Blue Flower Editing
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Three levels of editing

What level of editing do I need? That’s a question I’ve heard a few times. It can be difficult to distinguish between the different levels/types of editing. Here are three levels of editing and their definitions.

Word-level edit (proofreading)
Proofreading is performed as the last step before publication, after the material has been edited, laid out, and designed. This edit checks for typos as well as spelling, grammar, typos, and usage errors (done as a final step to catch any lingering typos and format glitches).

Sentence-level edit (copyediting)
This edit checks for grammar and punctuation, spelling, clarity, syntax, language usage, awkward sentence construction, paragraphing, and wordiness. Copyediting has three levels: light, medium, and heavy. Please see the image below to get an idea of what the different levels of copyediting look like. 

Amy Einsohn’s  The Copyeditor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications , p. 12.

Amy Einsohn’s The Copyeditor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications, p. 12.

Big picture edit (content/structural)
This edit looks at your piece as a whole and assess what works, what doesn’t, and why; looks at structure, organization of information, logic and flow of arguments, and ideas; assesses the organization, content, style and tone, language, meaning, coherence, and flow of the piece; reorganizes, adds, or deletes content as needed; and ensures the material is suitable for the intended audience.


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Antonn Park