Copyediting: grammar and mechanics

More science than art, the copyedit takes on grammar and mechanics. The grammar review, for starters, looks for errors in subject–verb agreement, pronoun–antecedent agreement, and verb tense. Of course, all dangling modifiers will be rescued. Editing for mechanics is the fine detail work that makes for a professional copyedit:

    • punctuation — commas, dashes, hyphens, parentheses, ellipses, quotation marks
    • capitalization — proper vs. common nouns, subheads set in sentence case vs. title case
    • spelling and usage — typos, misspellings, and commonly confused words

A copyedit also flags or cleans up inaccuracies related to dates, names, and titles of all kinds; checks for missing elements such as captions or headings; and generally aims for consistent editorial style (for example, treatment of numbers) as per the applicable style manual—The Associated Press Stylebook, The Chicago Manual of Style, or The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style. If needed, I can format source citations according to one of Chicago’s two systems of source citation. Please advise if using a different system.

This type of edit does not include substantive (content) editing, rewriting, or fact checking.

Copyediting, nonfiction
$0.05/word (five cents)

Proofreading: the last review

This final review before publication scrutinizes proofs for erroneous spacing; finds any typographical errors previously missed or newly generated; and checks fonts, line/page breaks, and other formatting issues.

As Tucker Max of Scribe Media says, “You should always have your manuscript copyedited before it goes to layout, and then always have your book professionally formatted before it goes to a proofreader.”

Proofreading, nonfiction
$0.02/word (two cents)

All services

Editing method: electronic, using Word’s change-tracking and commenting features or PDF annotating tools
Rush service: a rush fee may apply for a turnaround requested within 3 business days
Minimum fee: $40

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