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How to Edit an Essay: 3 Pieces of Advice You'll Never Forget

One of the most crucial steps in writing an essay is the editing process. Many writers skip this step because they are confident that they did not make any mistakes when they were writing their paper or because they are so relieved that they have something to submit that they just want to get it handed in and get it over with.

Editing is important because you have spent so much time and energy writing the essay that you don’t want to lose points for careless grammatical or spelling errors. Others think that the grammar and spell check provided by their word processing program will be enough to ensure that all mistakes are caught. Don’t make this mistake. There are three main things to think about when editing your paper. They will help you be successful every time.

  1. Start with the word processors spelling and grammar check.

    There is nothing wrong with using the grammar and spelling check that is provided with your word processor. It will find a lot of mistakes and you can carefully go through each of the errors to assess if changes need to be made. Do not just blindly click through and make all of the changes that it suggests. There are some things that it can’t catch and if you just click through it, you will just be adding to the errors.

  2. Check punctuation.

    Go through each of the sentences and check your punctuation. There is not a check that will catch a missed comma. This is something that you will have to catch yourself. If you look at every sentence individually, you will be able to see if you missed a comma or misused another punctuation point.

  3. Read your paper out loud

    When you are reading your paper out loud, you will find errors in grammar that you may not notice when you are reading in your head. The wrong sentences will just not sound right. You also tend to read slower when you are reading out loud so you will be able to take a more thorough look. Be sure to read through it several times.

The more times you go over your paper; the better off you will be. The idea is to reread and edit your paper several times. You will most likely catch all of the errors if you just keep going over it until you have gone over it three different times without finding an error.

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