar, spellings, and spellings hurts the impact of writing and reliability of the author.

What does a professional proofreader do?

A professional proofreader performs the following tasks in proofreading:

  • Checks spelling errors

  • Corrects grammatical and punctuation mistakes

  • Make certain that commas, full stops, colons, semi-colons are used correctly

  • Make sure that references and quotation marks are made correctly

  • Examines how similar sound words are used in the content

  • Perform the formatting of the content

  • Ensures that whether the document is ready for publication or not

Reading all these you must have noted down the difference between editing and proofreading.

In a nutshell, we can say that Editing improves the standard of writing whereas proofreading makes sure that the writing is error-free.

What to choose Editing or Proofreading?

From the content stated above, it is clear that editing and proofreading are different things. Editing makes writing better whereas proofreading is the final revision before submitting the document.

How to decide what to choose?

Many a time people are confused about what is required for their writing – editing or proofreading?

Commonly, people go for editing service after writing and proofreading before final submission.

  • If you are confident about your writing and pretty sure that there is no need for improvement in writing then you should definitely go for proofreading.

  • If you are inexperienced in writing and have no confidence in your work, then it is highly recommended to choose editing service. It will be advantageous to you.

  • If you are going for academic and book publication then you should opt editing service.

  • Businesses looking for error-free documents can just go for proofreading service.

What is the difference between Editing and Proofreading? – Techsparks

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