Have you ever known that you can perform excellent research, gather the best information, and yet, end up with a shoddy essay? The problem here is not that you wrote the wrong things; the issue is, you wrote the right things in the wrong way. Editing, therefore, comes in as the last point of separating between a mediocre and an excellent essay. As a college student who wants to fetch the highest grades in your assignments, you need to pay attention to the editing stage of your papers.
But before we proceed and look into the details of essay editing, let’s define it. To some people, the term “editing” means, “proofreading.” While the two may have the same overall goal and essence—to refine and perfect your essay—, the specific bugs they detect and fix differ. When you proofread your essay, you are looking for obvious mistakes such as spelling and spacing. You check your essay to expunge those bugs the spelling checker can highlight for you.
On the other hand, editing covers those mistakes that go beyond spellings and mere grammar. It addresses issues that a spelling checker cannot detect. It ensures your essay is free from all editorial bugs and inconsistencies. With that difference in mind, let’s get more details on this crucial process.
Ideas on how to edit essays
This section will discuss ideas that will equip you to check your writing to perfect it.
Space the editing process well
If you want to succeed in your editing process, you need to create a gap of time between it and the writing process. The reason is that if you connect the two processes, things will look so similar that the difference between them will be the same. If you take time off and engage in a different activity, when you come back the paper will look new to you. This way, you can catch more bugs than you could have if you went straight to editing it.
Choose the best editing channel
Another idea to help you in editing college essays is choosing the best medium to do it. You can choose between editing using a soft or hard copy. If you prefer the hard copy, then make a print copy of the essay. But if you want to do it in soft form, you can sit by your computer and edit it.
Get in the right environment
Just as you need a serene environment to write your papers, you also need the same environment to do editing. You should choose a place that is free from all human and non-human disruptions and interference. This way, you will maintain your concentration and do a better job.
Divide the task into manageable bits
If you want to edit your work effectively, you should divide your editing work into small sections you can manage effectively. Don’t approach it as a marathon because if you do, you may end up introducing new errors that were not in the first draft.
Get in the right mood
Don’t handle you editing work when you are not in the right frame of mind. If you are stressed, angry, unwell, or fatigued, do not edit your work because you will not just waste your time, but you will do very little to perfect it. You should pay attention to this because you will not have another chance to work on it. Since editing is the last process of writing your essay, you should face it with a sense of finality in your mind.
When you say to yourself, “I need to check my writing for errors and make it perfect,” you should also prioritize your editing work. You need to determine which section of your paper you will edit and the right time. This way, you will be in a better position to make the most out of your time.
Fundamental questions to ask and answer yourself when editing
To get a clear bearing on what you should address as you edit your essay, you need to ask and answer yourself these fundamental questions.
- Have I referenced my essay as per the correct style?
- Is my argument sensible and pragmatic?
- Is my argument balanced?
- Did I research my argument well?
- Does my essay answer the question satisfactorily?
- Do all my quotes and paraphrases have proper referencing?
- Does my evidence fully support my thesis statement?
- Is my evidence relevant to my thesis statement?
- Have I violated the stipulated word count limit?
- Have I followed all the instructions I received for this assignment?
- Is the formatting of my paper correct?
- Have I included any unnecessary information?
- Is there any relevant information that I have not included in the essay?
- Is the structure of my essay correct?
- Does my essay have a logical and coherent flow?
- Is my essay consistent?
- Have I strayed from the topic?
- Have I used unclear and complicated language?
- Have I repeated myself?
- Do my paragraphs and sentences have the right length?
- Are my spellings consistent?
- Is everything grammatically sound?
- Is my work editorially correct and sound?
After you have asked and answered these questions, you can now go ahead and begin editing your essay.
Bugs to look for when editing your essay
This section will discuss the errors you need to look for as you edit your paper. Unless you have hired a professional essay editing firm to do the job, you need to brace yourself to deal with these issues.
Cut off all fluff
In as much as words are necessary for expressing yourself, not every word you wrote in the initial draft is necessary. You need to do a thorough check to find out if those words are necessary for helping your reader to understand your essay. Here, you are not looking for grammatically wrong or misspelled words. On the contrary, you are looking for words that are an unnecessary burden to the reader without adding value to them. So, look for, and chop them off.
Look for repetition
Another bug to look for is repetition. First, check for direct repetition of words and then repeated ideas. For example, using the term, “and also” is a common repetition that many people engage in. The truth is that the word “also” has the same meaning as “and.” Another example of repetition is using the words “still remain” in the same place. You need to choose either of the two, but not both. The third form of repetition is using “silent definition” where you unknowingly define terms. For instance, when you say, “The room was filled with enterprising rookies who know nothing about business,” you are repeating yourself. The words, “who know nothing about business” are unnecessary because rookies, by definition, are “beginners who know nothing or little about something.”
Infuse a flowing structure
The structure of your essay is critical in helping your reader to navigate through the ideas you have presented to them. You need to check to ensure that all your ideas are flowing in a logical and coherent manner. They should flow from sentence to sentence and paragraph to paragraph. This kind of job is impossible to do with a spell checker because you are the only person who knows where each idea fits.
Trim all lengthy paragraphs and sentences
Another thing you need to look for while performing a proofreading check is the burden of lengthy sentences and paragraphs. The reason is that the length of your sentences and paragraphs should create room for the necessary words your readers need to understand your essay. If your sentences and paragraphs are too long, they may make it boring and difficult for your readers to follow and understand your paper. If you find you have included too much in one sentence, you should consider splitting it into two separate sentences. You need to do this for the sake of the reader as well as your essay’s word count if you have poured too much into your original draft.
Check your citations
You need to check to ensure that you have properly referenced every borrowed idea in your paper and give credit where it is due. In addition, you should check to make sure you used the right referencing style.
Chop off all the “flowers”
Make sure you remove all unnecessarily complex words. You are not in a “big-word” competition where you are trying to impress people with “big” words. Just cut them off and replace them with simple terms. Remember, your professors have been here long enough to know when they are dealing with a bloated ego that has “gone pompous.” So, be moderate in the choice of words you use to express yourself.
Here you are with all the insights you need in editing your essays. You are now in a better position to fetch the best out of your writing by following the insights we have shared in this post. If you still need an online paper proofreader to offer you proofread essay online help, do not hesitate to talk to us today.