Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Copy edit or proofread? Do both!

When I don’t ask someone to proof my work it’s usually because I’ve mismanaged my time, i.e. waited until the last minute and am about to miss my deadline, or I’m being lazy. I give proofreaders a long leash. “Yeah, ferret out those typos, and don’t hold back on your opinions, either.”

When someone proofreads, what are they looking for? For example, a copy editor might change that sentence to “When someone proofreads, for what are they looking?” You know, so the sentence doesn’t end with a preposition. (Though that sentence ends with a preposition! LOL. Get it?)

A copy editor fine tunes the writing. Makes sure the syntax, grammar, and punctuation are correct. A copy editor makes revisions. A proofreader, on the other hand, checks a reproduction, or dummy copy, of the finished piece, such as a book or newsletter. A proofreader makes sure there are no typographical errors, whether in the manuscript or introduced in the production process.

Southern California Edison provided this excellent example distinguishing the two. The email was proofread but sort of missed out on the copy editing phase.

You are forecast to exceed your monthly spending goal for Service Account x-8464.
Your next bill is currently projected to be $35. That's $0 OVER your monthly spending goal of $35.
Your bill-to-date for the current billing period is estimated at $16 with 18 days remaining in this billing cycle. This means there is still time to reduce your costs!