Proofreading and copy-editing

Red pen corrections
Red pen corrections

At the age of sixteen, I received a message from the O-level English coursework moderator congratulating me on my impeccable written accuracy. This inspired me to take my grammar pedantry and verbal proficiency to the highest level, and I have often been called upon to proofread or edit texts for others. During my Master’s degree, a Cambridge tutor found a full stop missing in the reference list of an essay, and this wounded my pride so much I vowed never to let it happen again! I have experience of proofreading PhD theses (in subjects ranging from electronic engineering to art history), marketing materials, essays, short stories, scripts and legal textbooks.


As an individual freelancer with no ‘middle man’ between me and my clients,  I am able to under-cut big agencies whilst still providing a fully professional service. My wide range of academic and personal interests enable me to cover the majority of subject areas. I am also able to offer a more personal and flexible service than big agencies, and can often offer fast turnaround times or discounts when a slower turnaround is possible.

Service Definition Fee
Correcting spelling, grammar, punctuation or word usage. £8-12 per 1,000 words
Copy-editing Correcting spelling, grammar and punctuation, and also suggesting changes to written
expression, structure or formatting where appropriate
£12-15 per 1,000 words
Reference-checking Cross-checking inline citations with references list to ensure accuracy and consistency negotiable
Formatting Creating a fully-formatted Word document with dynamic Table of Contents and structured section headings £10 per document under 25,000 words; £20 for theses or books
1:1 feedback (especially useful for non-native speakers or inexperienced writers) Sit down with client and go through corrections to explain and clarify them £25 per hour

Frequently Asked Questions

What can a proofreader do that spellcheck software can’t?

Red pen marking corrections
Red pen marking corrections

Spellcheck software is great at spotting typos and some common spelling mistakes; however, it has no idea what you were trying to say! As a result, it will miss any spelling error that results in an actual word, and will therefore not pick up on misused words. Neither can it check that your sentences are clear and well-punctuated. Microsoft’s software is also not always completely accurate on the differences between US and UK English. Most worryingly of all, the latest version actually introduces new errors to your writing, for example by insisting that ‘anymore’ must be one word, and that a capital letter must be used after closing speech marks, regardless of whether a new sentence has actually started or not.

In creative writing, electronic spell-checkers frequently try to ‘correct’ your writing to a business style, removing all originality and the sort of informal language that is completely appropriate in dialogue. No computer program can match a highly-educated native speaker’s intuition.

How do I send my document to you?

Please email first outlining the length and type of document and the service(s) required, to receive a quotation. Then, if you are happy with the price quoted, forward the document – Word documents are preferred as editing will be done using Word’s ‘track changes’ feature. If you are an Open Office user, ODT documents can also be accepted and a corrected version can be returned to you in that format, but you may not be able to see the full range of suggestions. Editable PDFs can also be proof-read.

What other information do you need?

Firstly, the required turnaround time. It is not normally possible to proof-read more than 10,000 words in 24 hours, so be realistic with your deadlines.

Secondly, if the document is an academic essay, dissertation or thesis, please send me whatever information you have on the required formatting and referencing systems. This may be found in your course handbook or submission guidelines.

Thirdly, any particular requests you have regarding the overall style or impression you want the document to have.

Is it ethical to have academic work proof-read?

Generally, the answer to this is ‘yes’, though there are some exceptions and you should check with your supervisor if you have any concerns. Proof-reading does not re-write the work or improve the content in any way; it merely identifies typing mistakes, spelling mistakes or minor grammar errors. As a professional teacher and A-level examiner, I will never behave unethically regarding academic work. If proof-reading reveals issues with academic English or with clear written expression, private tuition can be offered to resolve these without over-correcting the actual essay being submitted.

What payment methods do you accept?

Payment can be made by Paypal or by direct bank transfer. Cheques or cash may be accepted from local clients by prior arrangement.