Line Editing vs. Copy Editing | Editor World

What is Line Editing versus Copy Editing?

Although there are similarities between the various levels of editing, line editing and copy editing are two different things. Some of the similarities are that both line editors and copy editors examine the document in detail and often use Track Changes Markup to show the revisions that were made and to insert any comments where additional work is needed. However, line editing and copy editing occur in separate stages of the editing process and the skillsets of line editors and copy editors differ.


A line edit is focused on the content, style, and language use within the manuscript. A professional line editor may point out sections that can be improved, parts where the style is inconsistent, issues with pacing, or overuse of certain words or phrases throughout the manuscript. Professional line editing can help writers improve their skills by becoming more aware of writing tendencies that can be adjusted in the future. Professional line editing always comes before a copy edit of the document.


A professional copy edit focuses on the document at a more technical level. For self-publishing authors who can’t afford to pay for line editing, starting with a round of copy editing is a good way to help you understand the state of your manuscript. A professional editor who focuses on copy editing may review for clarity and readability as well as flow, grammar, word usage, spelling, and punctuation. A professional copy editor corrects grammar or spelling errors, fixes punctuation, and makes suggestions as needed. Editor World’s rates for copy editing, which include examining the clarity, readability, flow, grammar, word usage, spelling, and punctuation of your document, start at $0.021 per word.


The final stage of editing is proofreading. A professional proofreader finds and fixes the last few issues in a document. The proofreader makes sure that the spacing between sentences is consistent, typos are eliminated, and other remaining issues are resolved. The cost of proofreading is often lower than the cost of editing, but costs can vary from company to company or from editor to editor.

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