Introduction

Editing involves carefully reviewing material before it is published and suggesting or making changes to correct or improve it. The goal of editing is to ensure that the material is consistent and correct and that its content, language, style, and layout suit its purpose and meet the needs of its audience. 

The editor is an intermediary who must skilfully and tactfully balance the interests of the employer or client, the author, and the audience. The editor is also part of a team that guides a work through its various stages from creation to publication, and must be familiar with, and respectful of, the contributions of others and collaborate effectively with all team members. 

Capturing the full array of knowledge, skills, best practices, sequential tasks, and responsibilities required by all editors on all projects in all settings is impossible and is not what this document attempts to do. For one thing, editors work on many different subjects and many types of publications (fiction, websites, magazines, textbooks, and scientific material, to name a few) that require specialized knowledge and skills. For another, some editors perform tasks that extend beyond editing, such as project management, design, indexing, translation comparison, and website maintenance. 

Regardless, there are certain core standards that professional editors should meet. The purpose of this document is to list the core standards—the knowledge, skills, and practices most commonly required for editing English-language material—and to provide examples that illustrate how those standards are applied in various types of publications. 

The standards in this document cover the generally recognized editorial stages that begin when the material is more or less complete and end when it is ready for publication. 

The standards are divided into five parts: 

A. The Fundamentals of Editing 

B. Structural Editing 

C. Stylistic Editing 

D. Copy Editing 

E. Proofreading

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