Proofreading and Editing — The Vital Differences


Proofreading and editing are not exactly the same. Although many people use the terms interchangeably, editing and proofreading are two different stages of the revision process. Both demand close and careful reading, but they focus on different aspects of the writing and employ different techniques. Editing is what you begin doing as soon as your first draft is finished. You reread your draft to see for example, whether the paper is well-organised, the transition between paragraphs is smooth, and your evidence really backs up your argument. Whereas, proofreading is the final stage of the editing process which focuses on surface errors such as misspellings and mistakes in grammar and punctuation. You should proofread only after all your other editing revisions are finished.


Proofreading is the process of careful reading and rereading of a document to detect any errors in spelling, punctuation, or grammar. It may also involve checking different elements of the layout (such as headlines, paragraphs, illustrations, and colours) for their correct dimensions, placement, type, etc. Every author knows that a human proofreader is indispensable. This process involves reading  an electronic or hard copy of a work to be published in order to detect and correct production errors in text or art. Proofreaders are expected to be very accurate because they are checking the last stage of typographic production before publication.


This process concentrates less on the form and more on the terminology. Editing involves checking to make sure that the correct terminology is used. It also involves assisting with the structure and content of a document, such as ensuring consistency within the text and publisher’s style guide, as well as checking the accuracy of references.
Editorial work involves a collaborative approach to maintain the author’s style and vision, while ensuring the document creates maximum impact on the intended reader.

Try to keep the editing and proofreading processes separate. When you are editing an early draft, it is difficult to think about punctuation, grammar, and spelling. If you are worrying about the spelling of a word or the placement of a comma, you are not focusing on the more important task of developing and connecting ideas.

The bottom line: If you hire an individual or company to check your thesis, it’s essential they carry out both proofreading and editing. As both skills are completely different, you’re paper should be checked at least twice: once by an editor and lastly by a qualified proofreader.

Proofreading Asia offers a comprehensive, cost-effective  proofreading and editing service to students, companies and professionals in Thailand and around Asia.


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