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A Useful Editing Checklist for Academic Writing

Students should note that academic writing is not only creating a paper but also conducting the editing as well as the proofreading process. This means that the post-writing activities, such as revising, editing, etc. are an essential stage while preparing any paper. The process of proofreading and editing can significantly improve the results.

This stage allows checking the work in an integrated manner, holistically, and as a whole. When editing and proofreading a paper, the person can identify all the mistakes, controversial points, review the coherence of the thoughts and receive the overall notion of the ideas in the compiled text. To ensure the steps of checking, it is usually recommended to use an editing checklist that may considerably simplify this process.

So, the process of revision is mainly aimed at making improvements in terms of organization as well as clarity of the concepts and ideas. The editing process provides the proper mechanics. Accordingly, editing checklist is usually a set of questions or statements which propose students to review the papers with special attention to such particular aspects as grammar, punctuation, capitalization, spelling, format, etc.

Here below, you may find an approximate editing checklist that can be followed by middle school students for a peer as well as self-editing. Although the basic requirements for paper mechanics may generally be quite similar for various academic levels, whether a person is a high school student or a college freshman, nevertheless, all the specific requirements should be checked individually.

Peer and Self-Editing Checklist

The following editing checklist is divided into several sub-categories so that you can better concentrate on the specific aspects in detail. In this way, a student may carefully check the paper for one type of mistake at a time. This approach is usually supposed to be quite effective and easy-to-use.

Please, note that this list is not a full one, and it does not include all the specific requirements. So, it is only for a general overview, and the student should ask the professor about all the requirements in detail, as they can vary.

Grammar Aspects

Editing Checklist

Capitalization Aspects

  • Sentences should begin with a capital letter.
  • Proper nouns should begin with capital letters.
  • All the paper headings should have appropriate and correct capitalization according to particular formatting guidelines that are required.
  • The title of the essay should be capitalized following the required format.
  • Articles and coordinating conjunctions should usually start with lowercase letters (unless they are the first or the last words in the title of the paper).

Punctuation Aspects

  • Every sentence should be ended with the proper punctuation mark (questions- with question marks, declarative sentences- with full stops).
  • Commas should be correctly used to set off items listed in a series.
  • The Oxford comma (that is also known as the Harvard or serial comma) should be placed correctly, so carefully check its usage.
  • Colons and semicolons should be properly used in the text.
  • In compound sentences, commas should be used before conjunctions (e.g., and, or, but).

Spelling Aspects

  • All the words that are highlighted by the spell check should be reviewed and corrected.
  • Commonly mixed pairs of words (e.g., there-their-they`re, to-too-two, its-it`s, are-our, form-from, your-you`re, etc.) should be spelled and used correctly.

Formatting Aspects

  • The text should have a separate introduction, body paragraph(s), conclusion.
  • A new idea- a new paragraph, modification of time or location- a new paragraph.
  • All the paragraphs should be fully developed (topic sentences, evidence, explanation, concluding sentences in each body paragraph).
  • Every piece of evidence should be correctly cited.
  • Paraphrasings and quotes should be appropriately cited.
  • Direct quotes should be in quotation marks.
  • Long quotes should be placed according to specific format requirements.

Basic Formatting Requirements

Here below, there are possible formatting points. Please, keep in mind that the requirements can vary for different types of academic writing and various academic levels, so you should check all the requirements by asking your professor and strictly follow them.

  • Times New Roman, size 12 font.
  • A double-spaced text.
  • 1-inch margins on all sides.
  • The usage of the third-person perspective in the text
  • Avoiding of slang or non-standard English in academic writing. Word choice should comply with the task.

Note that this editing list is not a full one, and the requirements can vary, so check every single point in detail and adhere to your professor`s requirements.

Please, remember that the editing checklist can help the students improve their papers. So, thorough checking is an integral step in creating an academic paper. The essay should be polished accurately; the result is worth it. Good luck!

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