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Copy editing: What does it really mean?

Within the world of professional writing, there exists an art form unknown to many around the world. Unfamiliar to many and mastered by even fewer, we are, of course, referring to the majestical practice of copy editing. To those thinking, “...editing…seriously?” momentarily suppress your suspicions. As most know, editing is a process of revising and correcting mistakes made in a piece of writing. This is editing in its broader form and can include fixing spelling mistakes, poor grammar, or incomplete sentences. Edits such as these are fairly technical and are accompanied by set rules and structures that cannot be argued against.


Copy editing does all that, but it does so much more. More importantly, copy editing is focused on one thing and one thing only: quality. Well, quality and correctness, but ultimately, copy editors look to improve the quality of a piece of writing by any means available to them. It is the job of copy editors to provide critiques and revision suggestions that help the author improve their writing. So, what does this job entail for employees?


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What's the Difference Between Copy Editing and Proofreading?

While copy editing includes the act of proofreading, proofreading does not contain all the duties designated to a copy editor. Copy editing describes the entire process of editing a piece of writing and consists of a multitude of tasks and responsibilities, one of which includes proofreading.


Proofreading is typically one of the last tasks a copywriter will perform prior to submitting a piece of writing. It is a full readthrough of the piece dedicated solely to correcting spelling and grammar, fixing formatting issues, evaluating a piece's visual appearance, and finalizing a piece for publication. Many copy editors will do their own proofreads; however, some individuals specialize in such a task.


In addition to proofreading, copy editors are tasked with:

  • Enhancing writing quality

  • Enhancing discussion quality

  • Ensuring the thesis statement is written and argued

  • Ensuring writing is in accordance with the author's chosen style guide (APA, MLA, Chicago)

  • Ensuring that tone is consistent

  • Examining the structure of an argument

  • Cutting unnecessary content

  • Checking facts

  • Checking math


Many factors must come together to make a piece of writing great, which is where copy editing becomes an art in and of itself.


Is Copy Editing a Difficult Job?

There are plenty of pieces of writing out there that lack even the most minute of spelling mistakes. But how can this be? How can pieces of writing containing errors possibly sell better than those without? That is the challenge that comes with being a professional copy editor. A good copy editor can fix each and every mistake a piece of writing has to offer, but that doesn’t guarantee success. A copy editor must be able to spot the gaps between a writer's intentions and an audience's desires and then know how to fill in and fix those gaps. While this may seem a tad over the top in terms of sentimentality, it is in this way that copy editing becomes an art, as it requires nuance, intuition, and style.


Copy editors must also be able to juggle multiple perspectives simultaneously. They must consider the perspective of the author and that of the intended audience and the potential effects of their personal biases.


Have All Your Copy Editing Needs Met at Making A Way Writing Services

So, is copywriting a difficult job? With everything said, copy editing may seem like an overwhelming task of untold complexity and variation, but anyone can do copy editing. Those with experience in the field, dedication toward the craft, and a passion for writing are likely to have an easier time than those just starting out, but copy editing is a task where practice makes perfect.


For those who are unable to practice but still want their writing edited with the same experience, dedication, and passion listed above, look no further than Making A Way Writing Services. We offer a wide range of writing services, from copy editing and proofreading to article writing and ghostwriting. To learn more about the ins and outs of copy editing, schedule a private consultation.


Photo courtesy of Vecteezy.com

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