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Proofreading Vs Editing -What’s The Difference?

The nature of proofreading and editing is similar yet different. Both provide the opportunity to ensure that your work is ideal before publishing it.

But how they manage to do that is where they differ. Whether you write a blog or an academic paper, it is essential to proofread and edit your work before submitting it. If you are a writer, a university student, or even an editor, you need to know the difference between proofreading vs editing.

Try and keep both the terms separate and understand the needs of your drafts. Proofreading is done when the writer wants to eliminate minor errors such as spelling, grammar, and other typographic issues from the document.

While editing is a more thorough process that can change the document dramatically.  Many people use the terms proofread and editing interchangeably. However, it is important to understand the difference between proofreading and editing as they are quite different.

What Is Proofreading?

When you have finalized the document and are prepared to publish it, you must proofread it to check for spelling or punctuation errors. In addition, proofreading helps eliminate the minor mistakes made by the writer. It also rectifies minor errors that were ignored by the editor while editing the document.

Proofreading does not consume much time as the goal is to skim the text and correct grammatical mistakes. However, it does perform an essential role as the proofreader understands the different conventions of writing. It helps in correcting inconsistent spellings and formatting of the text. There are different rules of formatting which the proofreader is aware of. These minor mistakes can leave a negative impression on the reader if they are not corrected or missed.

It is a high-level skill, and people hire proofreaders to ensure that the work they are publishing meets certain quality standards. Two examples of proofreading are given below:

  1.  “A lot of people enjoy reading.” Proofreading can help eliminate spelling errors, such as:  “A lot of people enjoy reading.”
  2. “Let's go out for an ice cream.” It can also help with punctuations, such as: “Let’s, go out for an ice cream.”

What is Editing?

Editing goes beyond the technical details of the drafts. It is mostly concerned with eliminating the ambiguity of the text. Editing is performed on the first draft prepared by the writer. It can help eliminate inconsistent structuring, improve the quality of the work, and increase readability.

It is all about checking if the meaning of the text makes sense or not. It even checks the facts and figures used by the writer. Editing focuses on providing comprehensible consistency of language in the text. It ensures that your write-up is perfect and the intended ideas are well connected.

You need to edit your first draft to make the text truly shine. There are also times when the writer chooses a phrase that does not make sense. Editing can help in replacing it, so the argument and the context remain on point. Two examples of editing are given below:

  1. “Money is counted by bankers.” This sentence is in a passive voice. After editing, it can be corrected as; “Banker counts the money.”
  2. “We ate dinner then baked dessert.” The sentence structure can be improved as; “We ate dinner and baked a dessert.”

Basic Differences Between Proofreading and Editing

Proofreading and editing differ from each other in many ways. So, if you are confused about proofreading vs editing? Please continue reading to understand the primary differences between editing and proofreading.

1.     Turnaround Time

Editing has a longer turnaround time because it is done on the first draft. The editor has to edit the text’s tone, the appropriateness of the chosen words, and the structure of the text.

The job of the proofreader is to read each sentence and check whether it makes sense or not. Therefore, the turnaround time of proofreading is slightly shorter as the proofreader is checking for spelling mistakes, punctuations, and formatting. Proofreading is the final check before the draft is deemed ready for publishing.

2.     Stages at Which They Are Done

Editing takes place on the first draft prepared by the writer. After that, the editor can take the document through multiple revisions or drafts. This process goes on until the document can be classified as the final draft.

On the other hand, proofreading is done on the final draft to correct minor mistakes that the editor might have missed or ignored. It also further improves the formatting of the final document before publishing.

3.     Reduction of Words

In the editing process, unnecessary words are reduced to ensure that the text becomes clear and concise. It is important to ensure that the words used make sense and the text is easy to read. 

On the other hand, when you proofread the final draft, you check the words’ spellings but do not remove any words.

4.     Time Consumed

A lot of time is consumed during editing as the editor aims to make sure that the text makes sense. The overall quality of the text is checked line by line, which is a time-consuming process.  During editing, passive voice, syntax, and semantics of the sentences are also checked. 

Proofreading is done to check the spelling mistakes and modify the formatting errors of the draft. Comparatively, less time is required to proofread a document as it does not involve major changes.

5.     Problems Addressed

The editor suggests changes in the sentence structure and checks the document to ensure its factual accuracy. The proofreader’s job is to point out grammatical and spelling errors in the document and make it perfect. 

Which Service Do You Need - Proofreading vs Editing?

Editing and proofreading are two different processes of revision. The choice of which service is right for you depends on your needs. No need to get confused about proofreading vs editing services; this article covers everything for you. Before you spend your money on any service, be sure about what you need? Consider the requirements of the document and decide whether you need a proofreader vs editor.


A proofreading service can eliminate the surface-level errors in your writings. So, essentially it is an opportunity to give your work a final polish before it goes to publishing and in the hands of the readers.

1. Students and Researchers

Students and researchers should use proofreading as it corrects minor mistakes in their documents. If you are a student, you need to submit error-free assignments to get good grades. It is a crucial step before submission, as your grades depend upon your use of language.

If you are a researcher, you need a proofreader who can eliminate your documents’ grammatical and punctuation errors. So, you can publish your work without facing rejection due to minor errors.  As a researcher, you even have to make sure that your text does not have capitalization issues. Proofreading is the final check that can ensure that your work is free from mistakes before being submitted for publishing.

2. Authors and Novelists

If you are an author or a novelist, you need a proofreader to proofread your work before publishing it. Of course, you do not have to waste your money on editing services as you have already mastered the art of wordsmithing. But proofreading is a must as minor grammatical or punctuation mistakes can negatively impact your career.

Proofreading does not question the overall intention of the text but focuses on making the manuscript error-free and ensuring the technical quality of the text.

3. Editors

Yes, you read that right. Editors need proofreaders to ensure that the work is free of all minor errors before publishing. Editing is the first process of revision that can help in modifying the document. The next stage is proofreading which helps in correcting the modification errors which the editors might have missed.

They need to adhere to the quality conventions of writing before the work is published. The editor who has prepared the draft at times is not aware of their mistakes. Therefore, they need proofreaders to correct the missed or ignored typographical errors.


Editing can improve the sentence structures and makes your write-up adhere to the formal conventions of writing. In addition, editing eliminates unnecessary words and aligns the text with its context.

1. Academic Writers

If you are producing academic work, you must ensure that you opt for an editing service. It is because academic writing tends to be very professional and must deliver quality work. Therefore, academic writing has no room for mistakes.

Editing can help you improve the quality of the draft and make it readable for the audience by making extensive but necessary changes. Therefore, academic writers need to take the editors’ suggestions so that their published work is reliable.

2. Business Professionals

To build a relationship of loyalty with your customers, you need to produce quality work.  Every business professional must ensure that their work goes through an edit to ensure that quality is met before publishing. The edited work can help you in converting your prospects to leads.

As a business professional, you need to produce quality content and attract the right customers. Therefore, your content must use correct phrases and sentences which are catchy and hook your target audience in. An editing service can ensure that your text meets the requirements of your intended audience.

3. ESL Students

If your first language is not English, then you need to choose an editing service. As an ESL learner, you need to ensure that your written work makes sense and is readable. In addition, there may be challenges for you in ensuring quality. Therefore, you need an editor to help you make necessary amendments before you publish it.

As an ESL student, you need not fall into the argument of editor vs proofreader as your requirements call for an editor who can get your work ready for publishing.

Final Thoughts

Let’s end the debate of proofreading vs editing as both aim to produce high-quality content. However, you must understand the differences between proofreading and editing so you can achieve your goals easily.

 If you want to ensure that your content is perfect, pay attention to the differences between proofreading and editing. With editing, your document can become more concise and logical. While proofreading ensures that minor grammatical and spelling mistakes are corrected.

The experts can help you ensure that you find the right words to convey your message. In this way, your audience will be able to trust your words. Once your content has gone through the proofreading or editing process, it becomes perfect and ready to be published. Quality work is essential whether you are a student or professional, as it can help accomplish your objectives.

No matter if you need assistance with writing, editorial services, or a reputable publisher to push your book to the top, Pro Book Writing can help. Our team of book writing and publishing experts has already helped a number of authors earn recognition.

Also, if your book is in the editing or proofreading phase, we can help you reach your final draft without a hassle.

We provide a broad range of services including ghost writing, editing, script writing, book trailers, book design, book marketing and a lot more.

For information about  our services, feel free to get in touch with us or  get a quick quote here. We will love to assist you with your book!

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