What Is Copy Editing

Glossary > Copy Editing

💬 Definition of Copy Editing:

Copy editing is the final step in the writing process before publication. Copy editing means improving the text to be coherent while maintaining the same meaning and style. A copy editor (in charge of editing) needs to check the grammar, spelling, tone, and style and to give an overall easy flow to the entire text.

Related questions about copy editing:

What's the difference between copy editing and proofreading?

These two terms are often used interchangeably, as there are some similarities and places they overlap. Both steps involve correcting misspellings and incorrect grammar. Still, there are a few differences between the two.

Copy editing involves more editing to ensure the tone, style, and text flow while not ignoring grammar and syntax. This is the step where a copy editor ensures that readers understand the text and that everything follows a logical approach.

Proofreading is the step that follows copy editing, where someone takes care of the things the copy editor might have overlooked. Proofreaders consider the flow less, but they do care about grammar, spelling, punctuation, formatting, and page layout. 

Proofreading is a reminder of a traditional typesetting process. Before the manuscript was printed into multiple copies, there was a "galley proof," or a test copy which was printed and checked by proofreaders. This helped them spot any inconsistencies in layout or grammar before printing all the book copies.

What exactly does a copy editor do?

Copy editors review the text to correct errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling. They also ensure the tone and style of the text are the same throughout the entire writing. In some cases, copy editors also do fact-checking. 

If we talk about a magazine or newspaper article, copy editors write the headlines, captions, and other display elements. They also trim the article (if necessary) for the printed paper/magazine without losing the text's meaning.

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