Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Editing and Proofreading

editEditing vs Proofreading

Many people use the terms editing and proofreading interchangeably, but there is actually a substantial difference between the two. Both words refer to checking documents for accuracy, but there is more to the process than that.

Proofreading tends to be more of a straightforward exercise than editing. Proofreading is done when you check a document for spelling and grammatical accuracy as well as ensuring that the syntax is in order. Programs such as Microsoft Word help us to proofread our own work by including tools such as the spelling and grammar function. These should never be relied upon completely as the program does not have the ability to pick up on some contextual errors, or will tell you that things are incorrect when they are not in that instance. You should always proofread your own work, and if the document is particularly important, have another person check it over for you as well.

Editing is a much more involved process than proofreading. Certainly proofreading is involved in editing, but there is more to editing than fixing typos or grammar errors. When editing a text you are looking at the document as a whole and checking that it has been put together in the best possible way. Editing can involve checking facts to ensure that information included in a text is accurate. This can involve a lot of research, which is one reason that editing is much more time consuming than proofreading.

Editing also involves checking that the document makes sense overall and does not have any fundamental inconsistencies. This often involves several revisions of the text and may require that portions of the document are removed, changed or that more text is added to make communication clearer. When you are editing a document in Microsoft Word, you can use the track changes option, which highlights suggestions for the original author to use in their document.

Proofreading is an essential part of producing a good document because errors and poor grammar inhibit communication and reduce the validity of what you are trying to convey. Imagine that you were presented a document written by a teacher that was full of spelling mistakes: would you trust them to teach your child well? Probably not.

Editing is an important process that maximizes the effect of the piece that you are writing. If the document has been well written and edited, then it will be accurate and easy to read and understand.

1. Proofreading checks documents for spelling, grammar and syntax errors
2. Proofreading is a part of editing
3. Editing also involves checking the overall structure of a document for continuity
4. Editing can involve checking a document for factual accuracy

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  1. I enjoyed reading your blog, and I agree with everything you say…in fact, I think I have tried all of your suggestions at one time or another. I don’t find that it encourages people one way or the other.

  2. There is an even larger difference between proofreading a document and proofing typeset copy for a book print. The latter you do not read anything! You compare manuscript to copy… character by character, line by line including all spacing and font sizes to make sure it is identical to the manuscript and fits the uniformity of the book specs.


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