I was working with a graphics designer who gave me three different iterations of a company logo. The last image looked identical to the second, to which I questioned, "is this the final copy?" He replied, "you should not use "final copy" as it refers to literary composition as in essays."

I don't understand why it could not be used to describe a company logo, graphic design, book, etc..

I searched the internet and found "final copy" used to describe research papers, letters, legal documents, and even manuscripts of the Hebrew bible.

In my example above I'm putting two words together "final" and "copy". They carry their literal meaning separately, where I find the context of "did you hand in your final copy to the professor?" is really just a lazy human shorthand to mean, "final copy of the research paper".

That being said, I feel in this context, "is this the final copy of the image?" --"final" is acting like an adjective and "copy" as its noun. Where as "did you hand in your final copy to the professor?" is acting like a two word noun.

Albeit the later seems like a more common expression, so that is maybe why the confusion?

Am I correct in my usage of these words?

  • This question might be more suitable for Graphic Design.SE.
    – Mick
    Dec 29, 2016 at 3:44
  • You could use final version
    – Jim
    Dec 29, 2016 at 7:32
  • Thanks everyone. I guess my point is that these words: final copy, final draft and final revision all seem to have originated from the printing press days, so what dictates that one term is more wrong to use or right to use? I feel "final copy" is more a gray area, and just suffers from a lack of use and adoption into our modern society. Maybe I've just been reading too many old books ;) final copy and final draft seem synonymous if taken metaphorically so maybe that is where I was getting confused.
    – PhotonMan
    Dec 30, 2016 at 4:58

1 Answer 1


The term final copy is used by printers for the last galley proof that the compositor (typesetter) produces before a publication is sent to the press for printing.

In the context of submitting research papers to professors, the term that you are looking for is final draft.

final draft

a final version of something (such as a document) usually after a lot of editing and rewriting

  • The final draft is due tomorrow.


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