HOW TO EDIT YOUR OWN WRITING

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How to correct your writing for the STANAG 6001 exam in English? How to avoid mistakes? There are a few things you can do. Today I would like to focus on editing your own writing.

PURPOSE

Let's start with explaining what editing is. It's basically a process which involves correcting mistakes and making other improvements in the organisation and logic of a text. The aim of this procedure is to come up with a piece of writing which is complete, accurate and consistent.
The common belief is that editing is actually correcting mistakes, but it's only one of the elements of good editing.

WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?

Editing is crucial for the final shape of your text. It's the point when you make sure that all your work has not been for nothing. However, many people decide to omit this crucial stage of writing due to various reasons, which include:
  • lack of time (especially during an exam);
  • lack of knowledge how to do it;
  • the belief that it's impossible to correct your own work.

 

HOW TO EDIT YOUR OWN WORK?

  1. Start by PLANNING your writing. It will allow you to avoid some mistakes from the start. You can read about planning here: HOW TO PLAN YOUR WRITING
  2. Remember to reserve some time for corrections, especially during an exam.
  3. Do one thing at a time. Don't correct everything in one go. Focus on a different element each time you read the text.
  4. Know yourself. Make sure you know what kind of mistakes you usually make. It will allow you to focus on the right things.

 

 

WHAT ELEMENTS SHOULD YOU FOCUS ON?

Try asking yourself these questions while you are reading your text. Remember to focus on one of these areas at a time.

 

STRUCTURE AND CONTENT

Have you covered all the points from your task instruction?
Have you divided your text into paragraphs?
Have you started each paragraph with a topic sentence?

 

LOGIC

Are all the ideas within paragraphs and paragraphs logically connected?
Have you used appropriate linking (however, in addition, consequently) and sequencing (first of all, finally, to sum up) words and expressions?
You can read more about paragraph development here: HOW TO WRITE A GOOD PARAGRAPH

 

CORRECTNESS

Are all the sentences complete and finished?
Do all the sentences have a subject and a verb?
Do subjects and verbs agree?
Do you use appropriate tenses? Do you avoid unnecessary shifting from one tense to another?
Do pronouns (it, they) have a clear reference?
Are your spelling and capitalisation correct?

 

STYLE

Is the language formal? You can read about formal style here: FORMAL STYLE
Have you avoided repetition?
Haven't you overused passive voice?

 

THE BIGGEST MISTAKE

The biggest mistake you can make is to resign from editing altogether. So, make sure you have time to read your text after you have finished writing it. You should read it a few times, each time focusing on one of different aspects mentioned above.
Let me know if this makes editing easier.
Do you find these tips useful?