John Firth Proofreader & Copy Editor


In the ideal world, copy editing comes a long way after development editing and some way before proofreading. It is helpful to know what stage your project has reached.

Once the text is complete, copy editing involves a detailed analysis of style, grammar, vocabulary (choice and use of words), spelling, and a search for inconsistencies, inaccuracy, ambiguity or (for electronic and online texts) features of various kinds. This stage is crucial for texts that are going to be printed or downloaded, and for all materials for which 'house style' or 'corporate identity' are important. If your text has been produced by many authors, I can review it for clarity (both of content and presentation) and for consistency (both of style and content—for example, do you prefer proofreader, proof-reader or proof reader?). If English is not your/an author's first language, I can 'anglicise' the text; or I can 'americanise' texts originally produced for a UK readership (NB I do not attempt to 'americanise' fiction).

When copy editing electronic and online texts, as well as a detailed analysis of text I can test internal and external links, assess structure and ease of use, and review pages containing help, subscription details or terms and conditions for completeness or comprehensibility.

I give clear layout instructions using coding conventions or Word templates. I have developed Word templates and worked with clients' and their publishers' templates. I can work on paper, but it is usually most efficient if I edit word-processor documents, HTML/XML files, PDFs, PowerPoint slides or Excel spreadsheets. When working on-screen I can supply both marked-up files and 'clean' ones (i.e. with all changes accepted—these are much easier to read). When copy editing websites I can work on a dummy version of your site, on the files that make it up or directly in a content management system. At the bottom of this page are links to projects I work on.


Professional standards

I am an Advanced Professional Member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP). As such, I am bound by the Society's Code of Practice.

To see my credentials as a copy editor, download my CV in PDF format.


© 2017 John Firth