When it comes to a manuscript, many writers get confused between what exactly editing and proofreading involve. Basically, these are two different stages of document preparation. Every author should, if they want to present their best manuscript, hire a professional proofreading and editing service. This is usually organised once they have finished writing the first draft. There is an abundance of online proofreading and editing services which makes it easy for authors to hire that second pair of eyes. However, in order for them to help you express your thoughts clearly and coherently, it is key that the editor and proofreader you choose are familiar with not just your genre but the area of work and the subject-specific conventions.

By definition, you could say that proofreading is a surface-level check. The final check being performed on a document. So, what does a proofreader look for? They are checking for misspellings, incorrect/missed punctuation, inconsistencies (textual and numerical), and so on. When it comes to editing, this looks at different aspects of the story by correcting issues at the core of your writing such as sentence construction and the clarity of language. A thorough editing will not only help improve the readability of your story but also its clarity and the tone of the text. An editor will scrutinise and polish your writing into a smooth narration.

Let’s look at some of the main differences between proofreading and editing:

Having examined the differences the question is, when should you choose to use a proofreading service? You should opt for a proofreading service when you are confident of the language and structure of your manuscript. It should only require basic grammar checks to eliminate misspellings, typographical errors, and punctuation errors. This means your document has been edited but just needs a final check before submission for publication.

When it comes to editing, you should hire an editing service if you feel your document needs substantial revisions. These will give it clarity, readability, and flow. You also want to be able to collaborate extensively with your chosen editor in order to polish and refine your writing

There are some online editing services who offer proofreading as a separate service, while others include it as part of the editing service. There are others who only specialise in proofreading. In other words, an editing service can include proofreading but that does not mean that a proofreading service includes editing.

Whichever you opt for remember that both proofreading and editing are required to improve the quality of any writing. Both services work on different aspects of your writing in order to transform your document, whether it is a research manuscript, an essay, or a grant proposal, into an eloquent and worthwhile written communication. All you have to do is ensure you get a good service provider and double check exactly what services are offered before committing to a contract for those services.

Mentoring Writers have been reviewing and editing manuscripts for published authors from many countries for a number of years. We also mentor new and developing writers of all ages, worldwide and have a wide and varied experience in the craft of writing. If you need help with your writing then check out our website or email us at contact@mentoringwriters.co.uk

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