Chapter 1 - Tips for Editors

The Five Types of Editing

Before we can go over the best practices of editing, we first need to define the different types of copy editing that exist. Each type of editing comes with a different degree of responsibility and level of detail. Depending on your role as an editor, you may be responsible for one or more of these editing roles.

1. Developmental Editing – Concept Level Editing

Entire concepts and story angles may be redefined during developmental editing. This type of editing involves working with a writer as they are coming up with the overall theme of their article or story. Developmental editors offer suggestions on things like:

  • goals of the story/article
  • notes on character development
  • use of dialogue/literary devices
  • notes on voice, tone, and language

2. Substantive Editing – Paragraph Level Editing

Entire paragraphs may be changed during substantive editing. This type of editing is done by editors as they:

  • add information to support the theme
  • remove information that does not support the theme
  • reorganize paragraphs to improve flow of ideas
  • revise sentence structure and organization to improve the reader’s experience

3. Copy Editing – Sentence Level Editing

Sentences may be revised during copy editing. Editors are not looking to make large changes to the entire body of the content. Instead, they are looking to improve single sentences by:

  • eliminating redundant, unnecessary words
  • replacing repetitive words with synonyms
  • substituting weak words, phrases, and sentences with powerful alternatives
  • revising sentence structure to improve flow

4. Fact/Accuracy Checking – Information Level Editing

The substance of the copy may be changed during fact/accuracy checking. In this phase, editors ensure that the content is true, accurate, and in compliance with the assignment style guide/brief. Editors should check for accuracy on:

  • adherence to directions listed in the style guide/assignment brief
  • proper names and spelling of proper nouns
  • stats and facts
  • absolute statements (especially information that includes words like always and never)
  • links (editors should always open links and make sure they lead to the correct page)

5. Proofreading – Word Level Editing

Words or phrases may be revised during proofreading. In this final version of editing, editors are looking to correct:

  • sentence structure to improve clarity (when sentence structure is so poor it creates confusion)
  • typos
  • grammar errors
  • spelling inaccuracies
  • punctuation errors (especially comma errors)
  • capitalization errors
  • verb tense issues (subject and verb disagreements)
  • incorrect pronoun/article use
  • improper spacing (spacing should usually be one space after each period)
  • formatting inconsistencies

CopyPress uses editors in our editorial process, and they are responsible for fact/accuracy checking and proofreading. Our editors are not responsible for developmental or substantive editing.

(If CopyPress editors discover that this high-level editing is needed, they need to contact their project managers and notify them. CopyPress editors may need to occasionally do some light copy edit. If they find they are consistently copy editing, they need to contact their project managers and notify them of the ongoing problem.)

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