Tips on Effectively Editing Sentences
Many times, a writer’s first drafts are not always his or her best work. In order to achieve maximum efficacy, he or she must first edit their work. If a reader notices mistakes in a text, they will often focus more on the errors, rather than the content. One easy way to help alleviate this problem is to simply read what you have written. Reading your own work helps you notice the mistakes you might not notice as you are writing.
Whenever you write anything, whether that’s just a sentence, a paragraph, or a whole story, you always want to go back and edit what you have read. The process of editing is where you read everything that you’ve written down and you make sure that it’s correct. When there are mistakes in your writing, oftentimes the audience will pay more attention to your mistakes than the information you’re trying to convey to them.
In addition, if your mistakes are too bad, they will make it where the reader cannot understand what you are trying to say. Let’s take a look at this example paragraph and see what needs editing. The first thing it says is, “Andrew planted a tree it was a sunny day.” What we have here is a run-on sentence. That’s two sentences that are connected together in an incorrect way. This first phrase (Andrew planted a tree) has a subject and a verb. It’s a whole sentence.
The second phrase says “It was a sunny day.” We have the subject “it” and the verb “was”. These are two sentences that are joined together incorrectly. A run-on sentence is a sentence that just goes on too long. There are a number of ways that we can correct this. We could put a comma and “and”. The sentence would read, “Andrew planted a tree and it was a sunny day.” Or, we could put a period here and make it capitalized.
It would say, “Andrew planted a tree. It was a sunny day.” Those are correct. I think the best way to do this is to get rid of the period. Get rid of “it” and “was” and put the word “on”. Now, it reads, “Andrew planted a tree on a sunny day.” That’s just one sentence and that’s correct. The next sentence says, “First he got a shovel and the tree.” Whenever you read a phrase at the beginning of a sentence, like “First”, it needs a comma after it. A comma tells the reader to pause.
Now the reader will read this sentence like, “First *pause* he got a shovel and a tree.” The next sentence says, “He dug a hole, will plant the tree, and watered it.” The problem with this sentence has to do with verb tenses. We see the verb “dug” right here. This is what we call “past tense”, because it happened in the past. “He dug a hole.” That indicates that he dug a hole yesterday, or maybe a week ago.
Then, in this last phrase, it says, “He watered it.” That’s also in the past tense. It’s indicating that he watered the tree maybe yesterday or the week before. Then we get to this phrase, which says, “He will plant the tree.” “Will plant” is future tense. This sounds like he’s going to plant the tree in the future, but we know that he already has planted the tree. We need to change the words “will” and “plant” to the verb “planted”.
Now, all the verbs are in the past tense. The sentence has what we would call “consistency”. He dug a hole, planted the tree, and watered it. Now, the last sentence says, “A pine tree is what he planted.” This sentence is clear, you can understand what the author is trying to convey to you. However, it could be worded in a better way. We could say, “He planted a pine tree.” These two sentences are saying basically the same thing, but this new sentence sounds better than this first sentence.
Again, the process of editing is reading everything that you’ve written. A lot of times, it helps if you read everything out loud, and you find any mistakes that you’ve made, and then you correct those mistakes.