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5 Steps for Editing Your Own Writing

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❶They are helpful, but too late, sometimes, you may learn that they have failed in some humbly way.

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And if you must switch, start with one and finish with the other. Your readers will get lost. A powerful hyphen here and a thought-provoking semicolon there can be effective. But a piece of writing littered with all sorts of punctuation — parentheses, colons, ellipses, etc. Oftentimes, you can eliminate these extra pieces of punctuation with commas or by ending a sentence and starting a new one — and that makes your writing that much stronger.

Some people think jargon makes their writing sound smart, but you know better. Good writing does not confuse readers. If they need to grab a dictionary to finish a sentence, your writing has room for improvement.

To get your point across, use words people are familiar with. The English language has thousands of words. You can certainly find a shorter or more common word in your thesaurus than a jargony one. Did you catch the redundant words in that sentence? Brand new, advance planning, basic necessities… the list of these common phrases is longer than this blog post. Your sentences are straightforward. Or, your sentences are to-the-point.

Though prepositions of, in, to, for, etc. Prepositions need lots of friends. By cutting the preposition and the words that follow, you can cut three, four or even five words.

Sometimes a prepositional phrase can be replaced with just one more direct word, or cut completely. An easy way to cut prepositions is to look for opportunities to make something possessive. You never need it. Did you start to walk the dog, or did you walk the dog?

Is the car starting to roll down the hill, or is it rolling down the hill? In the other 95 percent, get rid of it! This is a very difficult one to remember. Explaining grammar is her specialty. John is the guy who always forgets his shoes, not the guy that always forgets his shoes.

Just get rid of it. This is often a symptom of lazy writing. There are lots of better, more interesting ways to start sentences. See how easy it is to make this mistake?

Just make sure your bullets correspond to one another. Too often, writers mix and match mistakes with what you should do or make transition to shoulds halfway through the post — which only confuses the reader. Often you can turn any idea into a tip by adding a verb. Which sounds more personable: And that makes it easier to connect with readers.

Contractions can also make your post easier to read and comprehend. So go out of your way to include them in your posts! Your editor will thank you. Instead, get rid of were or was, then eliminate that ing and replace it with past tense: Over people did not like your Facebook page — more than people did. Whenever you modify a noun with more than one word, you need a hyphen. No matter how good of a writer you are, when you sit down to write a first draft, you have a tendency to spit out sentences in a certain way or use certain words.

The more familiar you become with editing your own copy, the more quickly you should be able to pick up on your tells. And, the more ruthless you can be to eliminate them from your writing. But once I knew to look for it during revisions, I was able to correct it. The Write Life thewritelife. This course by Danny Iny will teach you how to write great posts, get them published anywhere you want, and benefit from traffic, reputation and sales.

I teach a writing class at the local college and will share these with my students. Thank you for this informative post! It is an excellent tutorial to improve my writing by making it more concise and readable. What a great post! Use indefinite adjectives with caution. Words like some or any can generally be dropped.

Our brain processes language differently when we read out loud, and this is an excellent way to spot mistakes we might otherwise miss. The UNC passive voice link leads to a page. It smoothed a bad relationship. He returned my work quickly, and provided as much feedback and interaction as I needed.

The coordinator was most helpful. My editor gave the most prompt and comprehensive answers to all my questions, was always available for consultations, and returned the work BEFORE the agreed upon deadlines.

Her sense of humor and patience, added to her most proficient editorial skills, turned this project into a most pleasant experience. I was able to present my findings in a scholarly manner and discuss the numbers in comfort and great detail! My advisor accepted my proposal after I incorporated your changes and recommendations and it is now in the hands of my committee. Your guidance and counsel changed a frustrating situation into a success!

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Is editing the same thing as proofreading? Not exactly. Although many people use the terms interchangeably, editing and proofreading are two different stages of the revision process. Both demand close and careful reading, but they focus on different aspects of . When editing a large document, check it in smaller chunks to get fast responses. Novelists and journalists might want to critique dialog separately or not at all. You can change how dialog is .

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10 ways to get the writing juices flowing The empty page or blank screen can seem daunting, but often that’s not the real impediment. Try these exercises to unblock your mind. Writing and editing courses from ed2go can help you learn to write and get started in a career that you find both exciting and rewarding. Whether you have a profession in mind or want to explore all your options, an online education from ed2go is a great way to break into the industry.