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The difference between copy editing and proof reading

There are three stages to a completed piece of writing that is ready to be published:

While writing, the author follows a structure – an introduction, a body, and a conclusion (or any other structure depending on what is being written). After multiple revisions and rewriting, it goes to a copy editor.

A copy editor will check for language and grammar, logic and sequence, citations, references, and readability.

Finally, it is the turn of the proof reader. Often, authors are very close to their writing and may not be able to see what is missing. Editors may not be able to spot errors given that they have read the document multiple times.

It is the job of the proof reader to spot these and highlight them. Some of these include formatting issues such as spacing, margins, placement of tables and figures, and so on.

Often the roles of copyeditor and proof reader may be combined. However, it is a good idea to divide these tasks to ensure that the document is free from errors.

Finally, all three – the author, the copyeditor, and the proof reader – need to work with each other to come up with a document that is clear, readable, and well-formatted, to ensure a smooth reading experience.

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