Essay Editing: The Most Important Instructions to be Observed

Writing an essay may be frustrating for many students. For this reason, it is imperative that an editor does proper editing in order to monitor and correct common mistakes in essay writing.


The very first thing an editor must look into is the format of the essay. Format includes checking for the layout, alignment, and other inconsistencies that may have been overlooked by the writer. Several guidelines for these elements include the following:

  • Layout. The layout includes aspects such as line spacing, page margins, header and footer styles, and others. Another important aspect to check is whether or not these aspects coincide with the specifications given by the instructor.
  • Font. An editor must make sure that the font used and its size is the same and consistent all throughout the essay. Furthermore, he or she must check if the font size and style of the different headings and subheadings are also constant. Look at special text formats such as bold, underline, italicized, and others to check whether or not they are applicable.

Grammar and Usage

One of the most important things an editor must check is grammar and usage. While most of these were already addressed by the writer, some may have been disregarded or missed. Some of the common errors noted include the following:

  • Grammatical errors. This include and most of the time involves (a.) Subject-Verb Agreement, and/or (b.) Pronoun-antecedent Agreement. Another thing an editor must look at is the use of personal pronouns. While there are essays that allow the use of these, most prefer to be in the third person’s perspective. Moreover, singular and plural forms of both nouns and verbs are also common mistakes in essays and they must also be looked at.
  • Sentences. An editor must check whether sentences are complete and not just merely fragments or clauses. Run-on sentences are also common in student essays. These can be corrected by splitting the sentence into several sentences. Furthermore, another thing that must be considered is the use of passive voice. A sentence, preferably must be written in an active voice.
  • Usage. An editor must also make sure that words are properly used. Some words might be used interchangeably because they have spellings that are almost the same, and some are even opposites. Some examples include: affect and effect, adduct and abduct, adopt and adapt, and many more.

Spelling and Content

An editor must first run a spelling checker to be followed by a spelling check done by hand. A spell-check done manually is important because not all spelling checkers are 100% reliable. On the other hand, the editor must also see to it that the content of the essay is consistent and matches with the title of the essay.


It is important for editors to look at the several mechanics in an essay. This includes checking for proper use of punctuations, abbreviations and acronyms, use of numbers, appropriate capitalization, and parenthesis and brackets. An editor must also look for repeated or omitted words in an essay.

When an editor is done with these matters to check, he or she must read the revised essay. This aims to check for consistency of content as well as check for missed errors. With this, an editor may help students improve their essays through time.

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