Is it proofreader, proof reader or proof

Published on June 21, 2019 by Shona McCombes. Revised on November 27, 20trăng tròn.

Proofreading means carefully checking for errors in a text before it is published or shared. It is the very last stage of the writing process, when you fix minor spelling & punctuation mistakes, typos, formatting issues & inconsistencies.

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Proofreading is essential for any text that will be shared with an audience, whether it’s an academic paper, a job application, an online article, or a print flyer. Depending on your skills and budget, you can choose to lớn proofread the text yourself or to hire a professional.


Table of contents


Proofreading example

In the publishing industry, proofreaders usually kiểm tra a printed “proof copy” of the text và mark corrections using specialized proofreading marks. In other fields, though, professional proofreaders often work with digital texts and make corrections directly using the traông chồng changes feature in Microsoft Word or Google Docs.


Proofreading vs editing

Editing & proofreading are different steps in the process of revising a text. Editing can involve sầu major changes lớn nội dung, structure và language, but proofreading focuses only on minor errors and inconsistencies.

Often a text will go through several stages of editing before it is proofread. The table below shows some common steps in the editing process.

The four stages of editing and proofreadingType of editingWhat it involvesStep 1: Content editingStep 2: Line editingStep 3: Copy editingStep 4: Proofreading
Revising an early draft of a text, often making significant changes to lớn the nội dung and moving, adding or deleting entire sections (also known as developmental or substantive editing).
Revising the use of language lớn communicate your story, ideas, or arguments as effectively as possible.

This might involve sầu changing words, phrases và sentences and restructuring paragraphs to lớn improve the flow of the text.

Polishing individual sentences to lớn ensure correct grammar, clear syntax, & stylistic consistency, often following the rules of a specific style guide (such as APA or MLA).

Copy editors don’t change the nội dung of a text, but if a sentence or paragraph is ambiguous or awkward, they can work with the author to improve it.

Carefully checking for any remaining errors, such as misspelled words, misplaced punctuation, and stylistic inconsistencies.

In print publishing, proofreaders are also responsible for checking the formatting (e.g. page numbers và line spacing).

Do I need to go through every stage?

It depends on the type và length of text. You don’t need lớn strictly follow the division of tasks shown above sầu, but a good piece of writing will nearly always go through a similar process of revising, editing và proofreading.

In the traditional publishing process, the stages are clearly divided, with different professionals responsible for each revision. A separate proofread of the final print version is necessary, especially because new typographical errors can be introduced during production.

However, in texts that don’t need lớn be formatted for mass printing, there is often more overlap between the steps. Some editorial services combine copy editing và proofreading inkhổng lồ a single stage (sometimes called proof-editing), where grammar, syntax và style are addressed at the same time as minor spelling and punctuation errors.


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Proofreading tips & tricks

Basic proofreading skills are important for anyone who writes. For everyday texts, such as business reports, blogs, or college papers, there are some techniques you can use to lớn proofread efficiently and effectively before sharing your work.

Edit your writing first

Before you get khổng lồ the final stage of proofreading, make sure you’ve thoroughly revised và edited your work. There’s no point spending time fixing minor errors if you might later remove whole sections or rewrite paragraphs. Only proofread once you’ve got a completed final draft that you’re happy with.

Take a break from the text

When you’ve sầu been reading & rereading the same words for hours or days, it becomes much harder lớn notice mistakes. Before proofreading, phối your work aside for a while so that you can look at it with fresh eyes.

Ideally you should wait at least a day or two before final proofreading, but if you’re on a tight deadline, even a half hour break can help.

Proofread a printout

Seeing your words on a printed page is another useful strategy for noticing things that might have escaped your attention on the screen. If the final version will be printed, this is also a good chance khổng lồ kiểm tra your formatting is correct và consistent on the page.

Use digital shortcuts

While reading from print can help you spot errors, word processing software can help you fix them efficiently. Most obviously, run a spell check – but don’t rely on the computer to lớn catch every mistake.

If you notice that you’ve sầu repeatedly misspelled a particular word, inconsistently capitalized a term, or switched between UK và US English, you can use the Find và Replace function to lớn fix the same mistake throughout the document.

Be careful, though, & don’t use “replace all”. Clichồng through & kiểm tra every replacement lớn avoid accidentally adding more errors!

Learn from your mistakes

Pay attention khổng lồ the errors that keep recurring in the text. This can help you avoid them in future.

Knowing what to lớn look out for is the most challenging part of proofreading. You’ll probably notice obvious typos, but subtle mistakes in grammar & punctuation can be harder to recognize. The table below shows some of the most comtháng errors to lớn look out for.

What lớn watch out for when proofreadingSpelling & word choice confusionsMisplaced punctuationStylistic inconsistencyFormatting issues
Confusions between homophones (e.g. there/they’re/their)Misuse of prepositions
Incorrect use of apostrophes
Inconsistent paragraph indentation and spacingMissing or misplaced page numbers, headers & footers

Choosing a proofreading service

If you lack confidence in your written English, or if you just want to lớn ensure you haven’t missed anything in an important document, you might want to lớn consider using a professional proofreading service.

There are two main options: you can hire a freelance proofreader, or you can sover your document to lớn a proofreading & editing company. There are various things lớn consider when choosing a service.

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Do you only need proofreading or also editing?

It’s important lớn have a clear idea of how much work your text requires. People often think they only need proofreading when, in reality, the text would benefit from some màn chơi of editing as well.

If you skết thúc a proofreader a document full of grammar mistakes, confusing sentences, & difficult-to-follow paragraphs, they might decline the job or recommover a different service.

Many freelancers và companies offer both editing and proofreading, either separately (with separate pricing) or combined into one service. Make sure you understvà exactly what kind of changes are included. Will the editor only correct minor errors, or will they also comment on awkward phrasings & structural issues?

Should the proofreader be specialized in your type of document?

Many different types of documents require proofreading: from literary novels to technical reports, from PhD dissertations to lớn promotional flyers. The best choice of service is usually one that’s specialized in your type of document.

While proofreaders & copy editors generally don’t need expert knowledge of the text’s content, the process will be smoother if your proofreader is familiar with the rules và conventions of the genre you’re working in.

How much does proofreading cost?

The cost of proofreading varies widely. The price depends partly on the proofreader’s location và level of experience, the type and length of text, & the turnaround time. Rates are usually calculated per word or per hour. If the service also focuses on formatting, it may be priced per page.


Proofreading rates by word count

Proofreading & editing companies tkết thúc khổng lồ have a set per-word rate with different prices based on the turnaround time. On average, you can expect khổng lồ pay $0.01–$0.05 per word (or around $2–4 per page), but services that include editing as well as proofreading will cost more. You can usually kiểm tra in advance exactly how much it will cost you.


Proofreading hourly rates

Many freelancers charge an hourly rate, which means the price will vary based on the quality and complexity of the document. Hourly rates can be anywhere between $trăng tròn và $50 per hour. Be sure to discuss the pricing & get a quote in advance – you might not realize just how long it will take to thoroughly proofread your text.


How long does proofreading take?

You should try khổng lồ leave sầu plenty of time for editing và proofreading, but if you have a hard deadline, it’s important to find a service that can deliver on time.

Most companies offer various choices of deadline, but it’s best lớn plan a minimum of 24 hours for proofreading. The price will generally be lower if you can wait longer lớn have sầu your document returned.

For very long documents, it might not be possible to lớn complete the job in 24 hours, especially if you also need editing services. For combined proofreading và copy editing, you can expect an experienced editor lớn complete around 10,000–15,000 words in a single day.

How can you kiểm tra the chất lượng và reliability of the service?

Like everything on the mạng internet, the quality of proofreading services varies widely. Do your research before you choose one. There are a few things you can check:

Qualifications: bởi vì they have professional training & experience? If you’re using a company, how vì they select và train proofreaders?Customer service: are they easily contactable and responsive khổng lồ inquiries?Complaints policy: what happens if you’re not happy with the job? Can you get a refund or a second edit?Choosing a proofreading serviceTypeAdvantagesDisadvantagesAutomated proofreadersFreelance proofreadersProofreading companies
Free or relatively cheapInstant proofreadingUnreliable for catching all mistakesRisk of introducing new errors if not used carefully
You can choose exactly who you work withYou can discuss và negotiate the job directlyNo unique controlOften longer turnaround timesThe price and deadline may not be fixed in advance
Upfront pricing (usually by word count)Fast turnaround & guaranteed deadlinesStandardized training & unique controlServices are usually fixed & non-negotiableOften no direct contact with the proofreader

Recommended proofreading service

tamquoccola.com offers proofreading services for academic và study-related documents, including essays, papers, theses, dissertations, reports, & proposals.

The basic service combines proofreading & copy editing at a rate of $0.017 per word. You can choose between a 24-hour, 3-day, or 7-day turnaround time.

tamquoccola.com is rated 4.8 on Trustpilot, with 2,070 Reviews so far.

Frequently asked questions about proofreading


Editing & proofreading are different steps in the process of revising a text.

Editing comes first, và can involve sầu major changes to content, structure & language. The first stages of editing are often done by authors themselves, while a professional editor makes the final improvements lớn grammar & style (for example, by improving sentence structure and word choice).

Proofreading is the final stage of checking a text before it is published or shared. It focuses on correcting minor errors và inconsistencies (for example, in punctuation and capitalization). Proofreaders often also kiểm tra for formatting issues, especially in print publishing.


Whether you’re publishing a blog, submitting a research paper, or even just writing an important gmail, there are a few techniques you can use lớn make sure it’s error-free:

Take a break: Set your work aside for at least a few hours so that you can look at it with fresh eyes.Proofread a printout: Staring at a screen for too long can cause fatigue – sit down with a pen và paper to lớn check the final version.

If you want to lớn be confident that an important text is error-không tính phí, it might be worth choosing a professional proofreading service instead.


The cost of proofreading depends on the type and length of text, the turnaround time, & the level of services required. Most proofreading companies charge per word or page, while freelancers sometimes charge an hourly rate.

For proofreading alone, which involves only basic corrections of typos & formatting mistakes, you might pay as little as $0.01 per word, but in many cases, your text will also require some cấp độ of editing, which costs slightly more.

It’s often possible lớn purchase combined proofreading and editing services and calculate the price in advance based on your requirements.


There are many different routes to lớn becoming a professional proofreader or editor. The necessary qualifications depover on the field – to be an academic or scientific proofreader, for example, you will need at least a university degree in a relevant subject.

For most proofreading jobs, experience and demonstrated skills are more important than specific qualifications. Often your skills will be tested as part of the application process.

To learn practical proofreading skills, you can choose lớn take a course with a professional organization such as the Society for Editors và Proofreaders. Alternatively, you can apply to lớn companies that offer specialized on-the-job training programmes, such as the tamquoccola.com Academy.