“Line editing” is a term we’ve chosen not to use in our our editing services definitions. This is because its meaning can vary wildly depending on whether you’re in the UK — where it’s akin to proofreading — or in North America — where it’s an intermediary step between developmental and copy editing. In its US definition, line editing addresses the creative content of a manuscript, rather than mechanics like punctuation, grammar, factual correctness and consistency. The line editor looks at the author’s use of language, and offers advice to improve the readability of a manuscript. They will address issues like baggy dialogue, tonal inconsistencies, run-on sentences, and other such tics that may affect the reading experience. Most copy editors on Reedsy are also trained in line editing, and will seek to correct both creative content and mechanical issues in their editing pass. In other words, most copy editors will both line edit and copy edit, which is why we’ve chosen to skip this “step” in our definitions, and recommend authors first hire a developmental editor, then a copy editor, and finally a proofreader.