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The Importance of Essay Editing

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1. The Role of Essay Editing

Although self-editing should not be disregarded, having someone else to edit your work is often very beneficial. A friend can help you see if your writing is logical, if the reader will understand what you are trying to say, and if your points are effectively presented. Unfortunately, there are many drawbacks to having a friend edit your paper, the foremost being that your friend is probably not a writing expert. This person may not be able to effectively point out writing weaknesses or errors in grammar. This is where professional essay editing assistance can really prove beneficial. A professional editor has a keen understanding of writing and how it will be received by readers. He or she will be able to effectively edit your writing and point out any areas that could be improved. This will in turn help you to produce high quality writing and an effective essay.

Any writer can tell you how satisfying it is to write an essay and leave it be after the last period. It seems the work is done, but in reality, this is far from the truth. It is actually rather difficult for any writer to effectively self-edit. Self-editing is simply the process of rereading what you have written and making any necessary changes. This seems to be an easy task, but it is in fact a complex process that is difficult to do effectively. Making changes to your own work is exceedingly difficult because you have already read what you meant to write; the words are implanted in your brain, making it increasingly difficult to see if the writing works effectively. This mental inertia makes it difficult to spot mistakes in logic, structural flaws, and grammar mistakes. Editing one’s own writing is also a psychologically burdensome task; those of us who have written an essay the night before it was due can attest to the pain one feels when chopping up a piece of writing that was written with great effort under time constraints.

2. Common Mistakes in Essays

Reliance on personal pronouns and casual language The use of “I think” is often said only for its redundancy. If it is your paper, and you are writing about your ideas, it is obvious that this is what you think or believe. Think about an alternative way to say the same thing. Using “I” excessively makes the essay seem informal and biased. It is important to separate your personal bias from the topic you are discussing, which can sometimes be difficult to do. This bias can lead to an essay being one-sided, so it is important to consider broad arrays of topics or arguments within your topic. This is another theme and cohesion aspect. “I” is often used to make transitions between paragraphs less awkward. This is a fundamental flaw in lack of essay structure and logic. If a reader cannot see a connection between your ideas and your transitions are not consistent, then it is difficult for the reader to follow what you are trying to say. Make sure your ideas are organized in a clear and understandable way before attempting to make any points in an essay. Often, the organization of your ideas will help the reliability issue as well.

Misunderstanding the title Many students make the mistake of not answering the question that was actually asked. They make their own question and try to answer it, or write about the assigned topic, but in a roundabout way. If a student is given an essay to write regarding a historical figure, and they were to just write about their entire life story it would be irrelevant to the assignment. This is not what the assignment asked the student to do, so it is important to re-read your assignment to make sure you understand what is required. Ask yourself, “Have I answered the actual question asked?”.

3. Techniques for Effective Essay Editing

Use your spell and grammar checks! They are useful, indeed, but they aren’t always accurate. They won’t be able to pick up words that are used incorrectly if they’re still words! They can also be poor judges of the tone of your writing. If you have remaining time, try to edit at different times in different moods; find out what kind of editor you are. Some people revise and edit simultaneously, some do a quick run-through and then revise. Some like to edit in short spells, while others work best if they sit down and edit for long periods. This will also help you determine lower and upper bounds for the time: how little time can you spend and still produce a quality paper, and how long is too long to spend on any one paper. Always keep a copy of your previous edits and try not to save over too many files, just in case you need to backtrack.

4. Benefits of Professional Essay Editing

A good professional editor understands the structure of the essay, the proper spelling and grammar of the language, and the need for clarity of thought. Many editors are now offering academic editing and this is invariably an acceptable idea for students who need to make a fine piece of work to a deadline. An editor can help to improve the form of your essay, be it by checking use of tenses and prepositions, the structure of sentences and paragraphs, or the use of connecting paragraphs. This is a meaningful idea for students whose first language is not English. A good editor can help to evaluate your arguments and scrutinize the way you are using evidence in your essay. Many are well informed in a particular area and will offer suggestions in their field of expertise. A professional editor who is well versed in the requirements of the style of essay you have can help you to put across your ideas in a way that is simpler to understand and more effective. Editors who are members of professional associations such as the Society for Editors and Proofreaders have varying levels of experience and the more experienced may charge more but they will provide a valuable service. For those on a tight budget you may be able to find a student editor who offers their services at a lower rate.

5. Conclusion

There are many reasons why essay editing is important. The content and argument of the essay may well be solid, and the writer may well have avoided incoherence, contradiction and waffle to a large extent, but without editing a vital dimension of the quality of the essay may remain unrefined. This is because editing focuses on the finer aspects of language, such as sentence structure, grammar and punctuation. When these elements are not learned as part of the writing process, they become more significant when the work tries to masquerade as an A level essay, or as academic writing of a comparable standard. Failure to address these issues may leave the essay to lose marks that it clearly deserves. Beyond this it is important to learn about or be reminded of the detailed guidelines on how to gain those extra marks. For instance, an argument may well be solid and the evidence strong, but because of an insubstantial linking passage the marker steps back from the writing and does not feel confident that the student has fully understood the complexity of what it is they are trying to say. This may lead to a lower grade. There are so many reasons that a marker may implement subjective grading, but each one of these is an opportunity for the well informed student to gain extra marks during a re-grade. Editing is the time to learn how to do this.

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