Copy editing

The Editors’ Association of Canada (EAC) defines copy editing as: editing for grammar, spelling, punctuation and other mechanics of style; checking for consistency of mechanics and internal consistency of facts; marking head levels and approximate placement of art; notifying designer of any unusual production requirements. May include Canadianizing; metrication; providing or changing system of citations; writing or editing captions and/or credit lines; writing running heads; listing permissions needed and/or obtaining them; providing or editing prelims, back matter, cover copy and/or CIP data. May also include negotiating changes with author.

Stylistic editing

The EAC defines proofreading as: clarifying meaning, eliminating jargon, smoothing language and other non-mechanical line-by-line editing. May include checking or correcting reading level; creating or recasting tables and/or figures; negotiating changes with author.


The EAC defines proofreading as: reading proofs of edited manuscript. Galley proofing may include incorporating and/or exercising discretion on author’s alterations; flagging locations of art and page references; verifying computer codes. Page proofing may include checking adherence to mock-up (rough paste-up), accuracy of running heads, folios and changes made to type in mock-up, checking page breaks and location of art, and inserting page numbers to table of contents and cross-references if necessary. May also include checking vandykes and colour mats (press proofs).


The EAC defines indexing as: producing an alphabetical list of names and places and/or subjects and concepts, etc., that appear in a work.

Plain Language

Converting a complex text to plain language requires a translation of abstract or technical material to clearer, simpler language, enabling readers to follow directions, absorb information, understand legal texts, and fill out forms. Plain language is increasingly used by governments to communicate with citizens.

Techniques plain-language experts use to make writing direct and clear include:

  • using short, common words, strong verbs, concrete nouns
  • deleting unnecessary words, cutting redundancy
  • using active voice
  • avoiding jargon, slang, euphemisms
  • shortening sentences
  • spelling out abbreviations

Types of Writing

  • Book-length manuscripts
  • Journal and magazine articles
  • Fiction and non-fiction
  • Essays and dissertations
  • Publicity materials
  • Reports of all kinds