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What is the difference between an editor and a proofreader?


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#1 Caterina

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 04:50 PM

My editor's website talks about professional proofreading services. Is that the same thing as editing?

(Wow I sound like such a noob)

#2 RC Lewis

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 04:54 PM

Editing is a very broad word and can include many things, of which proofreading is the most basic. Proofreading means catching typos, punctuation or grammar errors, etc. If your characters are flat, the proofreader doesn't care. If your dialogue is wooden, ditto. If your plot as a whole is impossible to follow, the proofreader couldn't care less. All a proofreader does is make sure the copy follows the rules of English.

At the more involved end of the editing scale is substantial or structural editing. That's where the editor *does* care about whether the characterization works, whether the pace is right, etc., and will make comments on such where there are problems.
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#3 Caterina

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 04:57 PM

Wow, that makes ten times more sense. Thanks RC! I went with what she called 'copyediting' and it included the structural editing. But the word 'proofread' threw me off.

#4 Leonardo Wild

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 10:58 PM

Rather than just the most basic, it is the final step. A proofreader reads the proofs of galley copies. As RC Lewis explained, the typos, word-usage consistencies, punctuation, widows, orphans, and such. Basically, the text is supposed to be in the final and last stage just before going to the printer. It is even formatted just as it will be seen in book form. So the proofreader must make sure that any changes done during the setting and designing of the text and graphics are as they should be. Usually, a writer can get to see the galley copies and proofread them, those will go back to formatting, and then they go to the in-house or freelance proofreader. Basically, you can say that it is the proofreaders fault if any word has been misspelled, commas placed wrongly, etc. Some mistakes will be there that neither the writer nor the editor nor the style editor have made, as during the design and page setting, fiddling with the text to make it fit on the page could have caused such an issue. Hope this helps, too.




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