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“That’s the magic of revisions – every cut is necessary, and every cut hurts, but something new always grows.” Kelly Barnhill
Editing is tiring but the best editors revise. It’s a necessary pain that makes written work better. It helps you clarify, deepen and strengthen your arguments more objectively. It also helps you express them in a powerful, coherent manner. When you edit, you ensure the reader focuses on what you have to say and not your errors.
Editors of newspapers and magazines make sure that the reader does not get bored, distracted, annoyed or confused with content. You have to do the same with your essay. Anticipate the responses of your reader/ teacher- what they will feel or think as they read your essay. These steps will help you edit your essay with ease.
1. Distance yourself from the essay
Give yourself time after you finish writing your essay before you can edit it. You can give yourself an hour, a day or week depending on the time you have before you hand in your essay. This will make your paper look fresh to your eyes and will not be so familiar. I would recommend printing out the essay and marking up mistakes as you read but you can also edit from your computer. Make sure you are in a quiet environment with no distractions as these may affect your editing concentration.
2. Edit your essay
Check that you have the full essay structure: introduction, body and conclusion. Make sure your essay content covers everything your assignment required of you. Your introduction should clearly state your intentions. Paragraphs should have clear topic sentences with each explaining a point and your conclusion should answer the question by summing up your argument. All your points should have supporting evidence and relate to the topic. Read your essay aloud to hear how the sentences sound. Your ears will pick out errors your eyes missed. After this, read your essay backwards from the last sentence to catch awkward words and phrases. Ensure you have written with the correct style and that your sources are correctly cited.
3. Proofread your essay
On this final stage of your editing process, focus on grammatical, punctuation and spelling mistakes. You can use grammar and spellcheckers available online but you should not rely on them entirely. Check each of the errors individually. You could decide to start with spelling, punctuation, and then grammar. It will be a lot easier to catch the errors this way. Read slowly to hear how different words in your essay sound together. Read each sentence individually starting from the first one and again from the last one to help you identify the errors.
Note down the most recurring errors on your essay to make it easier for you to edit them easily in the future. Eliminate words or sentences that seem wrong although you cannot pinpoint the mistake. Make sure that your essay flows. One point should lead to another and if it distorts the flow, get rid of it. You can have a friend or teacher go through your essay and pinpoint mistakes you have left out.
Have any pointers to add to the above? A method that works for you during editing? Share with us. You can also entrust our proofreading and essay writing services to score a good grade on your essay.
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