Suggestions for changes in substance usually require a few sentences of explanation. These more important suggestions are often put at the end of the paper. To make sense of an instructor's abbreviations, you need a key explaining what they mean. Your concentration may start to wane if you try to proofread the entire text at one time. Make sure that you complete the most important editing and proofreading tasks.
Editing Editing is what you begin doing as soon as you finish your first draft. You reread your draft to see, for example, whether the paper is well-organized, the transitions between paragraphs are smooth, and your evidence really backs up your argument. You can edit on several levels: Content Have you done everything the assignment requires? Are the claims you make accurate? If it is required to do so, does your paper make an argument?
Is the argument complete? Are all of your claims consistent? Have you supported each point with adequate evidence? For additional tips, see our handouts on understanding assignments and developing an argument. Overall structure Does your paper have an appropriate introduction and conclusion?
Is your thesis clearly stated in your introduction? Is it clear how each paragraph in the body of your paper is related to your thesis? Are the paragraphs arranged in a logical sequence? Have you made clear transitions between paragraphs?
One way to check the structure of your paper is to make a reverse outline of the paper after you have written the first draft. See our handouts on introductions , conclusions , thesis statements , and transitions. Structure within paragraphs Does each paragraph have a clear topic sentence?
Does each paragraph stick to one main idea? Are there any extraneous or missing sentences in any of your paragraphs? See our handout on paragraph development. Clarity Have you defined any important terms that might be unclear to your reader? Is the meaning of each sentence clear? One way to answer this question is to read your paper one sentence at a time, starting at the end and working backwards so that you will not unconsciously fill in content from previous sentences.
Is it clear what each pronoun he, she, it, they, which, who, this, etc. Have you chosen the proper words to express your ideas?
Style Have you used an appropriate tone formal, informal, persuasive, etc. Have you varied the length and structure of your sentences? Do you tends to use the passive voice too often? Do you repeat a strong word for example, a vivid main verb unnecessarily?
For tips, see our handouts on style and gender-inclusive language. Citations Have you appropriately cited quotes, paraphrases, and ideas you got from sources?
Are your citations in the correct format? See the UNC Libraries citation tutorial for more information. As you edit at all of these levels, you will usually make significant revisions to the content and wording of your paper.
Keep an eye out for patterns of error; knowing what kinds of problems you tend to have will be helpful, especially if you are editing a large document like a thesis or dissertation. Your quotation is inaccurate in some detail, perhaps by omitting an initial capital letter at the start of a line. If your quotation is run into your own text as opposed to being indented and typed line for line , indicate line breaks by using a slash.
Plural subjects take plural verbs. The mere presence of a plural noun in between the subject and verb does not justify changing the verb to the plural if the grammatical subject is singular.
.Berkeley: University of California Press, Revision Abbreviations are symbols or brief abbreviations which some writing instructors put on student papers to suggest ways to improve the paper. Does each paragraph stick to one main idea? It's your job to actually say what you mean. If you know that you have an effective way to catch errors when the paper is almost finished, you can worry less about editing while you are writing your first drafts. You reread your draft to see, for example, whether the paper is well-organized, the transitions between paragraphs are smooth, and your evidence really backs up your argument. Is the argument complete? See "Obsc" below.
Although many people use the terms interchangeably, editing and proofreading are two different stages of the revision process. The proofreader uses a series of symbols and abbreviations to suggest changes, correct spelling errors, improve punctuation, and generally enhance the quality and readability of a hard copy document. Are the claims you make accurate? Proofreading is a learning process. This is another technique to help you to read every sentence carefully. Grammar checkers can be even more problematic.
Plural subjects take plural verbs.