The Substantive Book Copy-editing Service is the most advanced layer of the proofreading and editing services we provide to book authors and writers.
This service is aimed at authors who would like a close, intensive and critical edit of their script, which not only covers spelling, punctuation and grammar but also word choice, sentence structure, language flow, coherence and presentation of themes and ideas.
We have provided specific examples below to illustrate and detail what is included in this service.
(Note: some of the examples below are for demonstration purposes only).
1. Grammar check
a) Subject-verb agreement
Original: There is so many people in the restaurant that we face a long wait before being served.
Edited: There are so many people in the restaurant that we face a long wait before being served.
b) Use of conjunctions and conjunctive adverbs
Original: A severe storm developed nevertheless we went up the mountain.
Edited: A severe storm developed; nevertheless, we went up the mountain.
c) Use of tenses
Original: We were discussing this matter since yesterday.
Edited: We have been discussing this matter since yesterday.
d) Use of modifiers, possessive adjectives or pronouns, and split infinitives
Original: The pictures we saw at the exhibition were first-class.
Edited: The pictures we saw at the exhibition were first class.
Original: My new sister's friend is coming to stay for the week.
Edited: My sister's new friend is coming to stay for the week.
Original: We were expected to slowly walk across the bridge.
Edited: We were expected to walk across the bridge slowly.
e) Use of the apostrophe, or lower and upper case.
Original: When Jane entered the house, she noticed there were picture’s on every wall.
Edited: When Jane entered the house, she noticed there were pictures on every wall.
Original: The most interesting part of the play was act 2.
Edited: The most interesting part of the play was Act 2.
2. Spelling check
cheek (check), grammer (grammar), loose (lose - as a verb), believes (beliefs - as a noun), proof read (proofread), weak (week) etc.
Original: If I want a quiet location to reed a book, I go to the library.
Edited: If I want a quiet location to read a book, I go to the library.
Hum (Hume), Aristole (Aristotle), Daved (David) etc
Original: The Seven is the longest river in Great Britain.
Edited: The Severn is the longest river in Great Britain.
* They wanted too (to) discuss this in their academic paper.
* The researcher has recommended they sotp (stop) making mistakes and use English proofreading services.
* In the peeface (preface), they explained what they will investigate in their book.
* Proofreading services are impotent (important).
Original: David and Jane spoek to each other for the first time which had an effect on both of them.
Edited: David and Jane spoke to each other for the first time which had an effect on both of them.
d) American/British English
We will replace any American words or expressions with British equivalents, or vice versa, as exemplified below:
* Learned (American) Learnt (British)
* Focussed (American) Focused (British)
* Center (American) Centre (British)
* Elective (North American) Optional course of study (British)
* Characterize (American) Characterise (British)
Example: (when the client has requested British English)
Original: The artist made effective use of color in all his paintings.
Edited: The artist made effective use of colour in all his paintings.
3. Punctuation check
a) The comma
Original: The film was interesting enjoyable and exciting.
Edited: The film was interesting, enjoyable and exciting.
b) The colon
Original: The transport museum contained the following exhibits, buses, cars, trams, boats and lorries.
Edited: The transport museum contained the following exhibits: buses, cars, trams, boats and lorries.
c) The semicolon
Original: Our journey was impressive and scenic, the road followed the coast.
Edited: Our journey was impressive and scenic; the road followed the coast.
d) Quotation marks
Original: My family went to ‘South America’ for their holidays.
Edited: My family went to South America for their holidays.
4. Word choice
In English there are some words that have a greater impact than others; and there are words that fit some purposes than others, or convey the meaning in a better way.
Original: The fourteenth-century building can be described as very old.
Edited: The fourteenth-century building can be described as ancient.
5. Sentence structure
One recurrent problem that we often come across in book editing and proofreading is what we call run-on sentences...i.e sentences that are excessively long.
Original: In August every year the whole family would gather together for grandfather George’s birthday and they always had a good time because they enjoyed each other’s company and always had a very good meal and George appreciated all the gifts the family gave him which included books as he was an avid reader.
Edited: In August every year the whole family would gather together for grandfather George’s birthday when they always had a good time. This was because they enjoyed each other’s company and always had a very good meal. George appreciated all the gifts the family gave him, which included books as he was an avid reader.
We will help ensure your written manuscript is digestible and comprehensible in a way that would attract readers, rather than turn them off.
Original: Elizabeth and Martin, a brother and sister, had not seen each other for a while because Martin was in Australia. When he planned to return to London, Elizabeth was looking forward to seeing him again, and when he arrived they were pleased to meet each other again.
Edited: Excitement and anticipation mounted for Elizabeth when she received a letter from her brother Martin in Australia, to tell her he was returning to London. As the day grew nearer, she just could not wait to see him. When they were reunited, there were tears of joy and emotion.
7. Clarity of ideas
As part of our service, we also help you get your ideas and themes across to readers in a clear and unequivocal manner. This includes checking for consistency, which can sometimes be overlooked by an author. The following example shows that such mistakes do happen.
In Chapter 1: The whole family looked forward to moving into their new house. It was already furnished and they thought the red curtains on the large window and the green carpet blended very well.
In Chapter 2: As soon as the family moved into their new home, they settled very well, although the window was small, there was a good view through it and the light yellow curtains reflected the sunlight.
We also assist book authors and writers with the organisation of their written copy and manuscript. We offer suggestions on how better organisation can be achieved.