Exercises to Improve Your Editing
Editing may seem like a skill and a task that you get used to over time. However, with English being a very dynamic language, it constantly updates, changes, adds, and even removes elements. Editors have to be careful to not be left behind. Here are some simple exercises to help you improve your editing skills:
- Practice and improve skimming
Skimming saves time. Train your eyes to go over a piece of work while picking out the spelling, grammar, and typographical errors. Once you’ve got the obvious out of the way, this gives you more time to digest and improve inconsistencies, structure, style, and the like.
- Familiarize yourself with style books
Style can be very strict, especially in terms of academic writing. Often, styles alternate between APA (American Psychological Association) and MLA (Modern Language Association) depending on the discipline of the paper. However, there are also styles for journalism, legal documents, electronic publishing, and more. The purpose of style manuals is to ensure consistency and readability. Knowing multiple styles allows you to be more flexible as an editor.
- Lurk around the web for updates
As mentioned above, English is a very dynamic language. Just this year, singular “they” was proclaimed to be grammatically correct. Moreover, the Oxford dictionary adds new words at least twice a year.
- Swap work
A good way to learn is through others. Often, an editor depends on his/her personal style of writing. When editing your own work, it might be hard to spot inconsistencies on your own since you know it so well. It might help to get insight from a fellow editor who has a style different from your own.
- Study copyreading symbols
As with writing, nothing beats old-fashioned pen and paper. Copyreaders, editors in the field of journalism, memorize and use a set of symbols when editing drafts of articles and even newspapers. Using these symbols when editing helps identify the errors visually, making it easier when encoding.
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