The next step after revising the content is editing. When you edit, examine the surface features of your text: spelling, grammar, spacing, and punctuation. It takes time, so be sure to budget time into the writing process to complete additional edits after revising. It is also very easy to read past a mistake, so set your paper aside for at least a few hours, if not a day or more, so your mind can rest. If you need additional proofreading help, ask a reliable friend, classmate, or peer tutor to make a final pass on your paper to look for anything you missed.
Here are a few tips about readers:
- They don’t notice correct spelling, but they do notice misspellings. They won’t cheer when you use there, their, and they’re correctly, but they will notice when you do not.
- They look past your sentences to get to your ideas – unless the sentences are awkward, poorly constructed, and frustrating to read.
- They notice when every sentence has the same rhythm as every other sentence, with no variety.
- The accumulation of errors distracts the reader from your argument and suggests that you didn’t put enough care into your writing.
Spell and Grammar Check
Spell and grammar checks can be helpful, but you must review them carefully. Your computer may be programmed to identify problem words, but it is not always correct, so don’t rely on it. A computer cannot consider context and meaning. For example, if the spellchecker identifies a word that is misspelled and provides alternatives, you might end up choosing a word that you never intended, even though it is spelled correctly. This can change the meaning of your sentence. Spellcheck can also miss misspelled words that are correct spellings of a different word: e.g., form versus from. Spellcheck may also make grammatical suggestions such as semi-colons and hyphens that do not necessarily fit your sentence structure.
Remixed with our own original content and adapted, with editorial changes, from:
Writing for Success 1st Canadian Edition by Tara Horkoff is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted. Download for free at: opentextbc.ca/writingforsuccess/