Difference Between Revising and Editing

Revising and Editing Video

From Harry Potter, to Native Son, all of the most notable texts ever written have had to undergo a phase of edits and revisions. Many use these terms interchangeably, but the two words actually refer to two different processes. Today, we will go over what is involved in the editing and revising process and look at some helpful tips. Let’s get started.

When writing, it’s a good idea to occasionally take a step away from your work, be it for a few hours or even a few days. This is because when you are in the middle of writing, you tend to get accustomed to reading and re-reading the same writing over and over again, which can result in simple mistakes being made and/or writer’s block. Times like these are when the editing and revision phase comes into play. Editing and revising your text not only allows you to scour your essay for writing errors, but also allows you opportunities to restructure your text completely. Doing so means producing a text that is void of grammatical or spelling errors and has a clear and seamless telling of ideas from beginning to end. No writing comes out perfect in the first write-up. That is why the editing and revision process is important for writers to take advantage of to produce the best final product possible.

Editing a text differs from revising a text in that it refers to a more surface level comb-through of the text. Editing, often coupled with proofreading, means rereading the text and looking for errors that stand out and decrease the quality of the article. These errors include spelling, grammar, syntax, word choice, and punctuation.

Overall, editing focuses on the readability of the text – no one wants to read an article or book riddled with misspelled words or sentences that are awkwardly worded.

Revising a text is more in-depth. When you revise your writing, you are revisiting your initial outline for your piece and reconstructing some parts of your manuscript or even the entire manuscript as a whole. Revising involves not just rewording some points, but adding, taking out, or replacing ideas, sections, or chapters of the book. It can also include clarifying existing ideas, rephrasing your thoughts with more descriptive language, deleting unnecessary points, and restructuring the sequence of your ideas.

The overall benefits of revising your texts result in a final product that has a clear plot or theme and an easy-to-follow flow of ideas.

Other Tips

It’s important to keep in mind that the editing and revising process often takes multiple rounds of edits and revisions until a suitable final draft is completed. Here are a few more tips to help you while you edit and revise your work:

Put the Project Away for a Few Hours (or Days if Possible) – Resting your eyes from your writing is not only good for your sight but also a great way to refresh your mind to come up with new ideas. Some great ideas can only come with time; taking time away from your project allows you to get inspired and come up with new ideas that can later improve your essay.

Get a Fresh Pair of Eyes to Proofread your Work– Peer reviews are a great help during the editing and revising process. After a few hours or days, our eyes tend to get tired and lax when rereading our work – this makes catching errors more difficult. Asking someone to read over your work before you submit your final draft will give you an idea of what to focus on when it is time to make changes.

Read Out Loud – Again, when staring at the same manuscript for hours, our brains can easily trick ourselves into glossing over errors that others unfamiliar with the paper would catch. Reading out loud forces us to hear how our sentences sound, which includes hearing our mistakes. This is also an effective way of catching grammatical errors.

Make an Outline – Many people like to free write, however, it never hurts to make an outline of main points to guide you through the writing process. This is especially helpful when you are revising your text and need to rearrange your ideas in a way that still makes your story flow naturally for the reader to follow. An outline is the best way to organize your points during revisions.

Lastly, expect multiple drafts – it can’t be stressed enough. As the old saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”- your manuscript will also have to take a few drafts until it is just right. Trust the process and you’re sure to end up with a great final piece.

Thanks for watching, and happy studying!


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by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: February 1, 2024