Edit, Edit, Edit

edit-edit-editEvery writer must also be an editor. It is alarmingly easy to make mistakes – be they typographical, grammatical, stylistic, or substantive – and you have an obligation to correct as many as possible by revisiting your text. The more important a document, the more closely you should read and reread it, both for your sake and that of your audience. Editing is analogous to bathing – a “clean” text is a mark of self-respect that earns respect from others. Ultimately, however, writers are too close to their own work to identify every problem, so never hesitate to summon another pair of eyes to supplement your own.



Use spellcheckers, but cautiously. Among other challenges, English is rife with homophones that may be spelled correctly while being manifestly out of place, as in this example: “The hole bored complemented the principles on there metal.” In this example, only “there” was questioned by Microsoft Word. The sentence should, of course, read, “The whole board complimented the principals on their mettle.”

Proofread everything you write at least once, ideally in a low voice. Enunciating your words catches more mistakes than merely scanning them. Though not environmentally friendly, it is also easier to recognize errors on a printed page than on a computer screen.

Always be prepared to “sleep” on what you write. Text that appeared flawless at 5:00 p.m. may strike you quite differently at 9:00 a.m.

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