Tips Editing Papers
Every student looks forward to the moment when the academic paper is complete. At this time, he/she views the paper as a masterpiece. However, sometimes, the paper may be far from perfect, and it is great if you set your mind on proofreading the paper after it has been written and editing it. So, how to edit the paper properly?
First of all, you should ensure that you have more than enough time for writing the paper plus some extra time for editing. Preferably, you should make a small break between the writing and editing stage as it is important to distance yourself from the writing process. In a day or two after writing, you will get that fresh look on the paper and will be more likely to notice some grammar or contextual mistakes. If you edit the essay right after you have finished writing, you will hardly notice its imperfections.
At the same time, you should not be obsessed with proofreading the paper. If you focus too much on making everything perfect, you will never reach that perfection. Remember Hemingway who rewrote the final part of Farewell to Arms for 39 times? I guess, you would not like to repeat his experience. Proofread the paper maximum twice - do not waste time on polishing or rewriting it if everything sounds clear and there are no grammar or punctuation mistakes.
To Strike a Balance When There is Enough of Editing Follow Such Tips
- First, concentrate on the core matter of the paper, i.e. its structure, context, and logical coherence. Do not try to correct typos in the first place. Pay attention to the following:
- Double-check on whether you have proper structure (an introductory paragraph, a thesis statement, body paragraphs, and conclusion);
- While reading, make sure that the ideas are developed logically and there are smooth transitions between paragraphs;
- Check on whether the introduction is interesting to read and whether it has attention-grabber;
- Check on topic sentences in the body paragraphs;
- Ask yourself if your conclusion briefly summarizes the paper;
- Is the thesis statement strong and clear? Is the core idea/ argument of the paper clear to the reader? Is the thesis statement properly supported?
- Move on to correcting grammar, spelling, and punctuation (and typos naturally). If you are lost where to start looking for such errors, use a text editor:
- Pay attention to MS Word suggestions regarding word spelling, collocations, and sentence structures as well as to the underlined parts of sentences. Make sure you do not have run-ons, dangling or misplaced modifiers. However, do not merely rely on text editor as it is frequently mistaken.
- If you use proper names in your paper, use search option (Ctrl + F) to check on whether you have spelled it properly each time you used it.
- Make sure you use only one space between words.
- As you have Internet, use it to the fullest:
- Upload your text to Google Translate and listen to it. You will be surprised that your text is perceived in a different way when it is heard. Such strategy will help you find mistakes easier.
- Use online collocation dictionaries to choose on the correct option of prepositions/ adjectives, etc.
- Use free grammar and punctuation checking programs:
- Grammarly, WhiteSmoke, Ginger, and AftertheDeadline will help you with grammar;
- LanguageTool.org and PaperRater will assist you if you punctuation is your weak point;
- StyleWriter and AutoCrit will help you polish the writing style;
- CiteFast and EasyBib will help you provide correct citations according to the required format.
- Proofreading tactics:
- Print out your essay and read it aloud;
- Try reading it starting from the conclusion;
Make a pause after each sentence you read.
- Take a pen or pencil and make corrections manually paying attention to misplaced words, wrong style usage, and grammar or punctuation mistakes. Pay special attention to commonly misspelled words such as affect (verb) - effect (noun), advise (verb) - advice (noun), break- brake, tail - tale, etc.
- Approach your essay proofreading individually: notice what errors to make the most frequently, write them down and correct on your own to avoid them in the future.
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