Editing focuses on correcting the details of a written draft, such as spelling mistakes, grammar, sentence structure, word choice, conciseness, and APA Style formatting. Although writing always involves changing and improving the grammar, word choice, or structure of sentences, these edits become more important once most revisions are complete in order to complete the final draft. After all, there is little point editing many of the small details in a draft when entire sentences, paragraphs, or sections may be removed, replaced, or otherwise substantially revised.
The next sections of this guide provide some general recommendations for self-editing or for either giving or seeking editorial advice on a draft where appropriate. Please ensure that you have the appropriate permissions from instructors before you work with others to either suggest or receive feedback on draft coursework.
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Do you find it easier to spot mistakes and correct others' writing than your own? If so, you're not alone: writers often struggle to see and correct the minor details in a document, such as the vocabulary, punctuation, order of words, and even the format of citations and references, especially when compared to their performance in peer-editing tasks (Abadikah & Yasami, 2014; Diab, 2010). Ironically, you may find that the more familiar you are with your own paper, the more difficult it becomes to notice mistakes or things you'd like to change in the text.
The editing tips in this guide will help you to see your writing as if you're reading it for the first time, and well as suggest strategies to help you look for specific issues in your draft.
Abadikhah, S. & Yasami, F. (2014). Comparison of the effects of peer- versus self-editing on linguistic accuracy of Iranian EFL students. 3L: Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies, 20(3), 113–124.
Diab, N.M. (2010). Effects of peer- versus self-editing on students’ revision of language errors in revised drafts. System. 38(1), 85–95. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2009.12.008