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Editor's Checklist

Updated on August 17, 2012

Review for Content

  1. Read the article from beginning to end. The article should be both interesting and informative. It should hold your attention and make you want to learn more about the topic.
  2. Eliminate repetitive phrases and unnecessary information. A well written article should quickly tell the reader what he needs to know without being redundant.
  3. Add any missing facts. If parts of the article are unclear, add the information that is needed. This may include providing definitions for unfamiliar terms or examples to support key arguments in the article.

Check Grammar

  1. Look for sentence fragments. A sentence needs a subject, verb and a complete idea.
  2. Use the active voice. Write “Amy threw the ball” instead of “The ball was thrown by Amy.”
  3. Eliminate unnecessary adverbs. For example, it’s not necessary to say “He ran quickly.” Running, by definition, is quick.

Reference Books on Copyediting

Check Spelling

  1. Use spell check to eliminate obvious errors. In Microsoft Word, spell check will place a red line under your mistakes.
  2. Look for misspelled homonyms. You must find these errors without the assistance of spell check. For example, your computer’s spell check feature will not be able to tell the difference between “sale” and “sail” or “there” and “they’re” in your writing.
  3. Verify that proper names are spelled correctly. This includes the names of people, places, landmarks and products.

Check Punctuation

  1. Verify that quotation marks are used appropriately. Quotations should be used to indicate directly duplicated information obtained from interviews with people or other written sources such as books and websites relating to your topic.
  2. Apostrophes should be used to indicate contractions and possessives. Apostrophes are not needed when indicating decades, such as the 1920s or 1930s.
  3. Every sentence needs appropriate ending punctuation. Do not overuse exclamation points.


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      ElleBee 5 years ago

      This is a great, comprehensive checklist! I am usually able to find grammar mistakes "by ear," but this isn't always the best method, especially when reading your own work! Sometimes going back to the rules is essential. Thanks for the reminder :)