Since editors, publishers, reference books, and schools use these terms inconsistently, here’s a breakdown.
Copyediting and proofreading
Copyediting and proofreading deal with language — not with content. These services correct the language while preserving the meaning and voice of the original text. They are a package deal from My Two Cents Editing, and every manuscript gets two passes: the first pass by a senior editor, the second by an eagle-eyed proofreader.
- Correct mechanics: spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax, word usage
- Impose a consistent style (we default to the Chicago Manual of Style): treatment of numbers and numerals, quotations, abbreviations, acronyms, italics, bold type
Line editing or substantive editing
Line editing, also called substantive editing, is deep copyediting. Like copyediting and proofreading, line editing deals with language, but it also addresses issues of clarity, accuracy, and sense.
Line editing tasks
- Work with structure at the paragraph, section, or chapter level to improve clarity
- Improve readability and flow by writing, rewriting, or deleting material
As of May 1, 2018, we only accept copyediting projects that have been through critique or mentorship with Sun Cooper, Matthew Arkin, or Meghan Pinson.