Editing and Proofreading

A Detailed List Of Differences Between Editing & Proofreading

Congratulations! You are done writing your essay. But, it isn’t ready yet for the final submission. Are you sure that your essay is completely devoid of even the trivial traces of any error?

Humans make mistakes. It is absolutely normal. From the comma that you may have missed after two prepositional phrases to the sentence fragments that you should have gotten rid of, your essay can consist of numerous small (yet significant) mistakes.

This is where the role of re-visioning the essay comes into play.

And there are two main elements in the process of revision- proofreading and editing.

Both aim at making your writing better but work differently. So, let’s clear the air about the differences between proofreading and editing.

Editing vs. Proofreading: How Are They Different?

As per expert essay writers, you need both these stages to get your essay free from any kind of errors. But, you can neither edit nor proofread accurately unless you are aware of their differences and individual roles. So, let’s begin.

You can start editing as soon as you complete the first draft of your essay. This stage takes care of the structure, the overall content, and the style of your essay.

The three main stages involved in editing are:

  • The structural edit

Yes, an essay should have these three elements in its structure- introduction, body, and conclusion. But that’s not it. The structure should also be sustained and coherent.

How to edit the structure of the essay?

Return to the assignment question first.

  • Did you answer the question clearly?
  • Have you performed all the tasks as instructed by your professor?
  • Is the objective or purpose of your essay clear?

Now read the introduction of your essay.

  • Is the thesis statement clear?
  • Does it reflect in conclusion?
  • Have you included enough relevant background details in the introduction?
  • Does the thesis statement provide an outline for the rest of your paper?

Check the body paragraphs next.

  • Does each paragraph consist of a single idea?
  • Do the paragraphs begin with a clearly stated topic sentence?
  • Are there transition statements to link your paragraphs to the following paragraph?

Now, take a look at the conclusion.

  • Have you restated the thesis statement in your own words?
  • Does it meet the purpose of your essay?
  • Have you included the summaries of all the important points in your essay?

Now you are done with the structure of your essay. Let’s move on to the next aspect of editing.

  • The content edit

This is where you need to evaluate the ideas you have presented and the opinions you have shared in the essay. Editing the content means you need to check for overlaps, redundancy, clarity, and relevance.

How to edit the overall content of your essay?

  • See if ALL the points are relevant in your essay. Get rid of the ones that aren’t.
  • Get rid of ideas that you might have repeated.
  • Have you missed a significant piece of evidence to support your claims? Include the evidence as and when required.
  • Make sure all the points in your essay make sense. If not, figure out why it is there.

You are most likely to be done with the quality of the content of your essay by the end of this stage. Now, let’s see how to take care of the style and tone of your essay.

  • The style edit

This is where you focus on the tone and language of your write-up. Consider who your target audience is, the language you have used, and the purpose of your write-up while editing the style.

How to edit the style of your essay?

  • Check the tone of your essay first. Is it relevant to the context of your essay?
  • Make sure the use of gendered language is appropriate. For example, many students assume nurses apply to women only. But that isn’t the case.
  • Take a look at the length and structure of the sentences.
  • Get rid of unnecessary phrases such as “there is,” “there are,” “due to the fact,” etc.
  • Eliminate repetitive words from the paper.

By the end of this stage, you should have made significant changes to the style, content, and structure of your work. Though I have mentioned ‘essays’ here, you can apply these techniques in any other forms of assignments as well, such as a dissertation.

Your essay has attained the penultimate level of perfection at this stage. Now let’s discuss how to attain the ultimate level of perfection- via proofreading.

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Okay, proofreading is the process of refining the work to the point that it has zero error. You must always proofread after editing to make sure the editing is perfect. It is okay if you don’t have the expertise to proofread the final document. You can always seek essay help and get an expert to do that task.

Proofreading means taking care of:

  • Typos, incorrect usage of words, and spelling errors
  • Punctuation and grammatical errors
  • Incorrect references
  • Inconsistent formatting

How to proofread your document with precision?

  • Stop relying on automatic spelling checkers

Spelling checkers are useful. But, at the end of the day, they are operated by a robot. The tools have a limited dictionary. It often misunderstands the context and provides irrelevant suggestions. So, relying solely on automatic spell checkers will not do.

  • Read each word aloud

You can’t rely on grammar checkers or AI-based spell checkers to proofread your essay. So, the best way to do it is to read each word aloud. You get to identify the mistakes when you hear what you have written. Make sure you read the words slowly. Reading the same at a faster pace will only make the errors more myopic.

  • Divide the texts into individual sentences

Read the words once. Then read each sentence carefully to detect any grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors.

  • Underline or highlight the punctuation marks

This tip will help you look at each punctuation mark irrespective of the length of your essay. After you have highlighted the mark, see if it is in the correct position.

  • Read the essay backward

Reading your work backward means the content, grammar or punctuation won’t make much sense. So, you can focus only on the spellings of your essay. Start with the last word of the essay and work your way back to the first paragraph. Read each word separately so that you don’t miss any. You can always consult with a dictionary if you aren’t sure about the meaning of any word.

  • Look out for one kind of error at a time

You may lose track if you try to check different things at once. So, it is better to focus on one kind of error at a time. For instance, if you are checking for spelling mistakes, focus on that only. Also, it is easier to identify grammatical mistakes if you aren’t checking spellings and punctuations at the same time.

The key to accurate proofreading is to keep an eye out for any kind of errors in your essay, no matter what. You may find certain things in your essay that do not seem quite right, and yet you may ignore them. Make it a point to double-check your work before submitting it in class.

Wrapping Up,

Both proofreading, as well as editing, intends to make your writing clearer, more concise and better. You need to hand over a 100% perfect essay to fetch higher grades in it. And perfection is attainable only if your paper has zero mistakes. It might take some time to edit and proofread. If required, create a timetable and get these tasks done before the final submission.


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