whatiseditingThis is a question asked by many people. If we compare the editing process to building a house:

  • structural editing would be the foundations, the bricks and mortar and the exterior design and style of the house
  • copy editing would be the internal layout and the interior design and style of the house
  • proofreading would be the finishing touches

If we were to edit a manuscript, it would be subject to all three stages of editing: it would go through a structural edit to ensure that story or content is complete, it is structured appropriately and the language and style is fit for the intended purpose and appropriate for the target audience. It would then be copy edited to ensure that the text flows and is easy to read and that the style and layout are consistent throughout. Finally, it would be proofread to pick up any grammar, punctuation and spelling errors and ensure that chapter numbers, page numbers and formatting is correct. 

If you have any questions regarding our editing, copy editing or proofreading services, please Contact Us. 

Comparison of Editing Services

The table below shows the three types of editing and the tasks involved in each type of editing. 

Task Brief description of task Proofreading Copy Editing Structural Editing
Typographical errors Check for literal or typographical errors X X  
Punctuation Check correct use of punctuation X X  
Spelling Check correct spellings X X  
Grammar Check correct use of grammar X X  
Type considerations Check line lengths, fonts, use of block capitals, bold text and restrict use of multiple typefaces X X  
Word breaks and hyphenation Check that words break in the right place and hyphenation is used correctly X X  
Orphans and widows Check for stray lines of paragraphs/sections at the top and bottom of pages X X  
Spacing Check that correct spacing is used between lines and words X X  
Numbering    Check numbering is consecutive in pages, lists etc X X  
Formatting Check consistency of formatting of headers and footers, headings and sub headings, margins, paragraph layout, table of contents, indentation etc. X X  
Tables, diagrams, figures, illustrations and their captions Check placement and quality and any associated captions X X  
Citations, footnotes, endnotes, reference list, bibliography, index, appendices Cross-check to ensure references to other pages are correct and referencing is set out properly X X  
Contacts, addresses and telephone numbers Check to ensure contact details are correct X X  
Capitalisation Check correct use of capitalisation X X  
Sections or chapters Ensure consistency of sections and chapters and that they break in the right place   X  
Syntax Check the order and structure of words, phrases and sentences; should be logical and clear   X  
Redundant words, tautologies, repetition and alliteration Check if there are too many words used to express the same thing, sentences frequently starting with the same words or words within a sentence beginning with the same sound.    X  
Phrasing Check if a sentence could be phrased differently to clarify the intention or the meaning   X  
Excessive use of passive voice Check that active voice is used mostly in text   X  
Jargon Check if the amount of jargon is appropriate for the intended readership?   X  
Colloquialisms, slang and clichés Check for informal words or expressions used mostly in conversation as opposed to writing or expressions overused to the point of losing their original meaning. These should be kept to a minimum.   X  
Similes and metaphors Comparison of two things that are not alike.   These should be kept to a minimum.   X  
Anachronisms Check for items that have been placed in the wrong period of time e.g. a digital watch in the 1940s   X  
Style Check for consistency within the story or text e.g. style of characters remains consistent throughout the story. Check for consistency of formatting style e.g. word consistency, heading consistency.   X  
Defamation, libel or slander Check for anything in the text that could harm someone's name or reputation   X  
Viewpoint and consistency of viewpoint Check that the viewpoint remains consistent throughout the text.   X X
Continuity Check for continuity errors e.g. the hero's car changes from a red Ferrari to a yellow Lamborghini halfway through the story   X X
Ideas are expressed clearly and concisely Check that ideas are expressed clearly and there is no ambiguity in the meaning   X X
Organisation, structure and flow Check the sequence of sentences, paragraphs and phrases flow in a logical and orderly manner. Text should be organised appropriately and the heading shows a clear relationship to the subject matter being covered. The structure is logical and the document can be navigated easily.   X X
Vocabulary Check the word usage is appropriate for the intended readership     X
Signposting Check the most interesting topics are prominent in the overall structure     X
Context Check that a topic makes sense based on the text preceding and following it     X
Patterning Check the information is presented in logical, conventional patterns     X
Design and layout Check the design and layout of the document is consistent throughout     X
Editing of the story/content Editing of the actual story/content includes:     X
Is the writing style is suited to the genre?
Is the story logical and believable?
Is the story well organised?
Does the story hold the interest of the reader?
Is there an outcome with no loose ends and no unanswered questions?
Does the story have pace?
Are the characters realistic, individual, fully formed and essential to the story?
Does the style of the characters remains consistent throughout the story?