The Fine-Toothed Comb

The Fine-Toothed Comb

You want my signature service of editing greatness.
Attention to all the details, with bonus teachable moments

The Fine-Toothed Comb is my favorite service, and it’s also my most popular. As with The Fly-Through, my goal is still to “do no harm,” but The Fine-Toothed Comb involves far more interaction with the text.

I like to be as comprehensive as I can be with my edits so that your writing can be as near-perfect as possible (and so you get maximum bang for your buck). That’s why my signature service goes all out and involves reviewing all elements on the page (from page numbers to headings to captions and more).

If you’re following along at home, this might make this service sound pretty similar to The Whole Shebang. The difference is that The Fine-Toothed Comb stops a few steps before full-scale proofreading. I’ll note internal inconsistencies, but I’m not hunting down correct spellings of names or confirming publication dates, for example. I’m skipping over some of the final, finer details that come into play with proofs.

Everything in The Fly-Through, plus:

  • gaps in your arguments or narrative
  • flow
  • repetition
  • conformation to the style guide of your choice, if applicable (for example, an in-house style, MLA, APA, or Chicago)
  • what’s working best and what isn’t working as well right now
  • ways to fine-tune your writing
  • ways to improve the language and say things more clearly or more beautifully
  • ways to rephrase and restructure, if needed
  • basic fact checking (I’ll just flag internal inconsistencies and things I happen to know)

At the end of The Fine-Toothed Comb, you’ll have a meticulously reviewed file that includes suggestions carefully fleshed out with explanations, examples, and actionable writing tips.

Ideally, you’ll be able to use this commentary not just to improve this piece of writing, but to be a better writer.

Yes! That's what I want.

If personalized feedback is the part of this service you’re most excited about, check out The Professional Opinion. You’ll get feedback in spades.

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Can’t decide? Let me help. Email me at

Paul P

“The questions/comments about clarity, content, and consistency in the report were superb. I did not expect such substantive analysis of the content in addition to the proofreading.”
—Paul P.