Editing is simply the pruning or removal of mistakes from a communication material. It is the process of reducing errors to the barest minimum in a piece of writing, video or audio clip. Editing is what adds finesse to content across all platforms. It is the final yet most detailed stage of content production. However, in this article, we will be focusing on editing written


There are five basic types of editing, namely developmental or substantive editing, structural editing, copy editing, line editing, and mechanical editing. These five types of editing are what is performed on a written document from the first draft to the final stage of the project. And we will be discussing them in brief detail.

1. Developmental editing: this is also called substantive editing. It is usually the median stage of the editing process. Here the editor looks at how the written manuscript coheres with the idea or the subject the writer is addressing. The main point here is logical coherence. And sometimes, it may require the editor to delete, rewrite, or make recommendations on certain things to add or remove to communicate the author’s idea better. It is very common in academic articles and research works.

2. Structural editing: structural editing is a bit similar or can be done alongside developmental editing. Here, the editor looks out for the logical flow, tone, style, and overall quality of the writing. It is essential for an organised project. It is more in-depth but also geared toward the author’s main idea and the elements that are used to convey it, such as language, tone, style, etc.

3. Copy editing: the next stage of the editing process is copy editing. After affirming the logical flow of a manuscript, the editor looks at the use of accurate grammar and how accurate words are spelt, including the suitability of the author’s language to the target audience. The editor ensures the author uses active words and that sentences are not overly long. If it is in an academic project, the editor ensures that there is uniformity in citation styles and that references are made as required.

4. Line editing: this is closely related to copy editing. In line editing, the editor checks the manuscript or text line to line to see how words are used and the effect of the writing, ensuring the writing is comprehensive. The primary interest of a line editor is clarity and simplicity. Note that simplicity here ensures the author’s idea is easy to understand without being simplistic. Line editing is important for fine-tuning any writing and should never be ignored by an author, irrespective of the project he is working on.

5. Mechanical editing: this is the final stage of the editing process. In mechanical editing, the editor reads the work thoroughly to ensure spelling, grammar, formatting, and punctuations are accurate and consistent. An editor hired for mechanical editing also checks how consistent abbreviations and capitalisations are done in the project. If it is in academic writing, he ensures consistency in referencing style.

Next time you are handling a written project, ensure you carry out these editing processes or hire a professional to take care of your editing processes if you intend to have a well-written, structured and coherent project.

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