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Editorial Services

Developmental Editors


Copyeditors ensure correct use of language and consistent style within a manuscript. Levels of copyedit vary depending on the needs of a manuscript and on the publishing schedule and budget. Levels are typically referred to as light, medium, or heavy. Even within these levels, publishers sometimes have different expectations, depending on the publication. The following tasks are often required at each level, however.

Light-level copyeditors

  • Correct errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, usage, etc.
  • Ensure consistent style for capitalization, hyphenation, number treatment, etc.
  • Check sequencing, such as alphabetical order or numbering in lists
  • Check cross-references, footnotes, and references to art, photos, tables, charts, and other display elements
  • Flag inappropriate language
  • Call attention to potential libel or plagiarism
  • Query authors regarding inconsistency and apparent errors in fact or logic

Medium-level copyeditors

  • Complete all light-level copyediting tasks
  • Make sure headings are parallel and revise as necessary
  • Call attention to awkward, unclear, or ambiguous passages, clich├ęs, jargon, and mixed metaphors
  • Correct overuse of passive constructions
  • Correct overuse of parentheses, italics, or other typographical devices
  • Correct lapses in tone
  • Call attention to detours or repetition
  • Check for internal consistency in chronology, percentages, and logic
  • Ensure that key terms are handled consistently
  • Ensure that previews, summaries, and end-of-chapter questions reflect content
  • Query authors regarding missing information

Heavy-level copyeditors complete all tasks of light- and medium-level copyediting and also improve sentence structure and the flow of text in general. These editors are sometimes referred to as substantive editors, described separately in more detail.

Copyeditors sometimes also fact-check, format manuscripts, or code manuscripts for composition. These tasks are not assumed to be part of the job, however, and need to be discussed. For copyeditors of fiction, see also fiction editors.


I wanted to tell you how helpful and comprehensive your editing work was for the annual report. Your edits were above and beyond what we’d normally expect for copyediting, and it was fun to work on the project with you so closelylarge-white-quotes


Cristal Guderjahn