Tips for the revision process

When it comes to the writing process, there are many ways of ensuring your work is ready to be read by an audience.

After you’ve completed your draft, it’s time to edit and proofread your writing. Self-editing, or requesting another pair of eyes of your work, verifies your content’s overall readability and quality. Knowing the difference between the two stages are essential to ensuring your writing reaches its full potential, no matter the style or purpose of your content.


Editing vs. proofreading

Although often used interchangeably, editing and proofreading are different stages in the overall revision process. Below are the main differences between the two stages.



Corrects issues in wording, sentence structure, clarity, tone of text

Corrects issues in spelling, punctuation, grammar, inconsistent terminology

Focuses on core features, narrative and meaning

Focuses on surface-level errors

Conducted on the draft

Conducted on the final, edited document

What to ask yourself while editing

A few questions to consider

  • Is the main idea clearly stated within the first paragraph? 
  • Does each paragraph serve a clear purpose?
  • Is the wording precise and using the correct tone?
  • Are there any long sentences that can lose a reader?
  • Does the writing flow from one point to another?

To keep in mind

  • Replace negative writing with positive writing (ie. “Students cannot do this." should be changed to "Students should avoid.")
  • Keep your writing simple: Complicating sentences with complex words can make your content difficult for some readers, and could distract from your main idea.
  • Have someone else read your writing! Does it makes sense to them?

What to look for when proofreading

Avoid common mistakes

  • Avoid spelling issues. Use a spell checker when possible. 
  • Avoid grammar issues (ie. Its vs. It's, You're vs. Your, There vs. They're vs. Their)
  • Avoid punctuation issues. Remove unnecessary punctuation, for example, using double exclamation marks. Your excitement is demonstrated equally with one! Or, using ellipses, which should only be used for informal writing. Unnecessary punctuation can derail the flow of your content.
  • Avoid using “thing” as a way to identify a topic.

Consistency is key

  • Be consistent with spelling choices, for example,“favourite” (UK spelling) and “favorite” (US spelling) are both correct, however will be incorrect if used interchangeably. 
  • For contractions, formal writing often calls for terms to be spelled out (ie. Change “isn’t” for “is not”). In informal writing situations, contractions are acceptable; however, ensure you are not using the terms interchangeably.
  • Make sure acronyms are spelled out on first use, and remain abbreviated the rest of the content.
  • Expressing numbers: In general, write out numbers under ten (one, two, three…) and use numbers over ten (11, 12, 13…) There are exceptions to the rules, but your concern should be the consistency.

Avoid repetition

  • Transition words, such "however" or "therefore" are often overused. Here are a few other good options:
    • Adding an idea: And, furthermore, besides, finally, in addition.
    • Comparing points: In contrast, nevertheless, on the contrary, although.
    • Proving a point: Evidently, obviously, indeed, since, in any case.
    • Showing exception: Despite this, yet.
    • Instead of "For example": To demonstrate, for instance, for illustration, for example, the case of.

Bonus tip for the revision process

Read your writing out loud! Revising your work audibly throughout the entire process is an efficient way of identifying errors in editing and proofreading.


The beauty of writing is being able to convey your thoughts in such a way that makes an impact on those around you. Putting time and effort into your revision process ensures that your voice matches with your vision. Keep practicing! 

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