Essay Editing Advice

Essay Editing Advice

So let’s talk about editing. I recommend editing your essay in two separate stages.

Stage one is the content edit.

Here, you’re looking at your essay as a whole and asking yourself the most important questions:

Does each argument support the thesis?

Does the essay have a good narrative flow?

Is each argument properly fleshed out and backed up with research or external sources?

What can be removed or written in a clearer, simpler way?

Essentially, this stage is all about making sure the essay communicates your message to the reader as effectively as possible. It’s not about spelling errors.

Those you should save for stage two – the technical edit.

At this point, you’re ready to go over your essay with a fine-toothed comb to identify any problems with the structure or syntax.

Things like:

– Spelling and grammar mistakes

– Poorly structured sentences

– Formatting errors

– Sentences that just don’t sound right

I find that the most effective way to do a technical edit is to print out the essay and go over it by hand.

It’s just easier to catch mistakes when you’re editing the essay in its final intended medium. Plus, by using pen and paper, you’re prevented from making corrections on the fly. Doing so would require switching contexts from editing to writing, which can be fatiguing and makes it easier to get sloppy near the end of the essay. In addition to printing out your essay, you should also take the time to read it out loud. This forces you to slow down and prevents you from unconsciously skipping over any words, and it also helps you identify any sentences that don’t sound good.

Finally, remember that one set of eyes isn’t good enough – especially when they’re your own.

To make your essay truly great, you need to let other people look over it and get their feedback. It can be an Edusson essay writing service or your parents, friends etc.

Simon Peyton Jones has some more good advice here:

First, realize that each person can only read your paper for the first time exactly once. Just like I can never experience the magic of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the first time ever again (single tear), nobody can read your paper with fresh eyes twice.

So be strategic with your reviewers.

Let a couple people read the first draft, and keep other people on deck for the final one. Secondly, make sure to explicitly ask for the kind of feedback you actually want. When people aren’t given direction, they’ll naturally gravitate to looking for spelling and grammar errors – which aren’t nearly as important as the big elements, like whether your arguments even make sense.

Finally, after you’ve gotten your feedback and finished both stages of essay editing, print out your final draft and give it one final read-through from start to finish. If everything makes sense and nothing sticks out as glaringly wrong, give yourself permission to be done.

In all likelihood, you’ve just crafted an excellent essay. Congrats!