I'm trying to concisely convey that what's presented is not the author's exact original work, but has been edited with conservation of content, voice, and style in mind, changing only to e.g. fix misspellings, add a missing space after a period, capitalize the first letter of a sentence, remove manually-inserted newlines so the text can be reflowed, delete a duplicate sentence, split into paragraphs a text without any.

A short phrase would do too. The most important thing is that virtually everybody reading it interprets it as intended.

Close things I don't like:

  • "conservatively edited": could be misinterpreted. Was an unimportant paragraph deleted? etc.
  • "proofread" - proofreading technically means just marking mistakes, not correcting them, and doesn't really include things like reformatting for a new display medium.
  • "edited for grammar": doesn't include all above classes of edits, and potentially includes edits specifically not made, like rephrasing technically-correct sentences.
  • Just googling your question title takes me to "proofreading", and from there googling for its definition gives an answer. That's one way to research. See also: Proofreading vs copyediting at nybookeditors.com/2016/05/…
    – NVZ
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 4:41
  • Proof reading is not editing - when a document is proof read, it is marked up to indicate errors, bu it is not edited. Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 5:05
  • You can say something like, 'this document has been lightly edited for clarity.' What you describe in the body of the post is what I would call light editing, but in the question you mention grammar. In my experience as an editor editing for grammar often means rewriting a sentence, which can lead to even deeper edits. It really depends upon the quality of the original writing, so it is possible to do light grammatical editing also. Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 5:11
  • @NVZ I did google it, "proofreading" doesn't work. But thank you for mentioning "copyediting", that might be right, I'll look into it a little more.
    – twhb
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 5:15
  • @UbuEnglish thanks for the suggestions. Maybe I was wrong to include "grammar", I never, for example, exchange a word for a synonym. The issue I have with "lightly edited" or "conservatively edited" is that one might interpret it incorrectly - was an unimportant paragraph deleted? etc.
    – twhb
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 5:16

1 Answer 1


As suggested in comments on the question, "copyediting" seems to be what I'm looking for. It includes "mechanical editing" (spelling, punctuation, capitalization, etc) as well as things like correcting inconsistencies, removing repetition, and imposing structure, "while respecting personal stylistic preferences [of the author]".

Copyediting could also include more drastic rewriting, which I don't intend, but it seems that good copyediting either avoids it or does it in a way somewhat-artfully consistent with the original work. It seems that the goal of copyediting is to do as I described.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.