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How To Edit A Paper

How to Edit a Paper

A lot of editing happens while you are actually writing the content. This includes rethinking, checking on the overall structure, focusing on the thesis statement, realigning the support statements, and more, the separate name 'editing' is usually given to reading and revising the paper after the final draft is written.

The writing aspect requires you to be a writer presenting your point of view. On the contrary, as an editor, you must look at how a reader will look at it. Editing requires reading slowly and deliberately and using various tips and techniques to closely examine your writing and correct the mistakes.

How to edit a paper

Editing your own writing is the process of identifying mistakes that you commonly make and correcting them. Editing focuses on correcting repetitive mistakes. Hence, it makes sense to keep a record of past mistakes which can now be taken a basis for editing the present paper. Here are some tips on how to edit a paper.

Read the paper aloud like how you would read a story – Listening for errors helps you catch those mistakes that your eyes would have missed owing to repeated reading. Remember to catch incomplete phrases, ideas, sentences, and things that sound misplaced or unduly funny.

Stop and make the changes as you read. Punctuation, sentence structure, grammatical, and spelling errors must be immediately fixed. Don't hurry through the paper. Move at a reasonable speed which is more towards slow than fast.

While checking for spelling, take extra care to check for words with similar spelling. For example, word pairs like "their and there," "too and to," etc could be missed by the spell checker. Another point to keep track of is the use of consistent spelling right through your paper. If you are using UK English, ensure you are consistent in the spelling format that is consistent with UK English throughout the paper.

Read the whole paper. Listen to those parts that are unreadable, sound awkward, or unclear. In the first reading, simply mark these spots with some comments on what you want to be changed. When you have finished the first reading, take a short break and then go back to correcting these spots.

Allow sufficient time gap between the writing and reading process. Try and keep at least one day between the tasks. If you are pushed for time, at least take a short break, do some other task (maybe take your lunch break) and then come back with a refreshed and clear mind. This cooling-off period will help you notice errors better than if you plunged into the editing task immediately after writing.

Read every sentence to see if it makes sense. To do this effectively, take a white sheet of paper and cover the entire content except for the sentence you want to read. This will focus your mind on that particular sentence. Check it for correctness. Is the sentence saying what you intended to say? Do this for each sentence.

Make sure you check for common error patterns in the writing. Nearly all writers make common mistakes that they end up repeating in all their writing. Keep a track of these and specifically ensure that they are correct. For example, if you are known to forget to put commas, look at all the places that need a comma and ensure the punctuation mark is there. If you are known for being too wordy, then keep a track of this error in the paper.

Check for duplication of ideas, words, and phrases and delete everything that has already been said once in your paper. Be careful of weasel phrases such as "many people say," or "it is often believed," etc. These kinds of phrases reflect uncertainty about the depth of your knowledge in the subject.

You must be good at grammar or at least know which source you can refer to if you have a doubt. It might make sense to have a grammar handout close by during the writing and the editing process to check for the correctness of your work as you go.

You could look at reading your paper backwards. This will break the flow of thought that has already been embedded in your mind due to repeated reading and help you see errors better. Of course, you can use this method only to check for punctuation, grammar, spelling, and sentence structure editing. It will not be helpful to check for the logical flow of content using this technique.

It might make sense to swap papers with your college mates for the editing work. That way, both your papers will get edited with an objective eye. You can use the editing and revision services offered by our editing professionals at Prescott Papers.

Editing also involves the checking of the following elements:

Answering the question topic appropriately

Crosscheck with the original instructions to make sure your paper is answering the topic question appropriately. No matter how great your content and writing style are, if the paper does not follow instructions correctly, then your professor is not going to be impressed with the brilliance in any other aspect.

Content

While you read your paper, ensure the content is complete in all respects. If you are talking about an idea, ensure the idea comes full circle and ends where it started. For example, in a supporting paragraph, the topic sentence will contain the central theme, the subsequent three or four sentences will discuss the supporting evidence of the central theme, and the final sentence will wrap up the entire paragraph by reinforcing or reiterating the topic sentence. This will make the paragraph complete. Like this, you must make sure that content in the entire paper is complete.

Structure of the paper

As you are reading your paper, create a brief outline of it. This will help you recognize any errors in the organization of the paper. You will know if you have presented the data in an organized and logical manner.

Ensure the introduction has a clear thesis embedded in it. This thesis should run right through your paper. You can ask a third person to read the introduction paragraph and tell you if he or she can discern what the paper will talk about. Once this is confirmed, make sure the supporting paragraphs in the body of the paper are aligned to this thesis. Also, ensure that the body paragraphs are presented in an organized and logical order.

Style

For this, you must know your target audience. Your writing style must match the expectations of the target audience. If the person reading your paper is not an expert in the subject, then you must ensure that you include some amount of detailed explanations of terms used. The paper should then take on an instructing tone.

However, if the target audience is knowledgeable about the topic, then you need not include unnecessary explanations. Irrespective of the type of target audience, it is important to keep your language simple, clear, and easy to understand.

Citations

This is another aspect that requires focused editing. Ensure you have not missed out any citations and have included the details of all the sources from which you sourced information for your paper. Ensure the formatting of the citations matches the style that is expected from your professor. The initial instructions would have the details. Cross check with it again during the editing process.

Final Notes

After you are satisfied with your own editing work and you have made all the necessary corrections in your paper, it might be a good idea to get an outside perspective. Don't ask your course mate or someone from your college to do this. See if you can take the help of someone at home who has no idea about the subject to give you this final perspective.

If someone who has no clue about the subject matter can read and understand your paper correctly and without any problem, then it means you have done a great job. The editing process is not easy to learn and master. Yet, with consistent and diligent practice you can do a great job of editing your college paper. Be patient and persist in your efforts.

At Prescott Papers, our teams of excellent writers and editors are happy to help you write, edit, and revise all your academic writing work. Do not hesitate to call us for custom essays, for assignments, for assessments, for research papers, and more.

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