Copy Editing Explained

What Is Copy Editing?

Copy editing (also copyediting) is the process of revising written material to improve readability and fitness for its purpose, as well as ensuring that text is free of grammatical and factual errors. In the context of publication in print, copy editing is done before typesetting and again before proofreading, the final step in the editorial cycle.

The Chicago Manual of Style prefers the term “manuscript editing”. As described by Chicago, “manuscript editing encompasses any or all of the tasks along a continuum from simple mechanical corrections (mechanical editing) through sentence-level interventions (line, or stylistic, editing) to substantial remedial work on literary style and clarity, disorganized passages, baggy prose, muddled tables and figures, and the like (substantive editing). Several professional associations of editors further describe this continuum of manuscript editing in terms of levels of editing and characterize the degrees of intervention as light, medium, and heavy copy editing.”

In the world beyond traditional book and journal publishing, the term copy editing is sometimes applied to an even more expansive range of tasks, or the work is incorrectly referred to as proofreading by authors, despite their lofty expectations of the services to be provided. Besides performing the conventional copy editing duties, an editor in these non-traditional publishing environments may be expected to assess the suitability of a manuscript for publication (usually the role of an acquisitions editor or literary agent); to review content, evaluate and reshape a manuscript, or overhaul organisation and literary style (the work of a development or substantive editor).


Although people generally expect copy editors to make simple revisions to smooth awkward passages, they do not have a licence to rewrite a text line by line. They don’t prepare material on an author’s behalf either. Creating original content to be published under another person’s name is called ghostwriting.

Helping an author develop an idea into a publishable manuscript is devlopmental editing. This includes:

  • Overhauling a rough draft;
  • Identifying gaps in subject coverage;
  • Devising strategies for more effective communication of content; and
  • Creating features to enhance the final product and make it more competitive in the marketplace.

You should expect to pay more for this service.

Going Into More Detail

Copy editors ensure the language used in a document is correct in terms of spelling, punctuation, grammar and syntax, as well as making sure the document is consistent in its use of all content.

In the context of the internet, online copy refers to the textual content of web pages. Similar to print, online copy editing is the process of revising and preparing the raw or draft text of web pages for publication.

Copy editing has three levels: light, medium, and heavy. Depending on the budget and scheduling of the publication, the publisher or author should let the copy editor know what level of editing to use. The chosen type of editing will help the copy editor prioritise their efforts, and also affect the price charged.

Content Editing

Within copy editing, there is mechanical editing and substantive editing. Mechanical editing is the process of:

  • Aligning a document with editorial or house style; and
  • Keeping the preferred style and grammar rules of said publication, consistent across all content.

This refers to editing in terms of spelling, punctuation and correct usage of grammar, along with reviewing special elements, such as tables, charts, formatting footnotes and endnotes.

Content editing, also known as substantive editing, is the editing of the material, including its structure and organization, ensuring internal consistency. Content editing may require heavy editing or rewriting when compared to mechanical editing.

In addition, copy editing may change punctuation, spelling and usage for a different country. For Commonwealth countries, the Oxford British and American spelling of “organize” may be changed to “organise”, and “color” changed to “colour”.

That Is Copy Editing Explained

If you want the the best copy editing you will ever get for your document. this is where to come.

  • Book;
  • Magazine;
  • Article;
  • Essay;
  • Dissertation or thesis;
  • Website;
  • Email;
  • Blog;
  • CV or resume.

I will edit them all.

Book Me

If you need any document (letter, CV or resume, application, essay, dissertation, article, magazine, book, website, etc) edited or proofread, this is is the place to come. I have excellent English-language skills, always work quickly and accurately, and guarantee I will give you a great service at a great price.

Any Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Libre Office or InDesign document you have, and annotate any PDF, I am able to edit. I know all the style sheets out there (Harvard, Chicago, MLA and so on), so can ensure your document fits any required style.

Also, I am incredibly efficient and accurate. All my work is done to the highest standard, so any edited document I send back to you will be perfect. I pride myself on the great work I do.

I am more than happy to revise any work I do if it’s not in line with your requirements, but generally the only time that happens is when people aren’t willing to pay their final invoice (hello Heidi Mumford!).


All you have to do is contact me through my Contact page above or email me at

I’ll then send you a quote of my price and we can take it from there. If it’s a large job (over £100), I’ll send you an invoice for half the payment once you send me the document. I’ll then send an invoice for the second half once I’ve completed the work.

Once we’ve agreed a price, I will do the work and send the edited document back to you via email. If it’s a big file, via a dropbox, WeTransfer or whatever means you prefer.

You can then pay me either directly through your bank or through PayPal. All my details are on the invoice I will send you. I also have an IBAN and BIC, so international payments can be made.

I guarantee you will be happy with the work I do! Any amendments you require I will do at no extra charge. Happy customers are my reason to keep going – why I’ve been successful so far.


Lots of positive feedback is on my Testimonials page, so please take a look to see their comments. There are also reviews on FacebookYellYelpFree Index and My Local Services. I always do my best work when people really need me, so please take a look at the services I offer and get in touch!

I look forward to hearing from you! You can also email me at

2 thoughts on “Copy Editing Explained

  1. This post explains so much! Thanks for all this insight!

    1. Thank you, much appreciated.

All you have to do is email me at!

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