Copy and developmental editing

I offer two types of editing service: copy and developmental. But unless you've used an editor before, you might be wondering what these are and which one you need! 


Below I summarise each type of editing I offer, so you can start to decide which is best for you. I also summarise proofreading as it is often confused with editing.

Copy editing

During copy editing I will:

  • improve the readability of your document
  • correct grammar, spelling and punctuation errors
  • make the style and word choices consistent throughout the document
  • flag any inconsistencies, gaps and contradictions 
  • check your text meets any requirements, such as those for word count or basic formatting.

Copy editing is good for when you're mostly happy with your content and messages, but you want to make sure you're expressing yourself in the best, most professional way. 

Developmental editing

During development editing I will give advice on: 

  • increasing your content's alignment with the document's purpose and audience
  • how to meet any document requirements
  • the structuring of your document 
  • increasing the clarity and effectiveness of your writing 
  • closing gaps in your document
  • the presentation of your information, for example, where tables or figures are needed.

Developmental editing is good for when you know you need overall improvement of your document or when you're unsure how to adapt your existing content to meet a new purpose. During developmental editing, I don't make corrections or changes directly to the text, except to give you examples. This means you might also need copy editing once you're happier with the content and structure. I have combined and reduced fees for developmental plus copy editing.


Developmental editing can be a little hard to define and different editors do different things. You might also see the terms 'substantive editing' and 'line editing'.  


Proofreading and editing are often confused but they are actually quite different services. 


Proofreading works only on final, complete documents. These documents might have already passed through developmental and copy editing services. A good proofreader won't accept a document that's not yet finished.


Proofreaders find and fix errors such as typos, grammar mistakes and poor formatting and layout. If they find bigger errors, such as your document's message or structure being unclear, they might flag this, but won't work to correct the issue. 


As it's a specialist skill, I don't offer proofreading services. I suggest being a little wary of service providers who use 'editing' and 'proofreading' interchangeably.