Boston School proofreading

Know the difference between editing and proofreading

A number of English students over the years have asked: What’s the difference between editing and proofreading? A few at a higher level will also ask what’s copy editing?

A quick Google search of “types of editing” shows confusion because blogs tend to overuse the word “editor” and a lot more!

Here are three terms you may come across.  Do you know the difference between them?

  1. Editing
  2. Copy editing
  3. Proofreading


When editing, an editor makes improvements to how the text reads.  This can include changes to the layout, sentence structure or paragraph order. Adding or deleting words or text to refine the story told will improve readability and clarify the message the writer wants to convey.  It is also not uncommon due to word count limits, copy editors can cut text out like a surgeon, making big cuts to your text.

Copy Editing

Copy editing may be required after editing has been completed to make sure the final copy is completely perfect.  Some proofreading including additional spelling or grammar error corrections may be made.  However, no large cuts should be expected in this step. 


Proofreading takes the nearly finished letter, assignment or homework and places it under a microscope. It is a step which removes jargon, ensures correct use of punctuation and confirms you have the correct structure and explanations of arguments in your document. Proofreading occurs nearly writing review step of the process: editing, copy editing and for a very last check before publishing any text.

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