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Hub Editing Checklist

Updated on September 25, 2013

Hub Editing Checklist

Here is a checklist of items I run through before I publish a hub so I can edit the grammar. It is a personal checklist, but I feel it is generally useful. Please feel free to use it and personalize it for your needs.

How to create a hub

Review organization and logic

1. Ask three questions:

  • Do your paragraphs begin with facts?
  • Does the hub read like a story?
  • Is the hub filled with I, me and mine?

2. If the hub lacks organisation try:

  • Pull points from the paragraphs and compose them as short sentences.
  • Compare the points against the hubs purpose and intended audience
  • Add missing points and remove redundancies
  • Order the points the way the audience wants to see them

3. If the hub is organised ask five questions:

  • What is the purpose of the hub?
  • So what? – keep on relevant information
  • Specified how? – sweeping generalizations
  • Is it true? – check your facts and figures
  • Who says so? – no false appeals to authority

Edit for Coherence

  1. Repeat keywords; introduce new words for a reason shifting words to much is confusing
  2. Does each paragraph begin with one point only; avoid beginning paragraphs with a sentence that has more than one thought.
  3. Check for ‘since’ and ‘because’ confusions
  4. Check for ‘while’ and ‘although’ confusions
  5. Do not use ‘ This means that’ or ‘It means’ to transition rather use therefore, consequently, specificallyand so on
  6. Use graphics to make a point
  • The graphics must be relevant
  • Must have captions
  • Must be introduced as to what concept they are showing
  • Tell reader what they will learn from this graphic

7. Use vertical lists for series of like items

  • Define the list and end that with ':'
  • Make the items all similar in grammar i.e. all statements , all questions, all begin with a verb
  • No punctuation except ‘?’ until the last item
  • Try to avoid lists in list.

8. Use typography and layout as visual devices:

  • Bold to draw attention
  • Italics to show words in a special way
  • Quotes for quotations only (‘ ’)
  • Over use of fonts makes your hub look like a ransom note!

Edit for clarity

1. Use concrete and specific words; real names, times, places.

  • Avoid abstract words like ‘The food was appealing’ rather ‘The warm bread with a nutty crust made my mouth water’
  • Remove useless modifiers: i.e. several options either eliminate several or use a concrete number ‘you have seven options’
  • Remove vague modifiers; very, extremely, dramatic, vital, super i.e. ‘Super-please our customers by delivering extra-special software’ rather say ‘Please our customers by delivering special software’ or even better ‘Please our customers by delivering valuable software’

2.Use active voice

  • The subject performs the action i.e. Fred hit the ball
  • Look for ‘to be’ verbs: be, being, am, is, are, was, were, been STOP look to the right if you see another verb ask yourself ‘Does the reader know who or what performs the action in the second verb?’ i.e. The ball was hit, was [to be verb] hit [second verb to the right] do we know who hit the ball, No = passive. Fix by adding the subject, Fred hit the ball
  • Adding ‘by whom’ or ‘by’ to the end of the sentence does not solve passive voice
  • Seek a what does what type of sentence in difficult cases ‘The pipe weld was given a careful examination, and it was determined that a filler substance in the weld caused the leak.’ Becomes, ‘A careful examination of the pipe weld showed that a filler substance in the weld caused the leak.’
  • Cut passive voice by eliminating actions the reader does not need to know about i.e. ‘The ferry was designed to carry 120 cars’ to ‘The ferry carries 120 cars’
  • Look out for and cut who, which, that and the ‘to be’ verb to solve many passive voice problems.

3.Stay in present tense

  • Look for ‘will’ and either remove it or if that makes the sentence awkward leave it in. ‘Will’ implies future tense and is ambiguous
  • Look for has, have or had in front of another verb, either drop it or leave it in if the sentence becomes awkward. (90% of the time it falls out)
  • Look out for ‘to be’ verbs in front of verbs ending in –ing, just re-read for clarity and correct tense (avoid the temptation to put all the that’s back)

4.Avoid using would, should and could, they are vague.

5.Identify and replace ambiguous pronouns

  • It is, this, that, these, there is and those
  • Make sure it is clear what nouns are described
  • Check up on he, his, she, hers, they, theirs and which

6.Use standard English words

  • No Latin
  • No made up words

Edit for economy

1. Cut useless verbs

  • Look for buried verbs with the following suffixes

i. –able (advisable – advise)

ii. –ant (compliant - comply)

iii. –ance (performance - perform)

iv. –ation (allocation - apply)

v. –ence (reference – refer)

vi. –ent (dependent - depends

vii. –ing (maintaining – maintain)

viii. –ity (prosperity - prosper)

ix. –ness (forgiveness – forgive)

x. –sion (decision – decide)

xi. –tion (suggestion – suggest)

2. Cut who, which, and that

  • Cut who is, which are, that is, that can be, that was, which is

3. Cut redundancy

  • Remove ‘in other words’
  • Remove 'Each and every'
  • Remove In this day and age'
  • Remove Approve and accept'
  • Remove Urgent and important'

4. Cut useless comments

  • Cut formal courtesies like ‘On behalf of the entire …’
  • ‘As you may already know’ - calling reader stupid if they don’t know

5. Cut useless modifiers

  • Absolutely sure – not quite as sure as positivity sure?
  • Almost sure – not sure at all?
  • Complete destruction – not partial destruction
  • Honest truth – not dishonest truth
  • Most detailed – more detailed than detailed?

Edit for readability

1. Replace long words with short words

  • Depends on the audience, many people you work with do not have English as a first language and do not have the same vocabulary as you may.

2. Break long sentences

There you have it!

Please tell me what you think.

Straw Poll

Do you use a checklist when editing your hubs?

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    • MetalLemon profile image

      Allan Rees 6 years ago from Brisbane, Australia


      I seem to battle with active voice the most, hence lots of checks in that area.

    • The Odd Spartan profile image

      Christopher Rago 6 years ago from Hamilton, NJ

      Some very useful tips here. Up and useful