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Essay Editing Guide: What Are The Common Mistakes?

It doesn't matter what the topic, scope, or style of your essay is. What matters is that it will be improved by proper editing. But what is the best way to review your work? How can you make it more concise? How do you ensure your argument is crystal clear? A well-organized and laid out thesis, supporting evidence and conclusion will win your reader over. An essay that is sloppy, difficult to follow, and inconclusive, will not a good grade get.

Here are some pointers to help you make the most of your essay by avoiding some common essay editing mistakes:

  1. Did You Properly Address The Assignment, And Defend Your Thesis?
  2. Before you even start to review your essay, go back and check the question and the outline of your assignment. It will help remind you of what exactly the topic of the essay is, and the direction that you are taking. If you forget the question and the parameters that your instructor is expecting, you are doomed to fail.

  3. Make Certain You've Put More Emphasis On Analyzing, Not Describing.
  4. It can be easy to get side-tracked when writing your essay, and end up with far more descriptive language than is really necessary. When you edit your work, ask yourself what words are addressing the question or topic that the essay concerns, and which words are not. Cut the copy that is keeping your essay from making a clear, concise and convincing argument.

  5. Find And Fix One Kind Of Problem At A Time.
  6. Concentrate on one issue at a time. First, look at the essay structure and the argument you're making. Next, check that your paragraph and sentence structures make sense. You can continue with a spelling and grammar check. Some students find it easier to slide a ruler or piece of paper down the page as they read. This may help you to concentrate on each sentence and each word as you edit and proofread.

  7. Read Your Essay Aloud.
  8. You may hear a mistake that needs correcting, one that you may have missed while looking over your composition. Have a fellow student or a friend read it out for you. They also may be able to provide constructive criticism as to editing that needs to be done.

  9. Sleep On It.
  10. If time permits, give yourself a day or so to not think about what you have just written. A good nights sleep, and a new day may provide you with the energy and insight to make any last minute adjustments.

If you still have doubts about the quality of your paper, ask for help. While your instructor may not be willing to read over your entire paper, he or she may be able to give some editing tips of their own.


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