Editing and proofing

Clean, consistency copy is an essential part of a professional brand. Find out how editing can take your writing to the next level. I also specialise in developing writing style guides and applying plain English.

There are may levels of editing, from structural edits that look at the flow of a document for ease of reading and logical order to editing for style, grammar, spelling and sense. 

Having worked as an editor for 25+ years – a decade of which spent in the media working as a sub-editor and proofreader – I can assist you with all levels of editing to make your writing professional and polished.

Structural editing

Structural editing looks at the flow of the entire document to make sure that information is conveyed in a logical order, that the information is relevant and that no elements are missing. A structural edit can take place at any stage of the process – it can help clarify where you’re getting stuck, whether it’s making sense or identify other areas you need to cover. It can also help tighten your document to ensure only essential information is included by removing unnecessary sections, identifying repetition or combining sections to give a more succinct view. 

Editing for style, grammar, sense etc

Once you have your words on a page, an edit for style, grammar, consistency etc can take your document to the next level. This involves combing through your document for: 

  • grammar – correct use and consistent style
  • style – consistent use of capitals, spellings, acronyms, headings,  
  • spelling – typos or misspelt words, Americanised spellings etc
  • sense and repetition – tightening up any repetition and ensuring each sentence reads well
  • voice – does it have a consistent voice and tone
  • plain English – if relevant, does it meet plain English guidelines?
  • tone – in line with branding
  • problem words and phrases – it’s/its, to/too, which/that, ‘try to’ not ‘try and’, and/but
  • problematic language – sexist terms, problematic statements, opinions creeping into factual documents, Indigenous references and general wording that could cause a backlash
  • visual elements – photos, illustrations, diagrams, logos etc are correctly positioned etc

Proofing

Lighter than an edit, proofing is the last chance to pick up any mistakes or inconsistencies before the document is published. A proofread will find any typos, misspellings, incorrect grammar, missed elements (such as a caption or credit that has been overlooked) and any glaring errors that could make your document look unprofessional.

Proofing can be delivered via a marked-up printed copy, in a document with changes tracked or made onscreen in InDesign or other publishing program.

Style guides

A writing stye guide outlines your preferred use of language when it comes to all the grey areas of grammar, spelling and style, as well as the tone of any written communications.

Choosing a ‘house style’ is about more than deciding what you prefer. Style decisions should reinforce your brand. For example, a modern, cutting-edge business would make different style choices from a more formal institution. If you want to convey a modern, friendly business, using an outdated or formal style can make you look old-fashioned and unapproachable.

A writing style guide is especially important when more than one person is responsible for writing content, so that all your written communications are consistent.

Ask about how I can help you establish a writing style guide. It can be as simple as a couple of pages up to an in-depth document. I specialise in plain English and will guide you through making brand-savvy style choices. 

I have been putting together style guides for media outlets, government departments, corporations, PR firms and small business for more than 25 years. 

Recent projects

EY Change Experience Playbook

I worked with Ernst & Young to apply their international house style to this 200+-page presentation and edit for tone, grammar and consistency to ensure one voice in a document compiled by multiple people.

The Producers – A Taste of South Australia

A thorough edit for style and grammar for this glossy book celebrating 100 South Australian food producers, working with publisher Bud Media.

Listening Tour Reflections, Commissioner for Children and Young People

An in-depth structural edit along with checking grammar, style and tone, to ensure this official document communicated its messages clearly and simply for an audience that includes young people.

A sample of other editing projects

Other clients have included...

  • Department of Premier and Cabinet
  •  Santos
  • Aboriginal Education and Employment Services
  • WorkCover SA
  • Rural Press Pty Ltd
  • Youth Affairs Council of SA
  • Housing SA
  • Primary Industries SA
  • City of Mitcham
  • HomeStart
  • Office for the Status of Women
  • Uniting Care Wesley
  • River Murray Urban Users Committee
  • SA Tourism Commission
  • Elders Pty Ltd 
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