The Center for Academic Excellence presents... Editing Improving Your Text One Sentence at a Time
There are no final draftsonly deadlines. The Writing Process 1.Discovery. 2.Determining Rhetorical Stance. 3.Invention and Pre-Writing. 4.Gathering Data. 5.Planning and Organizing. 6.Outlining. 7.Composing/Drafting. 8.Reviewing. 9.Revising and Rewriting. 10.Editing. 11.Proofreading. 12.Publishing.
Editing comes late in the Writing Process. Only when you are satisfied that all ideas are in place and that there are no further changes likely do you turn your attention to editing. Final Stages of the Writing Process: Editing
What is Editing? Editing is focusing on your text one sentence at a time. It is an attempt to make each sentence clearer and more readable. This is a fairly laborious part of the process and should take several hours. Editing is a courtesy to your reader. No one deserves to read unedited text. No one!
Editing Sentences After letting your text sit for a while, come back to it as if you were a stranger to it. As you read each sentence aloud, ask the following questions:
Ask: Is this truly a sentence? Does it express one complete thought? Does it make complete sense? Is it ambiguous? Does it say what I mean?
Ask: Is there any way I can improve the sentence? Could I word it more effectively? Could my word choice be more precise? Are there any phrases I could reduce to single words? Are the tenses consistent?
Ask: Are there any pronouns? Are they used correctly? Would the average reader know what each pronoun is referring to? What would the professor dislike about the sentence? Can I punctuate the sentence more effectively?
Ask: Is the sentence grammatical? Does it use would have, where had would do? Is the sentence necessary, or could it be left out completely? Does the sentence use I or you?
Ask: Could I re-word the sentence to avoid I and you? Does the sentence contain slang, or any sort of language which might be considered non-academic? Does it contain any spelling errors? Does the sentence use the verb to get? Is it easy to understand?
Move on to the Next Sentence Only after thoroughly familiarising yourself with the first sentence should you consider moving on to the next. Satisfy yourself (a) that every word counts, (b) that every sentence counts, and (c) that every paragraph countsthis is a courtesy that you owe to your reader(s). If necessary, share this task with your instructor, with a tutor, or with consultants at a Writing Center. Remember, stages 8-12 of the Writing Process may be shared with friends, professors, and counselors. You are not expected to be experts, but you are expected to seek expert advice.
The Writing Process 1.Discovery. 2.Determining Rhetorical Stance. 3.Invention and Pre-Writing. 4.Gathering Data. 5.Planning and Organizing. 6.Outlining. 7.Composing/Drafting. 8.Reviewing. 9.Revising and Rewriting. 10.Editing. 11.Proofreading. 12.Publishing. There are no final draftsonly deadlines.
The End PowerPoint Presentation by Mark A. Spalding, BA, MEd, MA, 2007.