Whether you’re proofreading something for a friend or it’s your job, you need to be detailed and precise. But without proper planning, editing content can take just as long as writing the document itself. After multiple revisions, you wouldn’t want to miss a recurring typo or make matters worse with your changes. It takes a keen eye and deep understanding of grammatical rules to be a successful copyeditor. However, with the following copy editing tips, you’ll be able to review and edit any content like a pro.
Before getting started, perform a quick read to establish the purpose of the content. What is the goal it’s trying to achieve and how does it help the reader in that regard. But be flexible and unbiased during this process because everyone makes mistakes. Then determine the stylistic rules the writer follows for punctuation, capitalization, and tone. By understanding how a piece of content was constructed, you’ll be able to suggest appropriate changes and make relevant corrections.
Look for Inconsistencies
To edit is more than just grammar quality control. As you perform a content review, make sure that spelling and punctuation use remain consistent. Also, ensure that the author sticks to the same first or second person perspective across the entire piece. Then identify any recurring repetitions and replace them appropriately. Dealing with these various content inconsistencies will produce an easier and more pleasant reading experience.
Maintain Narrative Structure
When making an edit, your job is to make every statement clear and easy to understand. Begin by reading the content out loud to determine if a sentence sounds natural to a reader. If a phrase spans multiple lines, cut it into two independent sentences. A shorter line will always read better and be more understandable. Prioritize brevity and active expressions to create a coherent narrative from line to line.
Find and Replace
Look for jargon and convoluted words and replace with simpler words. Avoid superlatives by replacing adverbs with more direct language. Remove redundant words like “very” or “really” that add no value to a sentence. Then reduce the use of prepositions when possible. While making these changes, fix any double spaces or other formatting issues.
Turn on a feature like Track Changes or use WriteWay’s Integrated Idea Board to document all content updates. Built-in spell check and programs like Grammarly can make the editing process a lot faster. But they are not perfect. As Captain America would say, “we may not be perfect, but the safest hands are still our own.” When in doubt, look it up or have someone else read a passage you’re having trouble with.
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