How to Tell a Proofread from a Copyedit

How to Tell a Proofread from a Copyedit

Tweet this post.When your magic eight-ball isn’t handy, follow these steps to figure out what is wanted when you’re asked to “look this over”: proofread, copyedit, line edit, or something more substantive. Today, in my How To column at
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“Proofreading” is done on a test run of the final product.

How do you figure out what kinds of edits are wanted? Do you have questions you ask regularly, or a checklist you use? You might start with a detailed list such as Professional Editorial Standards (put out by Editors Canada).

Also see How Long Will This Take?, because you’ll be having that discussion next. And look to these when you need to figure out what can be done in the time available:


Link to my columns on

 magic 8-ball in head

Photo by David Blackwell, used under CC BY-ND 2.0 license.


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