Editing focuses on the content of the document, or what you’re saying with your words.
Editing includes making sure a writer:
- Uses active instead of passive voice
- Includes sentence variety
- Focuses on one main idea per paragraph
- Matches the vocabulary with the intended audience
- Uses words and sentences that flow well
An editor will make changes to the paper wherever he or she sees fit. An editor might combine two simple sentences to form one compound sentence, or the editor might separate a paragraph that includes two ideas instead of one. An editor might notice that the piece—whether a paper, article, blog post, etc.—ends abruptly and construct a better ending. He or she will improve the quality of the content to make sure it flows well and can be read easily by your audience.
Really, proofreading is the simple part in my opinion. It will require meticulous attention to detail. Simply put, proofreading includes:
- Checking for proper spelling, grammar and punctuation
We want to remember that a question gets a question mark instead of a period. Also, quotation marks generally go outside of a period, and parentheses before. The last course of a meal is a dessert, and an excessively hot region with little to no precipitation is a desert. Subjects and verbs should always agree, even when the sentence structure makes subject-verb agreement confusing. So an English manual is good to have around for random questions you might have about grammar.
That’s it for today’s lesson. Now go forth and edit; and then proofread.