Light Editing aka Copy Editing

Copy editors. All of us need them. This is why it’s so important to understand what’s reasonable expectations are when hiring them. Their primary responsibility is to improve readability, as well as catch punctuation, grammar and spelling errors.

Here are some things a copy editor may do to improve readability.

  • Add a few words to create a picture in the reader’s mind. This engages the reader and keeps his or her interest.
  • Replace many words with just a few, or even one.
  • Remove unnecessary information.
  • Prioritize information by switching information around.
  • Change word order. (Because this can involve personal taste and is part of a person’s “voice”, a good copy editor avoids making this type of change unless readability is improved significantly.)

A good copy editor works to eliminate anything that makes a reader have to read twice to understand it.

Here are some examples of light edits so you see what to expect if you hire a copy editor.

The Original:

A finished BASEMENT can add significant value to your home, and return the cost of the entire investment when you sell.

The Rewrite:

A finished BASEMENT can add significant value to your home and return the entire cost of the investment when you sell. (I moved one word and removed the comma. Notice how the word move subtly changes the emphasis to the value the investment creates.)

The Original:

At the rough-in we will ensure a beautiful appearance on the outside of your custom home project.

The Rewrite:

We will ensure that the outside of your custom home has a beautiful appearance when we have completed the rough-in. (Roughing in is a process. So when during that process would “at the rough-in” begin? This edit eliminates the ambiguity.)

The Original:

Imagine your BATHROOM transformed into the most luxurious and lavish room in your home.

The Rewrite:

Imagine your BATHROOM transformed into your own personal spa! It can be the most luxurious and lavish room in your home. (A personal spa sparks the imagination and connects with the reader’s emotions. Note: Only a copy editor with marketing experience would make this type of change.)