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Writing Center

Revising, Editing, & Proofreading

So What?

Often people will write one draft of a text and believe that it is finished. However, there is a reason that the first draft of a text is called the rough draft. The first draft of any text can almost always be improved. Thus, the process of revising, editing, and proofreading one’s work should not be underestimated or skipped. When a text is thoughtfully revised, edited, and proofread, a writer will likely see a significant transformation between the rough draft and final draft, which will mean a better presentation for readers and, subsequently, a better reception. After being revised, edited, and proofread, the final text will be more coherent, cohesive, professional, and, effective. Note that a text may need to be revised, edited, and proofread multiple times. 

Summarized Explanation

  • Revising looks at the “big picture” ideas of a text.
  • Editing focuses on sentence-level issues in a text.
  • Proofreading allows one last chance for a writer to polish his/her work.

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Detailed Explanation

Revising, editing, and proofreading should not be lumped together. Each has a specific role, and when used together, they increase the probability of producing an effective final text. Completing the three stages may involve several read-throughs, and ample time will be needed to complete each stage successfully. There are many different strategies that can be used to revise, edit, and proofread. Two common and highly effective strategies involve reading a text out loud and getting feedback from someone else. Furthermore, it is important to avoid trying to revise, edit, and proofread all in one sitting; allow breaks in between (even a day or two) in order to refresh the mind. Also, it is a great idea to submit written work to Grammarly, which is a free writing app that offers basic editing and proofreading services. However, editing apps should never replace manual revision, editing, and proofreading. The following is a checklist that should be used by writers when revising, editing, and proofreading a text.

Revising, Editing, & Proofreading Checklist

Revising

  • Does the text effectively meet all expectations described in the original writing prompt?
  • Does the introduction include three main parts: a hook, enough background information, and a thesis statement?
  • Does the thesis statement concisely present a main statement and at least three key ideas?
  • Do the body paragraphs each follow the sandwich template: a topic sentence, supporting sentences, and a concluding sentence?
  • Does the support used in the body paragraphs seem strong enough based on the CRAAB test?
  • Does the support used in the body paragraphs seem fully integrated based on the IICE template?
  • Do transitions appear in the beginning, middle, and end of each paragraph and throughout the multi-paragraph text?
  • Does the body section include counterarguments corresponding to each key idea?
  • Does the conclusion include three main parts: a restated thesis, summarized key ideas, and a clincher?
  • Do all ideas in the text cohesively support the thesis statement? Compare the final text with your original outline.

Editing

  • Does the text include wise word choice by avoiding commonly confused words, absolute statements, first- and second-person perspective, and wordy sentences?
  • Does the text use punctuation correctly by avoiding comma splices, run-on sentences, missing commas after introductory information, and missing commas before connecting words?
  • Does the text follow accurate formatting based on the reader's expectations? See below for helpful formatting resources.

Proofreading

  • Does the text include any final changes that need to be made (either revision or editing elements)? Perform a final review.