Editing and Proofreading. What’s the difference?

Both editing and proofreading are extremely important processes for creating the best content – but they are not the same.

In this post, I am going to explain what editing and proofreading mean and why they are both important for the best content creation.

So, let’s start.


Editing is the process of reviewing and changing the text to improve the quality of the writing. Editing is all about making sure that our written piece of content is properly conveying our idea.

Editing is important early in your writing process. As soon as you have your first draft or even while building your outlines there are several things to look for when you edit.

  1. Content

Have you done everything?

  1. Overall document structure

Does the structure of your document meet the author’s and the reader’s expectations?

  1. Individual paragraph structure

Does each paragraph stick to one idea? Are there extra or missing sentences in any of your paragraphs?

  1. Clarity (Meaning)

Have you defined important terms that may be unfamiliar to your reader? Is the meaning of each sentence clear on the first reading?

  1. Style

Does your writing contain unnecessary phrases? Do you repeat a word when you could use another?

  1. Format

Have you followed the guidelines set out in your assessment brief?

  1. References

Have you appropriately cited your paraphrasing, quotations, and ideas? Are you quoting when you could/ should be summarising? Are you employing author-prominent referencing?


Proofreading is the process of looking for any errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar. Proper proofreading requires specialised knowledge and experience to be effective. This is because the human brain is good at seeing what it wants to see, not what is actually there.

When you look at a written piece of content, if you are not specialised in proofreading you may not be able to find errors in it, especially if you wrote it yourself.

Proofreading is the final process in writing. Proofreading helps to catch inaccuracies with language usage, mechanical issues and formatting errors. Get proofreading assistance here

There are four main things you should look out for when you proofread.

  1. Mechanical Accuracy

Have you followed the formatting or organizational guidelines set out in your assessment brief?

  1. Formatting of references

Have you appropriately placed your in-text citations?  Have you followed formatting details to the letter? Is your references list in proper alphabetical or numerical order?

  1. Punctuation and capitalisation

Are there full stops missing? Have you used semicolons properly?

  1. Language usage and spelling

Is your word-processing program underlining correctly in red for spelling and green for grammar?

Differences between editing and proofreading.

s.no Editing Proofreading
1 Performed on the first draft of the document and continues until the final draft Performed on the final draft
2 Enhances the language by improving clarity and readability Helps to eliminate misspellings, punctuation and grammatical errors
3 Includes word count reduction if required It does not include word count reduction
4 The editing process takes considerable time The proofreading process takes comparatively less time than editing
5 The editor needs to work with the author the proofreading process does not require as much collaboration with the author
6 It includes fixing any core issues in writing It includes fixing the surface-related issues in writing
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