Top 10 Essential Tips How to Edit an Essay

Every student faces multiple written assignments during his years of studies. And for every good student, it’s important to improve his work and skills from task to task. To create a really perfect paper in any sphere content is essential, but today it’s already not enough. The main key to getting a state-of-art paper is effective editing, though it may be a challenge, it’s worth it. Providing a neat and accurate paper, checked for structure, wording, mistakes, and formatting, you do not only show you are a diligent student but demonstrate your respect to your assessor and other readers.

Find below the 10 useful editing tips, which are sure to help you achieve a better essay every time you have written a new one. Take ten or fifteen minutes more to check your essay before submitting and it will definitely make a difference.

You can just study the tips below and take home something, which appeals to you most, or make a checklist and keep it alongside to use for every paper you are going to send off. It’s up to you, let’s start.

Check your essay structure

It’s a good habit to leave some time between the moment the essay is finished and editing. It will allow you to have a fresh look at your piece of writing. Start from checking your paper structure. It should first meet the generally accepted guidelines and secondly be logical. So reread your essay and make sure your argumentation is logical, sufficient and effective. In case you see that some points should be moved or altered, do not hesitate to do it for your better results.

Improve your sentence structure

Check the length of your sentences and paragraphs. Sometimes it may be tricky to read the whole work and to grasp its sense if the sentences are too long. The same works for paragraphs, they should not be longer than 4, maximum 5 sentences. So reread your paper and make sure your sentences contain not more than then 3 clauses each otherwise paraphrase long phrases making them short or divide a sentence into several smaller ones.

Check for repetitions

When you are focused on writing it’s easy to miss the repetitions, either of words or ideas. Study your work thoroughly again and cross out the phrases and ideas repeated without need. Keep in mind that the first mentioning of some fact is not necessarily the most appropriate one, so think where the best moment for your idea is and delete the other mentionings of it. Avoid repeating the same words, as well as introductory and linking phrases, they should be variable especially in the frame of one paragraph.

Do not trust the spellcheck 100%

Various spellchecking services are quite handy nowadays, but still, it should be kept in mind that they only perform a machine check. It means they are good to find certain typos or misspelling, but they will not indicate the wrong usage of words or vice versa may underlying the correct phrase if it’s not ordinary. It may fail to find such typos as “form” instead of “from”, due to the fact both words exist in the English language. That’s why to pick up every single error, you should read it carefully, maybe even aloud, yourself.

Get rid of tautology

We have mentioned above the necessity to avoid repeated word phrases and ideas, but here tautology can hide inside the phrases like “a big giant” ” a small trifle” and some others. “A giant” and “a trifle” have already the meaning of extremely big and small and convey the meaning sufficiently. With this in mind reread your paper and get rid of such stylistic mistakes, they only make your writing worse.

Mind your commas

This is the aspect when too many comas are as bad as too few ones. When your sentence is overloaded with punctuation marks it may seem odd and difficult to read. When you lack comas in a sentence, your reader may be bewildered with its content and will have to read it several times before he figures out what you intended to say. To avoid such jumbled mess in your piece of writing or broken sentences, just put commas in the places you pause while speaking, semicolons where you pause a bit longer or to link two independent sentence clauses. It’s a simple, but quite a workable secret of effective punctuation.

Remove exclamation marks and ellipses

Such punctuation marks can only be used in academic papers in the exceptional cases. Ellipses are allowed in citations, but you should not use it in your writing. Your research work presupposes strong argumentation and clear evidence, no uncertainty should be expressed with ellipses.

Exclamation marks reflect emotions and emotions have nothing to do with academic writing, do not use them if you want your work to be taken seriously.

Attribute quotations correctly

Keep in mind that each and every quotation should be attributed in a proper way, so make sure you indicate who your citations belong to. In case you use footnotes, focus on their correct formatting and provide the references for all the sources you’ve used.

Make your spelling consistent

Remember that some words may be spelled in several ways and both variants will be correct, it’s important to check that you have the spelling appropriate to your paper and the language you should use. British English differs from American English and you must ensure your default processor settings have the right autocorrect adjustments.

Check your formatting

Your formatting should never be neglected, as it makes your paper look professionally. Check the correct formatting of headings, usage of font and italics, proper spacing and underlining, where it’s necessary.

Looking at the list above right now you may think it’s too complicated to edit all those points at a time. It may be difficult, but quite possible. At first, you may use a separate reading session for each point, but the more you practice the fewer readings you will require for editing and polishing your work. You have already devoted much time and effort to your paper writing, several more times of looking it through will only help it in getting a brilliant grade instead of a good one. Believe our long-term experience, this will definitely pay off.