Essays are probably one of the most hated, stressful, and time-consuming types of homework. But the struggle doesn’t end once you’ve written it. Any paper still needs to be proofread a few times and edited. It’s hard to do without the https://studyfy.com/literature-study-guides service here. And it could be even a harder task than composing the essay itself.
Editing could vary from simply changing a few words or their placement in a sentence to completely rearranging entire paragraphs. It’s crucial to know how to edit an essay to earn a high grade. That’s why we made a list of some eye-opening tips for essay editing.
Proofreading isn’t editing
If you’re asking yourself “should I proofread my paper?”, then the answer is yes. Proofreading is a must. But, proofreading and editing are quite different things and must be done separately. The former is focused on detecting grammatical and spelling errors, while the latter involves analyzing more complex things like paragraph structure, text tone, and such.
Understanding the difference and following both processes will help you to check every aspect of your essay and receive the best result.
Take a break
After a tedious session of writing a text, take a 15-20 minute break before editing it. An even better idea is to wait until the next day, so plan it beforehand. Spending that much time writing a text will leave your brain exhausted. Often, while editing and checking a paper for mistakes immediately after we’ve finished writing, we don’t notice many basic mistakes or improper sentence composition.
It’s because our brain got so used to what we’ve written and is so tired, that it can’t comprehend what’s wrong. Give it a break and return to it refreshed. It will not only help to detect any mistakes but also may give you some new ideas that can be implemented.
Formatting may seem like an obvious step of essay editing. But, it’s also the one students remember only at the beginning. By the end of it, they’re so focused on elaborate writing and composition that they simply forget about formatting. And needless to say, formatting requirements are there for a reason and not following them can get you to lose some points.
Check the requirements after you’re done. The font, its size, headlines, paragraphs, and their structure. Double-check every reference entry with special care and attention. Everything needs to be compared to how it should look and adjusted accordingly.
Check paragraphs one by one
A properly written essay is always divided into paragraphs. After all, it’s a requirement. Paragraphs are units that need to be checked separately. Each should describe a certain topic and include arguments and evidence to support it. That’s how most assignments are to be done. If you received different instructions – follow them. And don’t forget about proper transitions between the paragraphs.
Simple but professional language
Of course, all of us like to compose large complex sentences with many unnecessary words just to reach the word count. Not saying that it needs to be completely removed, but dividing them into a few smaller sentences must be considered. It will make any paper more readable.
Sometimes, there’s just no other way than expressing your thoughts through a large sentence, but try to avoid it. Most of us think that such complex structures make us look more intelligent and show off our writing skills. But in reality, they don’t.
The same goes for big words and obscure jargon terms. Check online dictionaries to find synonyms or better options. Also, there are plenty of online services that could come in handy. Remember, the writing must be readable, concise but still professional.
- Repeating thoughts
It’s common to repeat yourself while writing a text. Sometimes, you might come up with a new idea and implement it, only to realize later that it has already been included in the text a few sentences before. But that’s why you’re editing it in the first place – to detect such errors.
Re-read the text slowly and explain to yourself what’s the concept behind each sentence or paragraph. Detect what may seem like repetitions and compare them. Most of the time, the first mention of a concept will need to be kept, and the following ones will be unnecessary and repetitive.
- Repeating words
The same goes for the word usage. Tautology is never good and will harm your essay. Just like with repeating some concepts, our brain often doesn’t notice that we used the same word in three sentences in a row. Re-reading will help to detect it and synonyms can be used as replacements.
However, on some rare occasions, tautology can be used in anaphoras (repeated usage of the same word as a rhetorical device). They could give the writing a more powerful tone but must be used accurately and professionally. Otherwise, it will simply be out of place. Also, in some cases repeated usage of professional terms can’t be omitted. Try to rephrase or replace them with pronouns at least once.
Read it out
Another good idea to spot the errors is to read the whole thing out loud. You may notice some mistakes phonetically, even if they were unnoticed while re-reading in mind. Some suggest reading the text backwards. Not literally of course, but in the terms of sentence order.
It can also greatly help to recognize all the previously mentioned mistakes, like tautologies or complex structures. They may seem fine while on the screen, but once you hear them, they can sound pretty dumb and unnecessary. Also, it will help to receive a better feeling of the overall tone of the text.
As stated in this list, these are the most basic and common tips for editing an essay. The best tactic ever is to analyze them to develop your own techniques and strategies on how to work with an essay. Because you know better how your thoughts flow and what the weak and strong points are. So, grow, develop, keep the hard work going, work on the mistakes and you’ll always achieve the best result.