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What is the difference between proofreading and editing?

Editing Proofreading
strong points
  • 1 Check for spelling
  • 2 Check for grammar and punctuation
  • 3 Plagiarism scan
  • 4 Review of style
  • 5 Review of content logical structure
  • 6 Check for text consistency
  • 7 Word choice, terminology and jargon
Edit my paper
  • 1 Check for spelling
  • 2 Plagiarism scan
  • 3 Check for grammar and punctuation
Proofread my paper

The fundamental difference between editing and proofreading is that unlike proofreading, editing takes the big picture into account.

When you are editing a text, you look at the text as a whole and evaluate clarity, conciseness, consistency, word choice, and jargon.

Additionally, editing asks the following questions:

  • Does the text accurately convey its purpose?

  • Is audience-appropriate terminology used?

  • Does the text have consistency?


If editing is the big picture, then proofreading is on the microscopic level of revision. Its purpose is to clean up any given text

With proofreading, all of the following are important:

  • Style Guides

    (i.e. Chicago, Turabian, Harvard, etc.)

  • Mechanics

    (spelling, capitalization, punctuation, abbreviations, numbers)

  • Sentence Structure

    (punctuation, grammatical structure)

  • Regional Differences

    (British vs. American English)

Hopefully this text has helped you to clearly answer the opening question “what is editing and proofreading?”
We also hope that you can now see what difference proofreading/editing can do for your writing. When used together, you can write more effective and professional content.