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Humanities LibreTexts

9.4: Editing for other things

  • Page ID
    • Alexandra Glynn, Kelli Hallsten-Erickson & Amy Jo Swing
    • North Hennepin Community College & Lake Superior College

    Editing, or revising, for content is key. This was covered in the chapter on revising. You want to make sure you cut out portions of your draft and revise so that what you’re really trying to say comes out cleanly. This does mean that you need to be sure what it is that you’re trying to say.

    Clarity is the key to editing. Think of the “reasonable person” standard. Will a reasonable person comprehend what I’m trying to say?

    Let’s quickly review some of the highlights of editing for content, which we called “revising.”

    - Think about keeping your reader on track—are they going to follow what you’re saying easily? Do you need headings? Do you need more topic sentences?

    - Look at organization. Are you still organized? Go back and do the more drastic revision if necessary—slash and burn if necessary.

    - What about research? Do you need to double-check anything? Is there some important text on the topic you need to skim or at least be aware of?

    - Would a peer review be helpful at this point?

    - Did you check the introductions and conclusions to make sure they’re powerful and useful, and that they match each other in terms of what you’re trying to say?

    - Think about visuals or videos? Charts? Would these be needed?

    - Think about accessibility, even in terms of physical disabilities such as the needs of blind people or folks who don’t see well.

    - What about balance? Are you relying too much on one source, or one data point, or one way of persuading people? Is one section long and detailed, and another equally important section is breezed by?

    - And, of course, even though “proofreading” is the editing of grammar, and here, in this book, we think of editing as something much more than just finding little grammar errors or typos, by all means correct any typos that you see as you do content or global editing, or major revisions.

    - Use the spellchecker if you are in a word processing program. Use the dictionary, and use a thesaurus.

    Chart: Clarifying “proofreading” and “editing” and “revising”

    Copy editing / Proofreading Editing Revising (global content editing / global editing / content editing)
    Grammar errors Organizational errors Major organizational errors
    Spelling errors Topic sentences Content addition and deleting
    Formatting Style issues such as allusion, word choice, repetition, rhythm, What is being argued
    Typos Research items: is it the best source? Main focus, main point, main thesis or claim
    Placement of captions, pictures Intent for audience total effect
    Citation accuracy (MLA or APA, etc) Completely rewriting

    Chart: This chart lays out the ways the words “proofreading” and “editing” and “revising” are often used in writing studies.

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