Editing is a crucial part of the writing process, and taking editing tips from writing tutors can offer invaluable insight into enhancing your writing skill set. Writing tutors have substantial experience in diverse types of writing and can provide solid advice on editing approaches. Whether you’re drafting an academic essay, creative writing assignment, or corporate document, a writing tutor can help you hone your writing skills and improve the quality of your work.
In this guide, we’ll look into useful editing tips from writing tutors that can be used to refine your writing and better your writing abilities.
Why is it important to edit your content?
It is essential to edit your content as it helps perfect the structure, clarity, and fluency of your writing. With careful proofreading and revision, you can eliminate mistakes, communicate your message effectively, and render your writing more compelling and persuasive for your readers.
Why are so many students having trouble with editing?
Many students have a hard time when it comes to editing their work. Maybe they have limited experience with successful editing methods, and/or have difficulty recognizing what needs to be improved. Furthermore, time restraints and competing priorities can also inhibit the proper editing of student writing. Some students may also feel overwhelmed by the material required to produce without the necessary support or resources to develop their editing skills.
When should you start to revise your writing?
Once you have written your rough draft, it is time to begin editing. Taking a break between the drafting and editing stages is essential, as it enables you to return to your work with a clear perspective and recognize any areas that need development or correction. Doing so allows you to create a piece of writing that meets the necessary standards for your target audience and purpose and ultimately improves the quality of your writing.
What are some common editing errors?
Editing errors can vary hugely depending on the writer’s experience and proficiency level. Nevertheless, writers may encounter several common editing errors during the editing process. These include the following:
Spelling mistakes and typos
During the writing process, it is pretty standard for misspelled words, typographical errors, and confusion between homophones (e.g., “there” vs. “their”) to slip through unnoticed.
Grammar and punctuation errors
These errors comprise a range of issues, such as improper verb tense usage, subject-verb agreement discrepancies, comma splices, run-on sentences, and mislaid or absent punctuation marks.
Repetition and wordiness
Unnecessary repetition, overusing certain words or phrases, and excessive verbosity can reduce the clarity and conciseness of the writing. It can also make the piece less engaging.
Pro tip from Lessonpal tutor Cristina Salazar: If you click on “command” + “F”, or find the “search” feature on the platform you are using to write your document on (ie. Word, Google Docs, etc) you can search for words you do not wish to have. For example, if you tend to write “we” or “I” on a paper and you are not allowed to in a specific assignment, you can always double-check utilizing this feature.
Weak sentence structure
Sentences that lack proper structure can make a text hard to comprehend. This includes sentences that are overly long, complex, and disorganized.
Inconsistent or unclear language
The use of inconsistent terminology, ambiguous wording, or unclear language can be confusing for readers and can weaken the overall message. Fluff or unnecessary content can also cut the effect of a statement or argument.
Neglecting to check the content for errors and discrepancies is a frequent mistake many students and authors make while writing a piece. This will prevent them from catching easily identifiable mistakes leading to reduced clarity and effectiveness.
Do’s and dont’s of editing
When editing your content, you must be mindful of how you craft it to guarantee that it reads as polished and professional. Below are some tips to help you edit your work successfully while avoiding common mistakes:
Do: It is important to ensure that your writing follows a clear and logical structure. This will help support your main argument or purpose.
Don’t: Do not include any information that is not pertinent to the topic at hand. Avoid straying into unrelated tangents.
Pro tip from Lessonpal tutor, David Weir: The vomit tip. All the thoughts and ideas and word sections that come to you – vomit them out on the paper. What I mean is: spill your guts, put it all down on paper, without correction or hesitation. Then, later, return to it to organize and structure it and run it through Grammarly or such. Raw thought and creative processes are powerful but they must be joined to disciplined editing. And, obversely, disciplined editing of thoughtless and uncreative writing, well we all know that.
Introduction and conclusion
Do: Compose an engaging introduction that establishes the focus of your article. You should also construct a solid conclusion that encapsulates your main ideas and leaves a lasting impact on your reader.
Don’t: Introducing new ideas, in conclusion, is not recommended, as this can leave the reader feeling unsatisfied and confused. It is important to provide the reader a sense of resolution or closure.
Pro tip from Lessonpal tutor Iryna M: I highly recommend having a topic sentence in the introduction; all of that information will be discussed in your essay (body paragraphs).
Do: Use the active voice for effective sentences and ensure that your subject and verb agree in tense. Pay attention to sentence fragments and run-on sentences, and make sure your pronoun usage is accurate.
Don’t: Avoid using slang or language that is not appropriate for the context of your written work. Do not use unclear or vague language to prevent misinterpretation. Also, do not forget to review sentence structure and construction.
Pro tip from Lessonpal tutor Cisco Hernandez: Pay attention to subject-verb agreement, verb tenses, and sentence structure.
Do: Ensure the correct usage of punctuation marks (e.g., commas, periods, and semicolons) to increase comprehension and aid the reader’s experience. Also, verify that apostrophes, quotation marks, and hyphens/dashes are appropriately used.
Don’t: Avoid employing punctuation excessively or incorrectly, as it can impede the fluency and comprehension of your writing. Do not underestimate the necessity of reviewing your work for any punctuation mistakes.
Pro tip from Lessonpal tutor Kera Hollowell: One of the most common questions I get asked is when to use a comma. It can be a little tricky, but here are two general rules to live by that will help bump up that grade!
1. When your sentence has two complete ideas combined with a conjunction (but, and, so, etc.) throw that comma in right before it.
For example: ‘Bob hasn’t finished his breakfast. It was time for him to leave for work.’ becomes ‘Bob hasn’t finished his breakfast, but it was time for him to leave for work.’2. Use commas after an introduction to a subject to add more detail.
For example: ‘When Mary set the plate down, her brother came and snatched it away.’ , ‘At the large farmers’ market, people all over town came to buy produce.’
Do: Write succinctly and avoid lengthy, complicated sentences. Also, incorporate concrete examples to make your writing more vivid and captivating.
Don’t: Avoid jargon or technical terms that your readers may be unfamiliar with, and keep the details to a minimum to avoid confusion.
Pro tip from Lessonpal tutor Cassity Oertle: When bringing in a piece of evidence or a quote, always:
A. Introduce it, talk about the context of the quote, who said it, etc.
B. Explain how it fits into the larger framework of your argument.
Ask yourself why did I think this was a useful piece of evidence? How does this quote strengthen my argument?
Flow and readability
Do: To ensure your writing is cohesive and logical, use transitions to lead your reader through your work. You can create a smooth and natural flow by using transitions between your sentences and paragraphs.
Don’t: Avoid making abrupt shifts in tone or topic. Also, do not overuse transitions.
Pro tip from Lessonpal tutor Joy Chapman: The flow needs to focus on a movement of ideas, information, and facts which keeps pushing, pulling, enticing, or coaxing the reader to go forward. When it comes to readability then use sub-headings, visual elements, active voice, use simpler and shorter words, and use the active voice.
Do: Ensure that the essay is consistent in its writing style, including tenses, tones, and words used. Vary sentence lengths, and structures make the document exciting and dynamic.
Don’t: Avoid constructing overly intricate or convoluted sentences, as they can confuse the reader. Also, refrain from using jargon or acronyms without proper explanation, particularly when the audience may not be acquainted with them.
Voice and tone
Do: It is essential to maintain a consistent voice throughout your writing. Choose an appropriate tone suitable for your target audience and the purpose of your article. Utilize active sentences whenever possible and select a style that fits the topic and desired effect.
Don’t: Do not switch between different voices within the same work. Also, avoid using harsh or confrontational language that might be off-putting to readers; instead, opt for an even-tempered and respectful tone.
Pro tip from Lessonpal tutor, Joy Chapman: The tone and voice are for understanding the purpose and theme of it. These both continue to have feelings in the atmosphere that the author has set and that the reader gets when reading the story.
Do: You must carefully inspect your work for mistakes and consider seeking a second opinion to ensure nothing has been overlooked. Try using ChatGPT for a second run-through of editing and see if it makes solid editing improvements! Keep an eye on whether the language sounds human and make any more edits necessary.
Don’t: Do not solely rely on spell-check software or quickly scan your writing, as this can lead to overlooking serious mistakes or inconsistencies.
Pro tip from Lessonpal tutor, Cisco Hernandez: Take breaks between writing and proofreading to approach your work with fresh eyes.
How to effectively incorporate revision feedback from tutors?
Utilizing feedback from a tutor or teacher is essential for enhancing your writing aptitude. Some tips you can use to effectively incorporate feedback from tutors include the following:
- Look through the feedback thoroughly and make notes. It is essential to comprehend precisely what the instructor is proposing before you can incorporate the modifications into your composition.
- Take the necessary time to examine the feedback before making any adjustments. Haste can often lead to overlooked prospects for improvement.
- If it’s difficult to understand your tutor’s feedback, do not hesitate to request additional explanations.
- Formulate a strategy to implement the feedback and establish a hierarchy of importance for the areas needing the most attention.
- Practice and revise regularly and take the time to incorporate feedback into your writing to perfect your technique.
Pro tip from Lessonpal tutor Cristina Salazar: Always ask your professor what he/she/they expect! I have learned throughout the years that although I have a unique way of writing, many professors have specific expectations one can work towards. So when writing and editing, always communicate with your professor!
Leveraging digital editing tools
Digital tools can be an excellent resource for gaining editing tips from writing tutors. Online writing centers, editing software, and grammar checkers can provide invaluable guidance for grammar, punctuation, and style. By utilizing digital tools, authors can gain insight into their writing and enhance their abilities through precise feedback and directed revamping. If you’re a writing tutor, you can also check out some great digital tools we recommend to improve your lessons.
Pro tip from Lessonpal tutor David Weir: An app like Grammarly levels the playing field. And, by the way, your teachers are using it to check your work. For students for whom English is their second language, this is especially useful.
The big picture
Editing is vital to writing because it ensures clarity, coherence, and professionalism in your content. Remember that editing is an ongoing process; you should strive to perfect your range with every draft.
If you need any help with writing or perfecting your essays, Lessonpal tutors are available to help. Check out all the English and Writing tutors you could use to improve your writing and editing skills.