Proofreading is the act of carefully combing through a document for spelling, grammatical, and typographical errors. Spurious words and sentence fragments are found and deleted or flagged for the author’s attention. Proofreading may sound simple, but I take it seriously. A good proofreader is thorough and diligent, combing through the text to find even the tiniest of errors. 

Proofreading is also the final stage of editing. Traditionally, proofreading is done after the manuscript is fully prepared for the publisher or printer, so the changes made to the manuscript are generally minimal. These days, however, many people expect more from a proofreader than simply checking for typos. 

What a proofreader does:

  • Follows or creates a style guide to ensure spellings and punctuation are consistent throughout the document
  • Carefully seeks out and flags any errors in punctuation, spelling, and grammar
  • Ensures that the table of contents has accurate chapter titles and page numbers
  • Checks that references are properly indicated
  • Looks for formatting errors, such as inconsistent usage of fonts, heading styles, margins, etc.
  • Ensures that graphs, tables, or illustrations are properly labeled within the text
  • May make minor changes in word choice if a sentence is confusing or awkward

If you need more extensive editing for your manuscript, please see our pages on copy-editing and developmental editing.

Can’t I rely on my spellchecker?

No. Spellcheckers have come a long way since they were first introduced with word processing software, but they’re far from perfect. They can certainly tell you if a word isn’t located in their dictionary, but what if your misspelling happens to be the proper spelling of another word? For example, many people type “your” when they mean to type “you’re”, a mistake that a spellchecker won’t often catch. When it comes to finding grammatical errors, spellcheckers are likewise unsophisticated. 

See how your document can benefit with a free proofreading sample

Contact me today for a free 200-word proofreading trial. Send me your manuscript (of any length) via email, and I’ll return it to you with the first 200 words edited. It only takes a moment – take the first step in making your manuscript the best it can be.

For more information on the editing process, see How the Process Works.
For prices, see Editing and Proofreading Prices.


August Editorial, 25-27 Eaton Place, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2 1EG, T: 07771 767300