Copyediting/Proofreading Services

I use a wide variety of resources and my more than 30 years of experience at improving written communications to:

  • Assess punctuation, grammar and spelling for correctness
  • Suggest better sentence structure
  • Verify facts and accuracy
  • Point out where your reader may not understand
  • Keep your copy consistent – both in what it says and how it looks
  • Suggest typography enhancements

My job is to make suggestions, not to rewrite your copy or to tell you what to do. The final decision is yours; if you choose not to accept my suggestions, that’s fine. After all, it’s your newsletter, brochure, etc., and you must be happy with the final product. (Just remember to keep your reader in mind when making your decisions.)

  • Your personal preferences, such as using an em dash instead of an en dash
  • Your stylebook (if you have one and get a copy to me)
  • Your company intranet (if you give me access)
  • Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary
  • The Associated Press Stylebook
  • The Gregg Reference Manual
  • The library, encyclopedias, atlases and other official authorities
  • The Internet

When I edit/proofread copy, I reference the following resources in this order:

I also maintain a preference list (item 1 above) for each client, so, from project to project, I can keep terms and preferences consistent.

I was a typesetter back when formatting was done on proprietary systems, like Compugraphic – rather than on the personal computers of today – and typesetters, or formatters, were schooled in the design, style, arrangement and appearance of typeset matter. So, to say I “edit for typography” means I look for things like:

  • Dashes ( – or — ) vs. hyphens ( – )
  • Fraction style consistency (full-size vs. superscript/subscript characters)
  • Quotation marks (also known as “smart quotes”) vs. inch marks (or “dumb quotes”)
  • Apostrophes ( ’ ) vs. foot marks ( ‘ )Heading consistency – styles, fonts, sizes and correctness of use; spacing above and below; and column head alignment on baseline
  • Leading consistency – the amount of space between lines of text and paragraphs
  • Kerning – closing gaps between certain letter combinations, such as the capital “A” and capital “W”Indentation and alignment of paragraphs, bullets, tables and graphics
  • Inappropriate double spaces
  • Line endings – widows, orphans and rivers; deep ditches in the right margin; end-of-line hyphenation; and inappropriate word/date breaks

Some clients like to send me “raw” (not formatted) copy, because they want their copy as “clean” as possible before it is flowed into layouts. Remember, however, if you send me raw copy, I will be able to check some of the typography items listed above (such as dashes vs. hyphens), but not all (such as kerning and line endings). That’s why some clients prefer to have me edit a job twice – once to clean up the grammar, punctuation, content and consistency, and the second time to verify corrections were made and to clean up typography.

Using my services allows you to concentrate on the big-picture items, while I take care of the details.