Content editing — Heavy editing for message, writer's voice, comprehension, and flow. Appropriate for first drafts of books, reports, and other copy. A content editor identifies major weaknesses and suggests changes to improve vague or awkward writing. This step's purpose is to refine rough writing and assess pacing to better meet the intended goals of the writer.
Copyediting — Assessing and correcting second and subsequent drafts for spelling, punctuation, grammar, and style errors. Depending on the nature of the project, this step may include checking facts and quotes, page numbers, and cross-references; verifying sources; and obtaining permissions.
Line editing — Rewording entire sentences to promote parallel construction, correct grammar, readability, and flow.
Proofreading — The last step prior to publication or distribution. Copy is read with a "fine-tooth comb" to catch lingering errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and style.
Style manual — A published guide dictating rules of spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and style used by a particular industry or academic field. Some of the most common manuals are the Associated Press Stylebook, The Chicago Manual of Style, the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, and the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.