As a writer, revising and editing your writing has the same importance as drafting. Once you finish writing an essay, the next main step is to review the essay and look for certain mistakes in it. This process requires a certain skill to pull off.
In order to have a firm grip on the process of revision and editing, you must know all the possible errors that your writing might have. When you are writing an essay, such mistakes are very likely to be a part of your writing.
So, in this article, we are going to discuss some of the common errors to look out for when revising or editing your essay. But first, let’s explain the significance of this process.
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Why is Revising and Editing Necessary?
Some writers think that revising their essay drafts is pointless. This is an absolutely erroneous approach. When you are trying to translate your ideas into words, you are bound to make some mistakes. Unless you are a very experienced writer, you might not always be able to keep the technical aspects of writing in mind.
If you skip this step and directly publish/submit your essay, you might later find out that you have made some very strange mistakes. That’s why as a precautionary measure, you should always revise your essay and edit it accordingly. This step shouldn’t be skipped even if you are completely confident that your essay is flawless.
Tips for Revising and Editing an Essay
Here are some of the common mistakes that you should try to find when revising your essay. Once you find them out, you can make appropriate changes to fix them.
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1. Make Sure Your Essay is Properly Formatted
Your essay should have a well-organized and readable format. All your paragraphs should be in the correct order. In order to make your essay easy to understand and readable, you should make sure that the paragraphs are short and descriptive.
One tip to keep in mind is to ensure that when someone reads your essay, he/she doesn’t have any difficulty understanding it. In order to achieve such a level of clarity in your essay, you should avoid long and detailed paragraphs. Large chunks of text can be very difficult to read.
To sum it up, there are two things that you have to look for when reviewing the format of your essay:
- Order of paragraphs
- Length of phrases and paragraphs
If you find any formatting errors in your essay, you should edit them to make your essay more readable and understandable.
2. Look For Redundancy
The repetition of words or even phrases usually occurs when writing an essay. This is because an essay is a lengthy body of text that explains a single topic or a thesis statement. The possibility of repeating words is very high in this type of writing.
When you revise your essay, you should look for such repetition. If you find repeated words, you can simply replace them with synonyms. However, repeated phrases have to be dealt with a little differently.
The most common approach to fixing redundant sentences is to either remove them completely or paraphrase them. Paraphrasing means editing a sentence in such a way that its meaning remains unchanged.
Similarly, redundancy can also occur if you start multiple sentences in the same way. Here is an example of how this can happen:
His name was Alexander the Great. Alexander was a great warrior. Alexander was determined to take over the World. Alexander was given the title of king at a very young age.
As you can see, every sentence starts with the same word. This is making the reading experience a bit uncomfortable. To fix this, you can use pronouns at the start of some of the sentences.
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3. Review Your Sentences for Clarity
Just like the format of your essay, the sentence structure and word choice also affect the readability of your essay. Your sentences should be structured in a non-confusing way. Les you unknowingly write complex sentences. You should find these complicated sentences and re-order them to enhance the reading experience.
Here is an example of a complicated sentence.
“The reigns to making key decisions about our country have been given to political leaders, the ones with no sense of patriotism.”
Here is a better way to write the above sentence:
“Unpatriotic political leaders have been given the reigns to make key decisions about our country’s well-being.”
The key changes made in the sentence are changing the voice of the sentence from passive to active and eliminating the dependent clause. Such tricks can make your sentences much more readable and easier to understand.
4. Check For Grammar Errors
Grammatical mistakes are one of the most common writing errors in essay drafts. Especially if English is not your native or first language, then the probability of such errors is relatively high.
According to online research, there were a total of 368 grammar errors detected in 30 essays written by students. These students were studying English as a foreign language.
But even if English is your first language, you can still make grammar mistakes because spoken English and written English has a few differences. Some grammatically incorrect phrases can be overlooked in a real-life conversation. But these phrases can be used in an essay because they will be considered wrong and consequently damage the quality of your essay.
So, in order to write a professional and quality essay, you should eliminate grammar errors from your essay. You can look out for these mistakes by yourself if you are familiar with grammar rules and conventions. Otherwise, you can use an online grammar checker. These are tools that can detect grammatical errors in a piece of text.
The above image shows how grammar errors are detected by an online grammar-checking tool.
5. Find Punctuation Mistakes
Correct punctuation is an essential part of a quality essay. We often completely ignore punctuation while creating an essay draft.
A punctuation error seems like an insignificant or neglectable mistake. But w wrongly placed comma can change the entire meaning of a sentence. That’s why during the revision of your essay, you should pay close attention to punctuation usage. Also, you should look for instances where a punctuation mark is missing.
Finding these punctuation mistakes in a detailed essay can be a difficult task. For example, you might get confused about whether to use a colon or a semi-colon in a certain situation. To make this process simpler, you can take help from an online punctuation checker. These are identical to the grammar checkers discussed in the previous section.
6. Look Out for Confusing Words
There are many words that have different meanings and spellings but sound the same. These words are often used interchangeably. This can result in sentences that are incorrect or sentences that don’t have the meaning.
Some examples of these words are:
Such words are known as homophones and can often confuse writers. You should find these words when revising your content. If you are confused about a word, you should confirm its meaning using a dictionary or by searching it online.
7. Set Aside Some Time to Proofread Your Essay
Once you have identified and fixed all the above-mentioned mistakes, you should have a final proofreading session. You should read all the parts of your essay to determine whether you are satisfied with it or not.
You can also take a third person’s opinion, such as a family member or a friend. They might find some mistakes that you had overlooked.
When Is It Time to Proofread?
To determine this, you should make a checklist of all the errors that you want to check for and eliminate from your essay. Once all the errors in that checklist have been removed, you can proofread your essay. Once you complete that, your essay will be in its finalized form.
There are 3 main steps to writing a proficient and error-free essay. These are drafting, revising, and editing. All of these steps have equal importance. In this article, we explained how you can efficiently perform the revising and editing steps. Errors like poor readability, incorrect grammar, and unorganized formatting should be removed during these steps. A few valuable methods of doing so are given above.