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Copy Editor vs Proofreader

January 11, 2018


Having a 2nd pair of eyes on your written content will never go out of style. Whether you’re writing your first book, drafting a cover letter for your dream job, writing your grad school dissertation or a countless number of other items, a proofreader or copy editor can help ensure your message is clear, on topic, free of typos and common grammatical oversights and more. But the tricky question is this: Do you need a copy editor or a proofreader for the content you’re developing? To answer that question, it’s important to first understand what each specialty focuses on.


The Job of a Proofreader


  • Proofreaders focus on correcting surface level errors such as spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting. A quality proofreader will ensure to pick up on the little things such as missing or doubled-words, as well as homonym issues (two or more words that have the same pronunciation, but different meanings and spelling; for example: to, too, two).


The Job of a Copy Editor


  • Copy editors dive deeper into how your content and ideas are presented to your reader. While copy editing includes all of the steps covered in proofreading, an editor will focus on making in-depth changes that make your content easier to understand, better organized and more suitable for your target audience. A good copy editor will optimize your content by providing feedback and suggestions throughout your material.  


To gain a clear understanding of what a proofreader and editor does respectively, helps to simplify your search when it comes to hiring someone to give your content a second look. Remember, proofreaders are primarily concerned with surface errors, while editors’ focus on those errors in addition to ensuring your content is well organized and easily digestible for your target reader. You can expect feedback and suggestions from an editor, while a proofreader will strictly clean up your material.


I hope this information is useful for readers out there who have been uncertain about the best approach to take when looking to polish up your work. In our next post, we will provide valuable tips that help you self-proofread your own content.


Looking to hire a proofreader or copy editor? Contact us today to receive a free sample edit of your work and an estimate for completing your project.


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