Copyediting vs Proofreading

Copyediting and proofreading are both ways of ‘tidying up’ text before publication. But what exactly is the difference? Let's take a closer look...
Copyediting vs Proofreading
Photo by Anna Shvets (Pexels)

Whether you're writing a white paper, publishing a press release or interacting on Instagram, it's important to check your copy carefully before you hit publish.

Here's how copyeditors and proofreaders can help you create word-perfect communications with maximum impact.

Copyediting is…

A copyeditor's job is to make sure the text reads well and is error free. They may make suggestions to:

  • Ensure an appropriate and consistent tone of voice
  • Remove any inconsistencies in style, spelling or capitalisation
  • Avoid or reduce repetitions
  • Shorten long-winded sentences to make the text more concise
  • Improve headlines, titles and overall structure
  • Align the copy with a style guide or brand guidelines, if available
  • Flag or reword any confusing or misleading content

Because copyediting usually takes longer and involves more substantial edits, it tends to cost slightly more than proofreading.

When to hire a copyeditor: You've drafted your copy and want to eliminate errors and inconsistencies, improve the structure and/or adjust the tone of voice.
Example showing suggestions made by a copyeditor

Proofreading is…

A proofreader focuses on the technical aspects of the copy, including:

  • Spelling
  • Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Capitalisation
  • Formatting
  • On-page layout

Proofreading is usually the last step in the content creation process. It's very important because poorly written text can have a negative impact on your brand image and even sales.

"If a company can’t spell, how can consumers trust them to deliver a quality product?" Forbes - Companies with the Best Grammar Win
Example showing corrections made by a proofreader
When to hire a proofreader: You're happy with the content and structure of your copy, and want a final check for mistakes or inconsistencies.
Copyediting and proofreading are a key part of the publication process.
Image by cottonbro studio (Pexels)
Pro tip: Use the ‘track changes’ function to edit or proofread in Word (‘suggesting’ mode in Google Docs). This makes it easier for people to see your changes, and accept or reject them.

Tidy up your texts with Bwritr

With extensive experience in copyediting and proofreading, our creative team can help you polish up your communications to perfection.

Not sure which service is best for your project? No problem! We’ll help you find the right option based on your goals and budget.

Written by
Fiona Freeman
Writer. Reader. Nature Lover. Coffee Drinker. Managing Editor.
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