Line-editing, copyediting, or proofreading?

I often receive requests for a “proofread” or “language edit”. These requests are usually from authors who expect me to work in MS Word. Professional editors normally refer to such work as copyediting or proof-editing. If heavier changes (e.g. to the style) are permitted, this is usually called line-editing.

For more on the difference between proofreading and copyediting, see this explainer from the CIEP. Please note that I do not offer proofing of PDFs. I typically work in MS Word.

The service you need depends on both the text you supply and the level of intervention you are comfortable with. It is a final check before sending your manuscript to the typesetter or book formatter and will likely involve:

  • checking grammar and technical aspects of language
  • ensuring the document formatting is consistent
  • producing a style sheet
  • applying any style guide you require
  • making light edits for clarity and consistency while leaving your voice and style untouched (copyediting)
  • making heavy edits at sentence level for style, clarity, and consistency (line-editing)