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Essay Editing and Proofreading Strategies for Beginners

After having completed the essay you should get down to another equally important process - editing and proofreading. Actually, it's two processes. Your initial draft might have been far from perfection, and we hope you took your time and brought your statement to the required standards. It usually takes more than one or two drafts. Nevertheless, when everything seems ready, there comes the time for final stages of essay writing.

Editing vs. Proofreading

Though often used interchangeably, these two, as we have said, are different processes.

Editing is rewriting the text for flow, improving its style, making the message more clear and remove any ambiguity from it. One's expertise, "language sense" and intuition help here.

Proofreading is a post-editing process with the aim of ensuring absolute absence of any grammar mistakes (spelling, punctuation, word usage etc.)

Steps of Effective Editing and Proofreading

  • Start with looking through the text as if you are trying to get first impression of it. Correct everything that seems wrong or out of place. This should be done quickly, without too long contemplation.
  • Having done this, read the text attentively and slowly, especially those areas that, after a closer look, you feel like rewriting in order to improve the style and speech flow.
  • Pay special attention to the beginning and ending of your essay. As you know, the ending and beginning of anything, not only texts, are most remembered parts. You ought to make sure they are able to impress the reader, at least to show all your strong points. In the conclusion it would be good not only to restate what has been said in the main part, but enable the reader to see "all parts of the puzzle" fit together.
  • When you are absolutely sure that you have done your best, show your work to somebody else. You will need a person whom you trust – it could be anybody whose knowledge, experience and position can influence the outcome favorably. Show the essay to different people (parents, teachers, older friends) and collect their notes and impressions. Different people see the text differently, notice different aspects, and it would be helpful to get feedback from everywhere.
  • Consider your advisers' ideas and suggestions and make final adjustment of your essay. Make sure that it renders the message in a clear, logical way and appropriate style. Now you are ready to hand it in and wait for the deserved recognition.

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