Copy editing FAQs
Copy editing is the first pair of eyes on your copy.
An experienced copy editor acts as the test market for your written product. He or she will not only spot and correct errors of spelling, punctuation, grammar, math and word use, but will know if your readers are likely to find the copy confusing, incomplete, repetitive or stilted.
The best copy editors are veteran writers and journalists who have a working knowledge of a wide range of subjects, from science to business to government to geography. We must have the resources at our fingertips to verify information on any possible subject.
Good copy editors ensure that each piece they edit not only has impeccable spelling, grammar and punctuation, but that no sentence is ambiguous, redundant, inconsistent with earlier reports, or contains language that could be construed as inaccurate, unsubstantiated, offensive, racist, sexist or biased. A quality copy editor will verify every name, professional title, geographic location, date, time element, historical reference, legislative reference and religious term, as well as every address, phone number, Web site, and other facts, allowing no exceptions for error or inconsistency. We check all math, percentages and polling statistics; we proof all charts, graphics and photo information. It is our job to translate corporate, scientific, military or legal jargon and acronyms into plain English.
Copy editing is key to credibility. Your content must be accurate and engaging, of course, and good copy editing cannot make up for poor content – but a lack of quality copy editing that allows sloppy errors will ruin even the best content.
Good copy editors will explain all corrections and suggestions to copy, and will work tactfully with writers and authors to polish each piece, while remaining respectful of the writer’s individual style.
Click here to see actual catches made by Kay Nolan before newspaper copy went to press. Contact Kay for more detailed examples of working with writers to revise articles for better clarity and readability.