It may sound silly or even a pointless exercise to some, but taking the time to sit down and re read your work is vital; especially when it comes to submitting coursework, as the smallest mistake could cost you your qualification!
To avoid any embarrassing mistakes or misinterpretations take a look at our top 6 tips below on how to effectively edit your own work.
No matter whom your target audience, it’s vital that you keep your work consistent throughout. A great way of doing this is by creating a style sheet. This will help you determine such elements as; spelling, abbreviations, terminology and capitalization.
For instance, will you hyphenate the word, Co-ordinate? or will you use the word ‘clients’ rather than ‘participants’?
Tip: Create your style sheet before you begin writing and add to it along the way!
Be wary of spellcheck!
We all get a bit complacent at times when it comes to spellcheck, but be warned, this wonderful little helper can let you down at times. For instance, it may not pick up on words which are missing or should not be there as they’re spelled correctly.
Therefore, you could have a sentence which reads ‘I will check this daily’ when in fact the word ‘not’ should be included. The sentence makes sense to the spellchecker which is why it does not pick up on your missing word. This is because it doesn’t look at the sentence as a whole.
It also struggles with scientific or academic words, so make sure you re read your work!
It’s important to outline which abbreviations you will use at the beginning of your document alongside the full word.
Example: Distance Learning College (DLC)
This allows the reader to recognise the abbreviation when it’s used later in the document and provides them with a point of reference.
The only exception to the rule is if you are using language which will need no explanation to the reader such as; DNA.
Be careful with numbers
Its’ a well-known rule, that when you include the numbers 1-10 in documents they should be displayed as words. Therefore, the figures after 10 can be written as numbers within the document.
However, there are some exceptions to the rule such as:
- Measurement should always be written as numbers
- Large numbers can be a mixture of numbers and words or simply just words (1,000, 1k or one thousand)
- In formal text, sentences should never begin with a number!
Again, it’s important to decide before you begin your document, how you will display numbers within your text.
Ask yourself; ‘Is your style of language suitable for your intended audience?’ Remember to avoid chatty language and humorous anecdotes if you’re audience are business professionals. It’s also worth noting, if the reader needs any prior knowledge to understand the document and if so, be cautious using any scientific or academic language.
Be cautious with catchphrases
Ensure you use catchphrases correctly, especially if you are writing for international readers, as this could cause confusion or even offence if used incorrectly!
Of course this is only a small guide to help edit your work before submission. Another great way is to get someone else to read your work for any mistakes, as pair of ‘fresh eyes’ are always helpful.