Copy Editing vs Proofreading : Understanding the Difference between two Processes

Before submitting a research paper to the university or journal, one must ensure that it is free from all the errors and consists of all key elements for it to get accepted. To make sure that the research paper is flawless, scholars must perform substantive editing, proofreading, and copy-editing process. However, the majority of times, research scholars tend to assume that copy editing and proofreading are one and the same. But in reality, although the two processes go hand-in-hand, there exist several significant differences between them. To assist scholars understand the key difference between them, we, with the editors offering English editing company, have enlisted a few characteristics of copy editing and proofreading process. Have a closer look at it!

Copy Editing vs Proofreading : Understanding the Difference between two Processes

Copy Editing

Copy editing deals solely with the content. Copy editing checks if the content is cohesive, logically organized, or makes sense to the reader. This type of editing is broken down into three levels. The light, medium, or heavy copyediting. The level of editing moves from less to greater intercession with the text and can incorporate grammar/syntax, word choice/phrasing, chapter headings, style, recommendations for organization and overall cohesion.  

  • Copy editing checks for and eliminates errors in syntax, spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • It checks if there is continuity & flow and ensures that all loose threads are tied together. If you need any help in checking content for continuity, take help from editors offering copy editing services.
  • Looks out for factually incorrect statements. This is an important part of the copy-editing process, especially for non-fiction manuscripts, such as memoirs, historical pieces, etc. It also checks if the facts included in the manuscript are genuine, accurate and names & dates are appropriate.

  In short, copyediting begins with grammar, overall cohesion, and includes a more detailed review of the content in the heavier level. In this editing process, we keep an eye out for sequential slip-ups or lapses in logic, citations, captions, etc.  


Proofreading deals with the final draft of a research paper and unlike copy editing, they don’t look for errors in content or style.  

  • Proofreading checks for any typos or missing punctuation marks.
  • Eliminates repeated words, ideas or paragraphs.
  • Looks for aesthetic issues that might have unknowingly crawled up while developing the research paper. This includes words that have been accidentally segregated into two, a sentence that completes at the beginning of a new column rather than at the end of the previous one.
  • It looks for technical consistency in capitalization, font usage, spelling, numerals, hyphenation. For instance, did you use UK and USA spelling variations interchangeably, such as analyze and analyze?
  • Proofreading also looks for consistency. For example, it checks if the caption placed below the images, graphs, etc. is in coordination with the content and the same font style, size has been used throughout the entire research paper.

Neither copy editing nor Dissertation Proofreading Service process can replace one another. When you need an in-depth edit of your research paper to eliminate wordiness, tighten the language, etc. go for the copy-editing process. However, if you merely want to check for the table of contents, the accuracy of page numbers, hyphenation breaks, etc. go for the proofreading process.  

Last updated:9/7/2019 12:25:02 AM
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