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Aren't Proofreading and Editing the Same?



Although people often use the terms interchangeably, proofreading and editing represent different stages of the revision process.

After you have completed your first draft, you begin the editing process. You begin to add and delete content to ensure that your narrative or arguments are complete, your points are well supported, and any extraneous material has been removed. You move phrases, sentences, and paragraphs to improve the structure of your text and ensure clarity and continuity - a better flow. You reread your paper to be sure that it is well organized and that each paragraph leads into the next smoothly. You check to ensure that the words that you have chosen to express your ideas are appropriate and that the meaning of each sentence is clear. You satisfy yourself that the sentences vary in length and you have used the passive voice infrequently. You also verify that the paper contains no politically sensitive words.

You proofread your paper only in the final stage of the editing process. In this stage, you concentrate on errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation. You perform your proofreading after all other editing revisions have been completed.

Editing and proofreading affect how a paper looks and how the author will be perceived. As in the case of one's personal appearance, the details of a presentation help to form the overall impression. If you have invested a great deal of preparation in the writing, it makes sense to devote sufficient effort to the editing and proofreading process. You do not want readers to form negative perceptions of your writing because they were influenced by minor errors in presentation that you could have found and corrected.


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