Examples of what an Editor will look out for ...

It is not advisable for a writer to edit or proofread his or her own work. Since the author is very familiar with the topic he or she may read what should be written instead of what has been written. It is therefore easy for a writer to overlook errors.

A professional editor has a trained eye to detect errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar and a lot more. To give an idea; the following are some examples of what an editor will pay attention to:
  • Ambiguous references
    i.e.  I saw a man on a hill with a telescope.
    Did the man have the telescope or were you looking through a telescope?
  • Dangling modifiers
    i.e.  She claimed yesterday she saw a UFO.
    Did she see the UFO yesterday or did she make the claim yesterday?
  • Agreement between subject and verb
    i.e.  - Neither the teacher nor the students understand.
           - Neither the students nor the teacher understands.
  • Homophones Is the correct word being used?
    i.e.  - horde vs. hoard,
           - loath
    vs. loathe
           - complement
    vs. compliment

    principal vs. principle
  • Passive voice vs. active Is the voice consistent and appropriate?
    i.e. - He was gratified by their praise.
          - Their praise gratified him.
  • Redundancy
    i.e.  - Ask a question:
             To ‘ask’ is to pose a question so question is redundant.
    Plan ahead:
    Plan’ is to prepare for the future so ahead is redundant

           - Postpone until later:

              To ‘postpone’ already means to reschedule it at a later time so
              later is redundant.

           - Unexpected surprise:
              By definition a ‘surprise’ is going to be unexpected so
              unexpected is redundant.

           - Still remains:
    remains’ means that something is still there so still is
  • Gaps
    Looking out for where the writer may have left an area open with the intention of later inserting text, a graph or image.

  • Spelling Is the correct spelling being use?. i.e. British vs. US
    i.e.  - color vs. colour
           - gray
    vs. grey,
           - skillful
    vs.  skilful
           -  learnt
    vs. learned
           - organise
    vs. organize
           - civilisation
    vs. civilization
  • Quotations
    i.e.  The convention for treating quotes, Bock quotes, quotes within quotes, double vs. single quotation marks, etc.
  • Hyphenated words
    Are you unsure whether a word should be hyphenated or not?
    i.e.  - coordinate vs. co-ordinate
           - cooperate
    vs. co-operate
           - break up
    vs. break-up
  • Names Is the correct format being used?
    i.e.  F.W. de Klerk vs. FW de Klerk  
  • Personal pronouns
    i.e.  - Me and my brother vs. my brother and I
     - She and him came to visit vs. She and he came to visit
  • Relative pronouns
    i.e.  - Which
    vs. that
           - Who
    vs. whom
  • Date and time format Are you using the correct format?
    i.e.  - 11th May 2015 vs. 11 May 2015
           - 1970’s vs. 1970s
           - 7.30 pm
    vs. 7.30 p.m.
  • Imbalanced sentences
    i.e.  - Leonard is not only a medical doctor, but he also has a PhD in
           - Not only is Leonard a medical doctor, but he also has a PhD in
  • Split infinitives
    i.e.  - Try to vs. try
           - Shall
    vs. will,
  • Hypen (-), En dash (–) and Em dash (—)
    Are you making use of the correct dash?
    i.e.  - twenty-one
           - 2014–2015
           - ‘Look, John, I only meant
  • Plagiarism/Copyright infringement
    Ensuring that there is no legal implication where the writer has quoted the words from another author.
  • Difficult propositions Is the correct sentence structure used?
    i.e.  - A book comprises many pages
    A book is comprised of many pages.

           - You centre on a topic
    vs. centre around it.
  • Wordiness
    Less is more. Sentences should be concise without unnecessary words.
    i.e   Many of those ideas Gretchen barely comprehended and they
          sounded ridiculous since it felt to her that no one in their right
          mind would ever have thought such a thing without being told
    [34 words]

           Suggested revision:

           Gretchen barely comprehended many of those ideas and felt no
           right-minded person would think such ridiculous t
    hings on their
    [20 words]


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