The Difference Between Editing and Proofreading

The writing process is technically made up of five different steps. Prewriting, writing, revising, editing and publishing is one version of those five different steps.

Prewriting, Writing, Proofreading, Editing and Submitting

That’s another variation. Of course, if you look through books and websites you’ll find quite a few other variations. But the bottom line is there is some confusion, the difference between Proofreading and Editing.

Why are there two different steps in the writing process that mean the same thing?

Well, they don’t really. A Supaproofreader will cover both steps. All you have to do is submit what you have written and we’ll take it the rest of the way to the Publish or Submit part.

But, proofreading and editing are different. They are actually two different sides of the same coin, but they have two different purposes. Let’s take a closer look.


Proofreading is actually the tougher of the two in my book. When you look your paper over after writing it, you should look for better ways of writing. You have awkward sentences that need some touching. You have words that don’t quite fit and you could make decisions about replacing them with more effective words.

You’re not just looking for errors in awkward sentences and weak words. You should look for places where you could be clearer. You should try to find places where you could make a stronger argument. Add sentences where explanations need to be. Proofreading is about tightening up your work and making your writing that much better.


Editing is where you look your work over for the actual grammar and spelling errors. That’s when you look through your document for all the “Red” squiggly lines – I can’t imagine anyone doing it with a typewriter anymore, but I do believe some old schoolers still exist. Just don’t consider every red squiggly line an error. “Supaproofreader” from a few paragraphs up and “schooler” in the last sentence technically are errors. But, I’m not changing them. I meant them just the way they are.

Don’t forget to look at grammar errors too. Subject and Verb agreement, Punctuation, Capitalization…those are the errors you catch when you are editing.

Yes, proofreading and editing can overlap. Let me put it this way, if I find a spelling error while I’m proofreading I’m not going to let it go. But, that’s the difference and now you know. Like the Justice League used to say all the time… “Knowing is half the battle.”