Isn’t editing just checking spelling and grammar?

The short answer is NO! Read on for the long one.


Developmental editing (also known as substantive editing or structural editing) looks at your text from a bird’s-eye view. This type of editing clarifies or reorganises a document for content, structure, style, tone, length, and level to ensure it is appropriate for your audience. It can include some elements of copy-editing, but rather focuses on the macro structure of your text.

I specialise in the developmental editing of narrative non-fiction and memoir. My Afrikaans and English developmental editing pen has graced the pages of everything from a true crime book about a gruesome family murder (now a feature film that bagged a South African Film and Television Award), and a self-published cookbook that took top honours at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, to a self-help guide on raising a teenage boy in the 21st century, and the inspiring story of a Google Science Award winner overcoming a debilitating illness to achieve greatness in the process.



Style and tone

Repetition and wordiness

Sentence and paragraph length

Jargon and non-inclusive language

Chapter and paragraph organisation


Language usage

Basic fact-checking

Spelling, punctuation and grammar


Copy-editing (also known as line editing or language editing) focuses on the seven Cs of editing – text that is clear, correct, coherent, complete, concise, consistent, and credible. This type of editing is not about significant rewriting of a document for your audience, but rather focuses on the micro structure of your text.

I specialise in the copy-editing of reports, textbooks and non-fiction. I have done Afrikaans and English copy-editing on everything from Cape Town’s public art catalogue, government reports on urban sustainability, and textbooks on history, languages, physics, life orientation, tourism and every school/college subject in between, to books on gardening, crafting, cooking (uniting South Africans around the braai fire for Heritage Day), managing your finances, and the highs and lows of our sports heroes.



Word choice

Sentence structure

Artwork placement



Applying house style

References, tables and figures

Spelling, punctuation and grammar

South African Translators' Institute
Professional Editors' Guild
Trados Studio

Talk to me

Let ME help YOU:

Phone: +27 (0)84 511 5079
Skype: l-tish

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© Copyright 2021 Laetitia Sullivan – All rights reserved
*Cape Town is the beautiful city I call home and where the picture on my home page of Cortie the blue Ford Cortina was taken:
Photo by Leon Škrilec on Unsplash