difference between editing and proofreading: man writing at typewriter

Do you know the difference between proofreading and editing? You’ll need to when it comes to hiring a freelancer.

When hiring a freelancer – such as myself – it’s important that you know exactly what you want from me.

What expectations do you have about the service I will provide? Do you know what it is you need help with? If you don’t know what you want me to do, then unfortunately neither do I!

Before you consider picking me as your freelance editor and proofreader, do you really know and understand what each of these terms means? Editing, proofreading, and copy editing are bundled into one package in people’s heads and the lines blur between what they really mean.

Do you want me to improve the sentence structure and the style, or do you need me to correct spelling and grammar? Knowing what you want helps me to understand how you want the job doing. And that’s why you need to know the difference between proofreading and editing.



When you hire me as an editor, you’re hiring me to review your text with the intent to improve the flow and style of the writing as well as the overall quality.

If required, I can rewrite entire sentences or paragraphs to make them sound professional and of a high standard. I will correct obvious errors in spelling but my main task is to ensure the text makes sense.

Please note: this service is no longer available as of January 2018.



Proofreading is the process that follows editing to ensure that there are absolutely no errors in spelling or grammar. I will look at punctuation, typos, incorrect use of regional English (British vs. American) and spelling.

I’ll always make these changes via Track Changes in Microsoft Word. This means that I can make a change, but you can still see the original. You can then accept my change, or reject it and revert it back to the original. It means all my changes can be viewed by you, and you know what it is exactly I have altered.


Copy Editing

Copy editing is very similar to proofreading with extra care taken looking at the style consistency. Writers have a tendency to write very quickly when they feel inspiration which causes changes in the consistency and style of their writing.

Where on one page they’ll write “ruby red”, on another they might subconsciously write “ruby-red”. It is my job to eliminate such inconsistencies.

I will also check that dates are always formatted in the same way and that names and locations are spelt the same throughout.

Please note: this service is no longer available as of January 2018.


To summarise the difference between proofreading and editing:

An editor

  • Rewrites sentences and paragraphs for flow
  • Makes the text clearer and more understandable
  • Uses their specialized knowledge to clarify and improve text

A proofreader

  • Goes beyond “spellcheck” to catch errors a computer might miss
  • Ensures zero grammatical errors, usually after a document has already been edited

A copyeditor

  • Proofreads, with an added expertise in ensuring style consistency appropriate to a publication or organization

I really hope this guide has helped clear up a few incongruences. Knowing the difference in these terms enables me to understand what you require from me, and, in turn, results in your book becoming the best it can be!


What’s the Difference between Proofreading and Editing?
Tagged on:                                 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: