Copy editing incorporates proofreading tasks, which involves correcting simple errors such as:
- Spelling – "An appel a day keeps the doctor away."
- Homophones – "There mother called them home."
- Grammar – "He gave it to my sister and I."
- Punctuation – "Kiss me." she said.
- Capitalization – "What's the deal," He asked.
Then it goes a step further to address more complex issues, such as:
- Word choice/phrasing – Looking for places where another word might better convey your meaning
- Verb tense – If you're writing in past tense, ensuring that you don't slip into present tense
- Point of view – Making sure you don't "head hop," that you share each scene from a consistent point of view
- Repetition – Ensuring you vary your word choices so a noticeable word isn't repeated in the same area
- Sentence structure – Reworking some sentences to ensure variety in length and structure
- Clarity – Pointing out areas for potential rewrite that aren't easy to follow
- Tone – Pointing out issues that don't "feel" right, such as when a character speaks in a way that doesn't match their personality (e.g. a teenager that talks like a college professor, or an inexplicably jocular tone in a serious murder mystery)
- Flow – Looking for a natural rise and fall of storytelling, and making small adjustments to smooth it out
- Consistency – Ensuring you use certain conventions the same way every time (such as commas before too), as well as ensuring details remain consistent (such as a character's eye color)