Knowing how to edit quickly and efficiently can save you from any wordy disaster. Dealing with everything from spelling, capitals and punctuation to grammar and sentence structure, editing covers everything in writing.
Here are a few handy tips to think about when editing your own work.
Checking over your spelling may sound obvious, but so many of us don’t check properly. Spellcheckers are great, but they won’t pick up on things like regional variations and world which are spelt correctly but are contextually wrong. Double check all spelling to avoid mistakes.
Don’t wax lyrical about what it is you’re trying to explain to describe. Get rid of any unnecessary words of phrases which leaves your writing looking cluttered. Readers loose interest very easily. Keep them hooked with simple sentences which make their point.
- Sentence Structure Does Matter
A subordinate clause
is not an editor’s friend. Left out in the cold without any friends, they can cause all sorts of problems. Below is an example from the lovely Groucho Marx.
“If you can’t leave in a taxi you can leave in a huff. If that’s too soon, you can leave in a minute and a huff.”
Subordinate clauses can’t stand alone as a complete sentence. They always modify the independent clause of a sentence.
Buzzwords can do two things – show off your knowledge and segregate your readership. Everyone in your office might know exactly what you’re on about but outside those four walls its a different story. Will your audience know what you mean? Use plain English where possible to make sure everyone understands.
- But Don’t Cut Out The Meaning
When in full editing mode, it can be tempting to start cutting out words which are actually pretty handy to have around. Don’t change the meaning of the sentence by cutting out key words. If need be, add a few to make sure you’re coming across loud and clear.
‘With sales and going down, there is a need for change.’
‘Newspaper sales are going down and companies need to adapt to survive.”
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