Got Fast Essay Editing on Your Mind?
Read This First…

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Fast essay editing still takes time. Congrats to you if you're editing a final draft. However, you don't want to blow it when you're this close to the finish line.  If you’ve written a great essay, you’ll want to master this next to the final stage.

Editing and proofreading go hand in hand. You will want to do both. Many people use the terms interchangeably, but they play different roles. 

When you do your fast essay editing, keep in mind that editing "involves looking at each sentence carefully, and making sure that it’s well designed and serves its purpose  . . . [while] proofreading involves checking for grammatical and punctuation errors, spelling mistakes, etc. Proofing is the final stage of the writing process (“Revising, Editing and Proofreading - Engineering Communication Program”).

Editing Involves Looking Deeply Into the Content of Your Work

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You want to make sure to double-check the points you make in the body of your essay. Is the meaning clear? Are the facts accurate? Have you acknowledged your source(s)? Make sure your essay doesn’t take flight, that is, that it doesn’t start addressing irrelevant topics.

Make sure your essay has a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction should let the reader know what is about to come. It states your thesis.

Your body paragraphs should have one main idea. Each paragraph should build your argument. 

Be careful to make sure the conclusion summarizes your main points and brings your argument to a logical conclusion. Your essay should leave a satisfying lasting impression on your reader.  

Fast essay editing must take into account the tone of the paper. Avoid slang. Your reader might be familiar with it. Avoid words and phrases that may be ambiguous. You may understand what you mean by a certain phrase, but its tone may confuse your reader. 

Strike out any word that doesn’t belong, any word that does not move your essay forward. Irrelevant and unusual words will stop your readers and have them wanting to reach for a dictionary. They may or may not look up the words, but either way, you have stopped them. The flow is now short-circuited, and your readers are lost and wandering, at least for a while. Maybe forever, and that’s not nice.

In fast essay editing, look at your word count. Is it in line with what it should be? If not, you’ll need to add some words or phrases or take some away. But don’t do this willy-nilly. Make sure what you cut isn’t integral to your work. Do adding words or phrases add meaning to your work? Be sure to read your work again if you’ve added or deleted words. Make sure the meaning of your words are clear and that the integrity of your writing is intact.

Proofreading is the Final Polish,
But Don't Rush it

Essay girl

Proofreading is your final opportunity to catch errors before turning in your paper. Your work should already be well organized, well written, and easy to understand. It should make sense. Keep an eye on your spellchecker. If it alerts on words or phrases, pay close attention. The spellchecker isn’t always right, but neither is it always wrong.

For instance, in proofreading, the hunt is on for:

  • Subject-verb agreements
  • Proper punctuation
  • Misspellings 
  • Wrong words
  • Redundancy

Incorrect subject-verb agreement example

There’s many things I should ask my teacher. 

The subject and verb do not agree. Rewrite the sentence to read:

There are many things I should ask my teacher.

Improper punctuation example:

I'll go on vacation next week I hope it will be terrific.

Two complete sentences need to be punctuated correctly.

Rewrite it either of these three ways:

  1. I'll go on vacation next week. I hope it will be terrific. 
  2. I'll go on vacation next week, and I hope it will be terrific.
  3. I'll go on vacation next week; I hope it will be terrific.

Misspellings example:

Her speach was the best one I ever herd.

Rewrite to read:

Her speech was the best one I ever heard.

Wrong word example:

I ordered two chocolate chip cookies, but I only received won.

Rewrite to read:

I ordered two chocolate chip cookies, but I only received one.

Redundancy example:

I love swimming in the Red Sea. I love it because the salt plays a big part in it. The Red Sea is my favorite swimming place

Rewrite it this way:

I love swimming in the Red Sea, in part because of the salt.

In proofreading, you may find that your essay needs many changes. In this case, you’ll need to do another edit. 

As a final step, it’s important to print out your essay. You may be able to see errors on paper that you were unable to see on a computer screen. With paper in hand, take yourself to a quiet place. 

Read your essay slowly. Read it aloud. Let someone else read it. Often they can point out areas of confusion. They may see a misspelled word that you were sure was correct. Let your essay rest a day or two or a week or longer before reading it again.

Fast Essay Editing May Need to Take a Backseat
to Being Thorough

Cartoon turtle

Although you may want to edit and proofread your essay as quickly as possible, realize that this is the time when you want to give your essay its best shot at success. Again, regarding fast essay editing, consider the old adage of "slow and steady wins the race."

“Revising, Editing and Proofreading - Engineering Communication Program.” Engineering Communication Program, 9 Feb. 2016,,stage%20of%20the%20writing%20process.

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