Checklist for editing


      You should check the use and usefulness of each work, phrase, sentence, paragraph, and section. 

      Check all spelling, hyphens, capitals, numbers, and important names and terms against your style sheet.

      Make a contents page to identify problems of organisation and to help your readers.

      Underline and try to rectify long sentences, awkward sentences, passive verbs, and constructions that should be parallel but are not.  (an example of parallism is as follows:   the mama bear, the papa bear, and their young cub.  Change to:  the mama bear, the papa bear and the baby bear. Words or groups of words that do the same work are easier to read if they are similar, that is, parallel.)

      Check that all who and which clauses are correctly punctuated.

      Check that all introductory clauses beginning with an -ing word relate to what immediately follows.

      Cut what is of little use.

      Proofread everything that you send out.

      Take out vague abstractions or woolly phrases (e.g. actually, factor, undoubtedly, at this point in time.)

      Take out cliches, vogue or fashionable words/phrases (e.g. ongoing, interface, scenario, meaningful, grass roots,

      Get rid of overstatement (e.g. terrific, fabulous, fantastic, massive, mighty, nice).

      Errors of meaning and form (e.g. A disinterested judge is impartial,  not uninterested.)

       Watch for tautology, (e.g. Quite obvious, completely empty, adequate enough, link together, follow after, descend downwards, wealthy millionaire, historical forebear).

       Read your writing out loud.  This will help to detect oddly placed commas, stylistic quirks, awkward sentences. 


From Bruce Ross-Larson. Edity Yourself:  A Manual for everyone who works with words, W. W. Norton & Company, New York - London, 1996, p.41.

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