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Copy-editing includes checking the correctness and consistency of spelling, grammar, punctuation, referencing and formatting. It also involves improving the quality of the writing, by enhancing its clarity, flow and readability, and helping to ensure it is suitable for its target audience.
In the traditional publishing process, copy-editing is done before proofreading, which is done – by someone else – as a final check before the book or article goes to press. However, the process varies for different forms of writing and publishing. In many cases – a student's thesis, for example – a ‘proofreader’ might simply work with the author's original text. I can be flexible about the type and level of editing or proofreading to be done, according to your needs.
Copy-editing is usually done using Word documents. I will use the Track Changes facility, so that you can see what has been changed.
I will also give you a query sheet (or a list of queries within an email), highlighting anything that seems unclear or might need to be checked.
A copy-editor usually works to a specific style guide – a set of guidelines about the publisher's, institution's or author's preferences regarding certain elements of writing: capitals, hyphens, single vs double quotes, how to present numbers, and so on. If you're working independently and don't have a 'house' style to stick to, I will ask you about your own preferences.
Before providing a quote, I generally need to see at least a sample of your draft text, which you can send to me as an email attachment.
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