As student authors, we are typically asked to revise, edit, and proofread our writing assignments. Although these terms are sometimes used inter-changeably, there are some subtle differences.
The resources on this page will help you understand the differences between these important stages in writing.
1. Revising: In a sense, every time you open a document and continue working on it, you are in the process of revising it. Thus, there a number of revisions made during every writing project (or at least there should be). We always want to leave ample time to make numerous revisions to our work. Revisions should occur after you submit a project to a professor and/or peer advisor for review and receive feedback. Revising includes changing the structure of an essay, adding more research when necessary, and even making cuts to a project when sections are off-topic. Revising includes large-scale changes to a project.
2. Editing: An editor--whether a peer or someone working at a publication--typically suggests changes that an author should make. This stage is quite similar to revision, but whereas revision can occur during multiple stages of writing, you don't typically edit something until you have a full draft complete. Again, editing may include substantial changes to a project (not small typos, but large structural changes).
3. Proofreading: The term proofreading suggests that a writer has fine-tuned the organization, structure, and major discussion present in the writing project and is now reviewing the essay for very small errors such as missing punctuation, incorrect spelling or poor choices in punctuation. Proofreading is typically the final stage of the writing process and occurs before a project is submitted. This means the essay is essentially complete with the exception of needing a few small changes.
PRO-TIP: Always allow ample time for proofreading. It is very helpful to finish a writing project, step away from it, and come back to review it the next day. Editors call this putting a fresh set of eyes on the project, and it helps. Beginning the proofreading process too close to when the project is submitted is never a good idea.
In life, there are times when you wish you could have "do-overs." Writing provides that opportunity. Please keep the following ideas in mind:
Many will associate outlining with the planning/invention phase of writing, however, outlining also can prove to be an effective tool when revising your writing. You may consider preparing an outline of your draft by following these directions:
Many students ask if it is acceptable to use first-person phrases in their scholarly writing projects. This includes using phrases such as "I think," "I believe," or "I found an article that says..." and so on.
1. I find that time management is an issue many students struggle with.
2. Time management is an issue that many students struggle with.
Many times during conversations, speakers will use the word "you" as a subject, when in fact, they are referring to large group of people, or perhaps, herself or himself. Though the use of the word you in scholarly writing is not grammatically incorrect, it is also not an acceptable to use "you" as a subject when writing an essay or other formal writing project.
1. When you skip classes in high school you can really damage your grade.
2. When students skip classes in high school it can damage their grade.