My approach to line & copy editing

My approach to line & copy editing

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Line and copyediting are where I feel I can be of most use to my clients. Here are what you can expect in working with me and the broad questions you’ll be asked.

First of all, you and your writing will be treated respectfully and gently through the editing stages so that your experience of getting to the final product will hopefully be a satisfying (and not aggravating!) one for you.

Of the text, I ask the broad questions: are the key messages getting across clearly? Is it logical? Is it consistent?

What you will be asked

These are some of the questions you (and your text) will be asked:

Overall structure

  • What are your key messages?
  • Are your ideas presented logically?
  • Does the text order flow?

Paragraph & sentence structure (both copyediting levels)

  • What are you trying to get across?
  • Does each paragraph and sentence make sense?
  • Are there redundancies?
  • Are there unexplained or out-of-place terms/concepts?

The basics

  • Spelling, grammar, punctuation, acronyms, references, capitalization, etc.
  • What style does the work follow and is it properly & consistently applied?
  • Anything my editing tools flag?

What you can expect from me

My job is to help make sure that the text conveys what you want.

It’s important to me that I understand your wishes and intentions. That means

  • I will check with you for clarification if I’m not sure of anything.
copyedit deep edit example clarification
I will ask you for clarification if I don’t understand.
  • I will make concrete suggestions and present options if possible. (“If you mean xxx, then you might insert a line like ‘xyz is abc’ here for clarity. OR if you meant bbb, you could say ‘aaa’ in the next para.”)
deep review copyedit line edit
I will make concrete suggestions, so you can choose. (This one also has a reference check.)
  • Any changes I propose are just that: proposals. The final decision will always rest with you.

Recent copyediting & proofing work

You can go to my copyediting page to see some documents that I’ve had the pleasure of editing and proofing lately.

If you would like to get a sample edit, please send me a request via the contact form or email (

Cover image credit: Nic McPhee via Flickr

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