The Writing Process

5 Revise and Edit

Revise Your Work

Revision is an essential component of the writing process. It is distinct from editing (discussed next), which involves a reassessment of your work at the sentence level to correct any errors in sentence grammar, sentence structure, spelling, and punctuation. Revision is a second (or third or fourth) look at your assignment’s “big picture,” the time when you re-read your drafts to make certain your organizational structure is sound, your content is robust, and your transitions from one paragraph to the next bind the essay together and establish its sense of coherence.

Revise your work, keeping in mind these guidelines for revision. A well-written essay needs:

  • a sound organizational structure; a beginning, a middle, and an end; an introduction, a body, and a conclusion
  • sufficient content so readers feel the writer has delivered on the promise implicit in the thesis statement and the paragraph topic sentences
  • ; a repetition of keywords and use of transitional words and phrases which link paragraphs together

Edit Your Work

Editing is the process of reviewing each sentence in your writing assignment, identifying and correcting errors in sentence grammar, sentence structure, spelling, and punctuation. If you turn in a draft of your assignment, your teacher might flag and identify editing errors, but leave it to you to make the corrections. Certainly, editing errors will be identified when your teacher returns a graded assignment to you. You want to review those errors to make you avoid them in your next assignment.

Common Editing Errors

Here is a list of common editing errors, preceded by the abbreviation your teacher might use to identify them in the margins of your writing assignment. Please note that you will find instruction on identifying, avoiding, and correcting these errors in Appendix A: Glossary of English Rhetoric, Grammar, and Usage.

ad: adjective used incorrectly.

agr: usually refers to an error in pronoun agreement; could refer to an error in subject-verb agreement, though that may be abbreviated as sv. agr.

awk: awkward sentence structure.

cap: error in use of capitalization.

case: error in pronoun case.

co: error in use of coordinate conjunction.

coh: coherence weak.

com: faulty comparison.

concl: weak concluding paragraph.

cs: comma splice.

d: diction; poor word choice.

def: term used should be defined.

dm: dangling modifier.

doc: documentation; source needs to be cited or error in citation.

ex: example needed or would be useful.

for: formatting error.

frag: sentence fragment.

fs: fused sentence.

hyph: hyphen needed or not needed.

^: insert.

intro: first paragraph weak; should be revised.

it: italics needed or used incorrectly.

jarg: jargon.

lc: lowercase needed; usually indicates a capital letter (uppercase) used incorrectly.

mix: mixed construction; similar to awk (awkward).

mm: misplaced modifier.

no ,: comma not needed.

np: begin new paragraph.

//: parallelism needs improving.

pass: switch from passive voice to active voice.

ref: pronoun reference (not to be confused with pronoun case) not clear.

run-on: run-on sentence.

shift: an abrupt change (often in tone) within a sentence.

sp: spelling.

sub: subordination; usually means that sentence structure and variety would be improved with subordination.

sum: better to summarize this; usually in reference to a quote from a secondary source.

trans: transition; need to connect this sentence with previous one or this paragraph withthe next.

vague: sentence or passage needs to be revised in the interest of clarity.

vt: verb tense.

wrdy: wordy; revise for concision.

ww: wrong word.

## [Provide link to editing exercises with answers]

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Composition and Literature by James Sexton and Derek Soles is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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