Why is it important to edit and proofread?

This is the first of four chapters about Editing and Proofreading. To complete this reader, read each chapter carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.   

– Briefly introduce the concepts of editing and proofreading

– Discuss the importance of editing and proofreading

– Provide seven reasons that academic students should improve their editing and proofreading skills

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Chapter 1

The writing skills of editing and proofreading are invaluable in many situations in life. Whether submitting an application for a volunteer programme, writing a personal email to a friend or completing a report for your latest job, it’s important that your thoughts and ideas are delivered as clearly and concisely as possible to avoid misunderstanding or the need for further clarification. To create such ease of communication, a writer should always check their work carefully through processes of editing and proofreading. Fixing spelling, grammar, punctuation and logic errors (among other aspects) will help to guarantee that the text you’ve produced is clear, accurate and engaging for the reader. 

While everyone may need to edit and proofread with some frequency, there are few situations in which editing and proofreading are more important than when completing a university degree – particularly for those studying in a foreign language. Chapters 1 and 2 of this four-chapter reader are therefore intended to explore the importance and concepts of these two writing skills for students and teachers of academic English, with Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 additionally offering a variety of tips to guide the learner towards academic competency and success.

To begin this short course, we’ve first outlined seven factors which explain the importance of editing and proofreading your academic assignments, whether it’s a written essay, a piece of continuous coursework or a performed presentation.


1. It’s very difficult to write perfectly:

An extremely small number of writers are able to write perfectly on their first draft. For 99% of students (and teachers), a thorough round of editing and proofreading will be necessary following the creative process to create a high-standard piece of work. Although it may take some time, multiple attempts at editing and proofreading may be required before that work is ready for presentation, publication or submission.


2. Editing and proofreading shows diligence:

An assignment that’s free of errors and inconsistencies is one that demonstrates passion and care, both of which are important qualities for successful employees and academics. It takes considerable work to write an extended essay that’s free of typos, grammar mistakes and formatting issues, and your tutor or assessor will know this (and be impressed) when reading your work. 


3. Your writing will be clearer to read:

Many new university students carry the false belief that complicated sentences and words and passionate writing are the hallmarks of writing success, but in truth the single most important factor is that a student is able to deliver their ideas clearly, logically and with cohesion. The easier your writing is to read and understand first time, and the better connected it is, the more clarified and convincing your ideas, arguments and evidence will be.


4. Your writing will be quicker to mark:

Academic tutors often have piles of marking in the tens- to hundreds-of-thousands of words, so don’t forget to help speed up the grading process for your teachers by carefully checking your document for errors and inconsistencies. The more quickly and easily your tutor is able to read your document, the more fluid and fluent your writing will be (and the more positive your tutor will feel about it).


5. Your grades will be increased:

With the previous point in mind, if your writing is fluid, fluent, free from errors, mistakes and inconsistencies, then your tutor will be more confident in awarding you with the highest grades possible – as all tutors wish to do. It’s quite possible that when the assessor of your work encounters sloppy layout, typos, spelling errors, confusing arguments or incorrect sentence structures, that marker will seriously consider further lowering your grade.


6. You will better avoid plagiarism:

Another very important reason to edit and proofread your work carefully is to avoid accidentally copying another author’s work, which is a form of serious academic misconduct. Such copying, otherwise known as plagiarism, can for the most part be avoided by triple checking your work for accurate quotation marks, citations and references, and by sufficiently paraphrasing the ideas of other sources.


7. Your work may be publishable:

Finally, should you be studying at the master’s or PhD level, you may be considering submitting your work for publication, whether as a book, a journal article or journalistic newspaper tabloid. Whatever the purpose, a publisher will not think twice about accepting your writing if it has obvious errors. If you’re thinking of publishing, always edit and proofread your work to the best of your ability.

Now that we’ve discussed the importance of these two writing skills, Chapter 2 will introduce the core differences between editing and proofreading.

1 of 4 Chapters Completed


Once you’ve completed all four chapters about editing and proofreading, you might also wish to download our beginner, intermediate and advanced worksheets to test your progress or print for your students. These professional PDF worksheets can be easily accessed for only a few Academic Marks.

Our editing and proofreading academic reader (including all four chapters about this topic) can be accessed here at the click of a button.

Gain unlimited access to our editing and proofreading beginner worksheet, with activities and answer keys designed to check a basic understanding of this reader’s chapters.

To check a confident understanding of this reader’s chapters, click on the button below to download our editing and proofreading intermediate worksheet with activities and answer keys.

Our editing and proofreading advanced worksheet with activities and answer keys has been created to check a sophisticated understanding of this reader’s chapters. 

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Spring 2022