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Editing: An Essential Part of the Writing Process

Editing is the process of assessing the effectiveness of written communication.  It involves reviewing and analyzing text to identify and correct structural problems (i.e. issues with the substance of the text) and mechanical errors (i.e. spelling, punctuation, grammar, and word usage).

There are two levels of editing:

  1. Light editing, also known as copy editing, involves identifying and correcting misspelled words, inconsistencies with word usage, capitalization errors, and grammar and punctuation errors. This level of editing is useful for documents that are well-structured and solidly written but need a basic review to catch relatively minor mistakes.

  1. Substantive editing is more complex than copy editing.  It involves altering the content of a document to improve clarity, accuracy, readability, style, and organization.  This may include rewriting sentences, paragraphs, or sections of a document to ensure that it is cohesive, well-thought out, and delivers a message that resonates with the audience.  

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