Step 5: Edit


"There are two typos of people in this world: those who can edit and those who can't."  —Jarod Kintz


Again, editing should be the last step of your process because during revision you will often have to add or delete sentences or entire paragraphs, and it doesn't make sense to edit things you're going to cut nor to have to edit twice.

To edit your paper,

  1. After you have finished inputting your revisions, print out a clean copy of your paper. (Most people can catch errors better on paper than on a screen.)
  2. Print out the Personalized Editing Checklist, and in addition to the common errors listed there to check, keep a running list of errors that you are prone to, such as incorrect article usage, word order, or plural/singular nouns.
  3. Read through your paper once for each of those error types—i.e., one at a time, checking only for that problem. This process will be time-consuming at first, but the more you concentrate on and fix individual types of errors, the more the correct grammar will be reinforced in your brain and the quicker those errors will disappear from your drafts.
  4. If you are unsure about something, consult your course reader or grammar handbook. (The Bedford Handbook and Rules for Writers, both by Diana Hacker, are excellent choices.)
  5. Input the edits into your computer (saving the paper as a new version) and print out a clean copy.
  6. Read through the paper one last time and fix any other errors you spot.
  7. Print out and turn in a final draft that you can be proud of!

Final thoughts...

  • "Macro Pencil Pink Eraser Symbols and Signs" by Pink Sherbet Photography from USA [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
  • "Final Draft Keys Displays Editing And Rewriting Document" by Stuart Miles