Editing and

Editing by Stylus means reviewing text for content, including macro-level aspects such as completeness, overall success in getting one's point across, organization, flow, transitions, paragraphing, appropriately worded headers, tangential information, relevance to the intended audience, or tone. On a micro level, text is reviewed for aspects such as word choice, sentence structure and effectiveness, or need for footnotes or endnotes.

Proofreading by Stylus means reviewing a nearly finalized document or web site for format, including macro-level aspects such as patterns of error, numbering (pages, footnotes, endnotes, figures, lists), proper documentation for research, layout, bullets, or consistency, and on a micro level such as punctuation, grammar, subject–verb agreement, and spelling.

Formatting by Stylus means university- or journal-specific formatting and layout, and checking for discipline-specific style correctness (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.).


  • A confident and polished writer might simply want another person to review work that is ready for publication or dissemination. At this level, when a writer is deeply involved in his or her topic, or has worked and reworked the text, minor errors and omissions often go unnoticed. Proofreading by a neutral additional pair of eyes is most useful at this point.
  • A writer who knows he or she often has errors with apostrophes, homonyms, or American English grammar may request a proofreader to review text only in these specific areas.
  • A busy writer, or a busy person without enough time to write, may request an editor to identify areas of text which need more (or less) detail, need to be documented, or might alienate potential readers. This type of writer may also have a feeling that something is missing, not clear, or not quite right organizationally; he or she may have been told to whittle the document down to a certain length. In these cases, editing the content is most helpful.

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