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What are the 4 Types of Essay Editing?

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No matter whether you are a freshman who does the first step in essay writing or an experienced postgraduate student who prepares for your first publication, document editing, and proofreading is crucial if you’d like to achieve the perfect result. Each essay you write should be checked for any grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors, not to mention refining a draft document to improve cohesion, flow, and readability.

If you are new to essay writing it’s probably better to hire professionals to help you in essay editing, because it’s quite a complex process. To make your essay look perfect, you must be familiar with the secrets and key components of the basic types of editing. Let’s take a look at the editing tools that are generally used by professionals.

What are the Main Steps of Editing?

High-level editors usually perform four stages of essay polishing:

  1. Structural editing – aims to improve the general quality of writing: its structure, flow of the content, tone, and style of the text. At this stage, you should highlight and eliminate flaws in logic, redundancy, and repetition in the text.
  2. Content or substantive editing – analyses organization, readability, clarity, and flow of the essay. This step includes improving paragraph transitions and checking coherence, and accuracy.
  3. Copy editing – improves readability and clarity, fixes errors and issues with accuracy in the essay, including argumentative essays. Editors try to keep the author’s original message and voice, avoiding overly long or awkward phrasing, and check whether the tone and style of the essay are consistent and appropriate for the target audience.
  4. Line editing or proofreading – going through the essay “line by line” the editor closely examines phrasing that sounds clichéd and corrects errors that have been missed during the previous editing stages.

Pitfalls of Editing Your Own Essay

As you see, sometimes the process of editing and polishing text can take no less time than writing it. In addition, if you take on the editing of your own essay, you may encounter the following issues:

  • You no longer notice errors constantly having the same text in front of your eyes;
  • You risk losing the big picture, focusing more on the components of the essay, and not on its structure;
  • You have no experience in editing, so you literally don’t know what to look for.

Tips and Hacks for Self-Editing

To avoid the above mentioned risks we give you some tips for effective editing of your own essays:

  • Make visual changes (font size, style, or color) so you could switch attention to problematic parts.
  • Ask someone to read your work aloud to hear how it actually sounds and activate a critical mode.
  • Give yourself a 24-hour break to look at your essay in a different, clearer light.
  • Use a checklist to be sure you don’t miss any of the stages of editing.
  • Check your essay the bottom up so you could focus on different types of mistakes instead of paying attention to the paragraphs’ connection.

Essay editing may seem complicated, but be sure: it will pay off with sleek and polished text.

About the author


Kristina Rigina