Editing Essay

In: Editing essay guide

Editing Essay

After you’ve finished the revision process, you still have one more step to do. Whereas the writer focuses on ideas and structure in the revision process, the editing process involves checking for errors in grammar, spelling, and word choice. An essay full of errors is unlikely to inspire confidence in readers, so check your draft carefully. The following tips will help you as you move through the editing process.

Editing Essay Tips

  1. Again, put your essay aside for a day after you complete the revision process. At this point, you’ve gotten used to seeing the same errors, and you may not be able correct as many.
  2. Be aware of your habitual mistakes. Do you constantly get marked down for commas? Have teachers commented on your poor spelling? Think about past errors and make a commitment to correct them.
  3. Use the editing process more than once, since it will take time and effort to find every error.
  4. Move through the essay slowly and point to each word as you read so you don’t speed through the essay too quickly.
  5. Place a ruler under each line so your eye doesn’t wander ahead.
  6. Reading your work aloud can help you to catch many mistakes, especially word choice errors.
  7. Trust your instincts--if you have a feeling something isn’t right, take a closer look or ask a teacher or workshop partner for advice.
  8. Learn grammatical rules so you know how to both find and correct errors. Having a good grammar handbook can make a world of difference.
  9. Use a computer. However, don’t overly rely on grammar and spell checks to catch every error. A computer can in fact be wrong sometimes, so don’t let your program automatically change words or structure.
  10. Workshop your essay with another student. A peer editing toolkit, which is enormously helpful for guiding these workshops, appears on the University of Buffalo’s Writing Strategies Web site (http://www.readwritethink.org/lessons/lesson_view.asp?id=786)
  11. Last but not least, check for typing errors. These include incorrect margins, inappropriate font sizes, and strange spacing.

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