Tag Archive | "editing an article"

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Sixteen Rules Of Editing

Posted on 02 August 2012 by Garima Chak

Knowing how to edit an article is almost as important as knowing how to write well. A well written piece, loses its sheen if it isn’t edited properly. Therefore we need to talk about a few sacred rules of editing, which can make a piece of good writing great.

1. I am pretty sure that most of us think that the first and foremost part of editing is to spell-check. But I would beg to differ. For although it is extremely important, it often happens that once we are done with it we think that that is all the editing we need to do. This is of course far from the truth. That is why I suggest that even before you spell check your article, you read it thoroughly to make sure that the sentences and paragraphs are in place, and that everything makes sense when put together.

2. Next comes the checking of spellings. The word processing spellchecker is not foolproof. So beware! Whenever in doubt, use a dictionary to check your spellings.

3. What follows next are grammar, capitalization, subject/verb agreement, tenses and word usage. Tips: verbs have to agree with their subjects, a sentence cannot end with a preposition and cannot start with a conjunction and infinitive words are not meant to be split.

4. Make sure that the sentence construction is up to the mark. Each sentence should have two parts: the subject and the predicate. Use sentence combining words wherever possible. And no sentence fragments please.

5. Avoid very long sentences as there are more chances of you making mistakes there.

6. Please do not use repetitive redundancies. They can put off a reader no matter how interesting the theme of your piece of writing might be. Avoid clichés as much as possible. Better still, avoid them completely. And while you are at it try doing away with comparisons as well- they are almost as bad as clichés. Try and be as specific as possible, using and choosing your words economically.

7. If you want your readers’ attention, talk to him. For this you need to do away with the use of passive voice altogether. Remember, you are not writing a novel.

8. The three things you must not do:
§ Do not repeat a point you want to stress on. Remember, understatement is the best as well as the surest way of putting forward an earth shaking idea.
§ Do not exaggerate.
§ Do not go overboard with your use of punctuation marks. They can kill an article when in excess. But do not forget to use them where necessary.

9. Avoid using quotations, similes, metaphors and rhetorical questions unless the point you are trying to make cannot be made without them. Avoid generalisations as well as one word sentences.

10. Keep the use of foreign words and phrases at bay.

11. We are not living in the Shakespearean era, so avoid old English. Use British English or American English, according to the demands of the article. In either case make sure your English usage is in the correct form. Avoid the use of funny English, unless you are writing a funny article of course.

12. Alliterations should be avoided. They sound good when used judiciously in poetry and prose, but will probably not have the same effect when used in an official or a formal document.

13. Always finish with sentence with a full stop. This is a very common oversight, but one that can easily be avoided.

14. Please place your footnotes at the bottom of each page and not at the end of the chapter. Make sure you number your notes and references correctly.

15. Bibliographical references should be in alphabetical order and in the proper format, for example, use the full name of the author and the book when referring to a book, the complete email address when referring to an email etc.

16. And last but not the least, proof read religiously to see if anything is amiss. Read forwards and backwards, read each sentence separately, making sure that each makes sense even when read alone. Double check if you feel unsure. But don’t overdo it. Learn to trust yourself.

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Tips on Editing An Article

Posted on 28 June 2012 by Karima Khan

This article is for all those who want to be writers as it aims to help you understand how you can edit an article and make it crisp and worth reading.
Here are some editing rules that you need to keep in mind:
Rule #1:
Collect all the information you need to write about the topic and jot it all down on paper.
Also, make sure you are in a silent environment. Ideally, it should be you, your paper, your pen and your head bursting with ideas.

Rule #2:

After you’re done brainstorming and writing down your initial ideas, align them in a particular order; the order being: Head, Body and Conclusion.
Every great article has a catchy beginning, a comprehensive middle and a satisfying conclusion. Your reader mustn’t feel that there was ‘something missing’ in the article.

Rule #3:
Now you must edit your article. Cut out all that you think is unimportant. Stay within the prescribed word limit. Make sure the content is crisp, to the point and relevant. Do not stray from the topic.

Rule #4:
Do not use short forms unless necessary. If you do use them, make sure you specify what the abbreviation stands for.
Example, IPL (Indian Premier League), APMC Market, Vashi (Agricultural Produce Market Committee)

Rule #5:
Don’t use short messaging service (SMS) language. Writing stuff like ‘Lyk, IDK!, LOL, FYI, DYN’ is unacceptable. Use of the words ‘like’, ‘I mean’, ‘etc’, ‘whatever’, ‘as if’ should be kept to a minimum.

Rule #6:
Learn the usage of Terminal Marks [ ! ? . ] and Secondary Bound Marks [ : ; , – ]

  1. An exclamation question like, ‘Harry! Are you alright?!’ will always have the use of ‘?’ followed by ‘!’ and not vice-versa. However, such usage is considered informal.
  2. ‘:’ is used to introduce a list of extract or quotation that follows an introductory sentence, or to denote hours and minutes, etc.
  3. ‘;’ is used to separate two independent thoughts in a sentence lessening the use of conjunctions.

Rule #7:
You can always fill make use of quotes and examples that will make your article interesting and keep your reader hooked.

Rule #8:
Re-read your article multiple times to ensure that you haven’t made any mistakes.

Rule #9:
For honing your writing skills, read newspapers, magazines and internet articles.
In fact, don’t just read but learn from them – the words they use, the flow of the story, the separation between paragraphs etc.

Rule #10:
Enjoy the process!

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