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The writing process - editing

When you have revised a piece of writing for its content, you are ready to check it for its accuracy. This is called editing, and includes checking grammar, spelling, punctuation and capitalization.

Itís not easy to check all these things together, so try doing them one at a time. Of course, you may find a tense problem as you are checking spelling or a spelling problem as you are checking punctuation. This is good - and you can make the necessary correction. You can also change the order you check your writing to suit yourself, but itís best to work through the text systematically. It is also a good idea to wait for a while before editing - you can often find more mistakes if you check your work the next day than immediately after itís finished.

You could also ask someone else to edit your writing. But be careful: another student (especially an ESL student) may not find all your grammar mistakes or may correct something that is not wrong. So even if you do get editing help, you should certainly do a final check yourself. (The final check before publishing is called proofreading.)

Small mistakes of grammar or spelling will not spoil a good piece of writing, but some readers get distracted by them and it is best to try and correct as many as you can. Good luck!

Note: There are some quizzes to help you practise correcting grammar mistakes in the grammar section of this website. You could also read the page entitled understanding writing mistakes

Printable editing checklist (.pdf)

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