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10 Ways Students Can Edit With Traditional Techniques and Digital Tools

By eLearning Inside
October 01, 2020

Most great writers will agree that an excellent text can never be crafted on the initial draft. Only by going through your work once, twice, or more times can you eliminate clumsy mistakes. In his text On Writing, Stephen King wrote, “To write is human, to edit is divine.” For many writers, this statement cannot be truer.

If you’re keen on crafting a logical text with no misspellings, punctuation mistakes, or grammar issues, some editing advice will be invaluable. Below, we’ve compiled useful tips for editing your work with the help of digital tools and services. Check them out to find out how you can improve the quality of your content.

Give Your Text Some Space

After finishing your writing, do not jump straight into editing. Take a break of about 24 hours, if time allows it, and then return. This way, you can check it with a fresh mind, making it easy to identify mistakes. Staying away from your work for some time also makes it easy for you to identify issues relating to:

Tone;

Voice;

Structure.

Note, the time you take off from your writing will depend on the length. For instance, before you edit college essays, a longer duration (at least 24 hours) away will be ideal. For smaller texts such as emails, a few hours will suffice.

Create an Outline to Guide Your Editing

Refrain from jumping into the editing process without having an idea of what you wish to do or achieve. Take time to create an outline that lays out what you wish to take care of, be it the spelling, punctuation, structure, or flow of ideas. After that, check for each issue in your work at a time.

Check Your Thesis

Does your thesis statement address the topic of the paper? Even if you created a thesis statement at the beginning of your writing, it helps to review it in the end. It is only logical since what you’ve covered in your paper’s body might have changed a bit.

Unless your educator prohibits you, always check your thesis in the end and tweak it accordingly. It is normal to discover that what you had in mind in the beginning is not what your paper has turned out to be.

Avoid Complex Language

When going through your work again, you might be tempted to ramp things up by introducing new vocabulary and uncommon synonyms. While this is not a bad thing per se, it can make your word difficult to read and even pretentious. Remember, you want to keep your message clear and easy to read.

Read Backwards

During the editing phase, make a point of reading your work from the end to the beginning. Start with the last sentence and read back, one sentence at a time. Doing this makes it easy to identify the different ways of enhancing your paper compared to simply reading your texts from the beginning.

Pay Attention to Topic Sentences and Body Content

Topic sentences for each paragraph and the body content need to relate to your thesis statement. Avoid going off-topic by crafting topic sentences that support your statement right from the first paragraph. The same applies to your body content.

When editing, pay attention to your topic sentences, and rewrite if necessary. The point here is to ensure that these introductory sentences carry the main idea of the entire paragraphs.

Remember Your Target Audience

You should never forget your voice as the writer and never forget your target audience. Great editing is about modifying your work in a way that makes your message clear for your readers. You can easily achieve this by stepping into the shoes of your reader when reviewing your work.

Check for complex words and sentence structure. If you feel there is a need to make things simpler, you probably have to do that.

Use Digital Editing Resources

There are many resources you can use as learning resources to perfect your editing. These could be anything from blogs and sites to podcasts and other publications. Here are some excellent resources for enhancing your editing skills.

Check Your Sources

Good editing is about ensuring that you’ve cited everything properly. Check all quotations and paraphrases to make sure that they are right. Remember, the trick is always to cite anything even if you are unsure. It’s advisable to over-cite instead of under-cite.

Depending on your assignment, include a work cited or references page. If you already have one, check everything and ensure that it conforms to the required style, be it APA, Chicago, Harvard, etc.

Use Editing Tools

There are many editing tools you can use to edit your work and check various essential aspects of your initial result. You can easily access them online for free or at a subscription (find the ones that suit you best). Some great examples of such tools are:

Hemingway Editor;

Grammarly;

Slick Write;

Viper Plagiarism Checker.

Final Words and Finishing Ideas for You on How to Enhance the Writing
While editing is a daunting task, especially right after completing your writing, it’s necessary. Luckily, you can make the process easier and more productive by implementing the tips in this article. As a parting shot, heed this; to be an excellent writer, first, you need to be an excellent editor.

Featured Image: Kaleidico, Unsplash.

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