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Proofreading involves a detailed quality check of documents in terms of grammar, consistency in usage and presentation and accuracy in text and layout. The proofreader’s terms of reference are agreed before work starts. The proofreader uses care, judgement, skill, knowledge and experience in checking that the work of author is satisfactory, marking amendments and advising the client of problems, all with the aim of optimizing the quality of the text.
Editing involves arranging, revising, and preparing a document for final presentation or publication. The objectives of editing include the detection and removal of factual, grammatical, and typographical errors, the clarification of obscure passages, the elimination of parts not suitable for the targeted audience, and the proper sequencing of text to achieve a smooth, unbroken flow of narrative.
Rewriting involves a complete revision of a document that is considered to be below the required standard for the targeted audience. Information, quotes, words, or punctuation are added in order to improve clarity and precision. Other text that appear superfluous or confusing are removed. The document is restructured and polished so the information is presented in order to make it clearer, more unified, and/or more descriptive.
Authoring, in terms of academic and business documents, is the creation of documents from scratch, based either on terms of reference or a question: authoring normally involves a certain amount of research.