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Difference between proofreading and editing

The Difference Between Proofreading and Editing

After having written a good portion of their memoir, writers will sometimes begin to wonder if it is time to hire a writing professional to work with them to get the manuscript ready to go out into the world. At this stage, they may ask, “What’s the difference between proofreading and editing? And, how do I know which one I need?”

What Is Proofreading?

Proofreading is the more technical, nutsy-boltsy end of editing. Someone who is an editor will often also undertake to proofread a manuscript. Proofreading is concerned with mechanics:  spelling, punctuation, noun/verb agreement, other grammar problems, consistency (abbreviations, digits vs. numbers that are spelled out as words, etc.), obvious breaks from styling (inconsistencies in fonts, line spacing, spacing between words, and margins), and factual errors (dates, place names, historical facts).

Obviously, proofreading requires a solid foundation in grammar, vocabulary, and general knowledge. It requires an eye for detail. Proofreaders refer often to the following in hard copy or on the internet: a dictionary, an atlas, and an encyclopedia.

What Exactly Is the Difference Between Proofreading and Editing ?

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