The Best Editing and Proofreading Advice

Do you want to know some terrifying truths that a lot of content producers ignore?

Editing is different from proofreading. And you can’t effectively carry out the two at once.

And you should be extremely hesitant about publishing that material if you believe the same person is capable of writing, editing, and proofreading their own work.

Even the U.S. The Bureau of Labour Statistics recognises the distinction between editors and proofreaders. It states that one of the responsibilities of proofreaders is to read the transcript or proof type setting in order to find any grammatical, typographical, or compositional flaws and flag them for rectification. excludes personnel whose main responsibility is copyediting.

What’s the distinction?

Grammarly provides the following brief description of the copyediting process:

Before it is ready for proofreading, the tasks involve examining the written material for errors in grammar, spelling, style, and punctuation. If necessary, a copy editor may also perform a rewrite to correct any transitional issues, wordiness, or jargon issues, and to make sure the piece’s style matches the publication. Revision is the term for this work.

On the other hand, proofreaders examine the content following the editing stage. They carefully review the content as it is almost ready for publication to identify any small typographical or other errors that were either introduced during production or missed during editing.

Rationale: Avoid attempting to complete one task immediately after another if you work on some projects as a proofreader and others as an editor. Go on a break. Try a mental exercise that doesn’t involve words. If you don’t take a break, you’ll probably be wearing both your editor and proofreader hats, which will make the content review disorganized and unfocused.

Editing techniques

Put your editor’s hat on and adhere to these five steps:

  • Before you read a word, make sure you are aware of the content’s overarching goals for the reader and the company.

Advice: Require content authors to include one or two phrases at the beginning of the content that describe the intended audience and the motivation behind its creation for the editor.

  • With the exception of scrolling, read the text like you would a book. (If reviewing in print, refrain from holding the pen.)
  • Reread the material from an editor’s perspective. Put your hands on the keyboard and make a note of any areas where the material is weak and why. Does the introduction capture the reader’s interest? Is the piece’s content consistently centred on a single theme? Is it possible to comprehend each sentence and paragraph? Does the content flow logically in its order? Does the content reflect the tone and ethos of the company?
  • Edit after pausing. Depending on your procedure, send the marked-up content back to the author for revision if the necessary changes are substantial. Make the modifications now if the author won’t be revising the article again.
  • Make sure the material reads well from the audience’s and brand’s standpoints by reading it one last time.

One piece of advice: if you make large changes to the material, check with the author again, especially if the piece has a byline, to make sure you updated it correctly.

You can examine the material’s other components now that the readability of the text is sound. You ought to:

Ensure the accuracy of the facts and right attribution. Verify the accuracy and proper attribution of any research, statistics, opinions, or quotes that are included in the article. Make sure links in digital form point to the information’s original source (not to another post quoting the original content).

Run the numbers. Make sure the numbers add up if the text has any. The maths doesn’t work, so the next sentence shouldn’t be “one-third prefer vanilla over chocolate.” For instance, if the article is about people’s favourite ice cream flavours and the first statement is “70% agree chocolate ice cream is superior to vanilla.”

With your style manual in mind, review. Examine the text to make sure it adheres to your brand’s style manual and lexicon of choice. The CMI Style Guide, for instance, is essentially the AP Style Guide with a few small brand changes.

For editing and proofreading, make checklists to make sure each stage is carried out. Someone is more likely to cross something off a list if they have to physically do it. Additionally, checked-off checklists with the names of the editor and proofreader act as a useful tracker for each piece of material.

How to proofread effectively

The proofreading process involves meticulous work. It is unrealistic to expect a proofreader to simply go over the text once and find every error. Proofreading is a multi-step procedure, just like editing. Each of these actions calls for a separate reading of the article’s content:

  • Review for clarity and understanding. Although any issues in this section should have been resolved throughout the editing process, proofreaders still need to read the content for their own comprehension in order to thoroughly review the content. If errors are discovered at this stage, be careful to rectify them, ideally with the editor’s assistance.
  • The grammar in each sentence should be checked. Subject-verb agreement is the type of proofreading that most people think of.
  • Check each word’s spelling. It’s not as simple as it seems. Because your brain is still reading for comprehension when you spell-check in the same direction as you read (top to bottom, left to right), you’re less likely to make mistakes. Starting at the bottom of the content and working your way up, make sure each word is spelled correctly.
  • Examine the written material for quality. Make sure the material appears as intended by reviewing it. Does the typography for each subhead match? Can you spot any odd line breaks? The table of contents should mirror the content, right? Do all the links work?

Advice: Proofreaders should make many notes about the errors they find. Inform the writer and editor of that knowledge to help avoid (or at least reduce) similar situations in the future.

Go ahead and revise and proofread.

You can improve your content outcomes so that they are less frightening for your readers or your brand by realizing that editing and proofreading are two separate tasks. Additionally, you won’t have to waste time dealing with significant issues brought on by inadequate editing and proofreading