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Proofreading and Copyediting

Whether you need Proofreading, Substantive Editing, or Developmental Editing depends on what stage of the writing process you are at and how much support you wish to have. Proofreading is the final stage that ensures the finished text is error-free and readable. Substantive Editing tackles the technical issues of writing and improves what already exists to ensure the optimal clarity of your message. Development editing takes a broader approach to bringing your ideas together into a cohesive text that is presented persuasively and effectively.

Developmental Editing

  • Working with the author to develop basic ideas into readable and concise written form.

  • Taking a global picture of the document and understanding where it can be developed and how it can be structured.

  • Designing a framework and structure for the words and the formatting of the document, ensuring main points are visibly prominent and details are easily-read.

  • Suggesting areas to improve or where greater research is needed to improve the content.

  • Cooperatively developing a style and approach to writing which ensures consistency and ease of future writing.

Developmental Editing focuses on the big picture elements of your writing and therefore takes a more active role in finalising documents. Developmental Editing can help clarify your intent and your message to ensure that the subject matter is communicated clearly to the intended audience. Additionally, Developmental Editing assists in presenting the words in the most readable and persuasive manner possible, such as by formatting titles and details in an optimal form. The result is a collaboration between you and the editor to produce high-quality, bespoke documents that align with your brand.  

Substantive Editing

  • Making the structure of the document as clear as possible, including signposting elements like headings, notes, illustrations, references and glossary.

  • Making the language appropriate and understandable for the likely reader, with vocabulary choice, grammar and punctuation that bring clarity.

  • Ensuring your message is clear and achieves its purpose.

  • Correcting or querying anything that seems to be an error.

  • Suggesting ways to reduce the length of a text, use the available space better or integrate new material most effectively.

Substantive editing seeks to solidify the technical aspects of your work. This includes adjusting the structure of the document to ensure clarity. A substantive editor may also make suggestions on content to ensure the meaning is understandable to the intended reader and convincing to read. Substantive editing also works to make the language appropriate, focusing on vocabulary choice, grammar, and punctuation.


  • Correcting errors or inconsistencies in spelling, punctuation, grammar, style and usage.

  • Checking and correcting spellings of names, for example of places or people.

  • Imposing consistency in use of, for example, italics, bold and capitals.

  • Improving clarity by rewording or reformatting text that is confusing or convoluted and suggesting structural additions to help readability such as headings or lists.

  • Highlight missing text or incomplete thoughts and addressing repeated texts.

Proofreading is an important final step in the process of producing your written materials. Hiring a professional proofreader can be a valuable investment, as a professional proofreader has the skills and experience to review written materials and to identify and correct errors, ensuring your final product is accurate and free of mistakes. Proofreaders will help you identify run-on sentences or clichés, ensure the tone and tense are consistent, and fine-tune the word choice and syntax of your manuscript. Using a proofreader ensures that typos and obvious errors are corrected and that no text is accidentally duplicated or omitted.

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