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Copyeditors vs. Proofreaders: A Comparison

There are undoubtedly differences between copyediting and proofreading; however, some people confuse the two terms and believe they function the same. Although the two are different, they share some similarities; they are both used to editing written texts from writers and authors. Knowing the distinction between the two will help you determine how to further enhance your output before proceeding with publication.

Copyeditors and Proofreaders. Who are they?


Are professionals who will improve the author’s output and make changes. They make sure the text is free from grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. They are also responsible for fact-checking the document and revising the content. Copyeditors ensure that the script is clear and readable. They perform edits before submitting them to the proofreaders for final verification.


Are the ones who read and scrutinize the copy of the author’s manuscript. They check the consistency of the information and the layout of such. Their primary responsibility is to ensure that there are no errors in the document before it is published. The proofreaders fix whatever mistakes the author and the copyeditors may have missed.

Proofreaders will check the following items in the text and ensure they are correct.

  • Spelling and grammar

  • Sentence Structure

  • Formatting

  • Punctuation marks (such as but not limited to a period, exclamation point, comma, colon, semicolon, question mark, dash, apostrophe, and quotation marks)

  • Consistency and accuracy of the aforementioned

Proofreaders must be keen on details and have the ability to focus on the text without distractions since their work requires concentration. Proofreaders must do their job accurately with organization and good time management skills to comply with the set deadline. Proofreaders should be able to work independently and enjoy it simultaneously.

As you can see, the two professions share some similarities. A proofreader can do some tasks of a copyeditor and vice versa. However, they differ in how proofreaders give the final touches and revisions of the document or manuscript before it is submitted for publication.

Hiring a copyeditor and a proofreader is essential because they will polish your text to the best extent possible. They are the ones to spot the errors you may have missed because you are working closely with your project. There is a high percentage that you will be blind by some of your mistakes because you precisely know what you are talking about. Hence, you tend not to realize that there are ambiguities in your sentence structure. This is when the significance of hiring a copyeditor and a proofreader takes precedence. This is a step that most self-publish writers usually skip because they deem their work perfect for publishing.

Although people frequently interchange the terms copyediting and proofreading because of the similarities of their functions. Their mastery of the profession will help you publish the most refined version of your output. Remember that the two are different in terms of tasks, and there is a novelty in knowing that.

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