Tips to Avoid Mistakes While Editing

Whether a friend asks you to look over their paper, or you take on a position that requires you do a lot of editing, you try your hardest not to make mistakes. It is your job to fix the writer’s, if there are any. However, everyone makes mistakes. Avoiding all mistakes is impossible, however it is possible to avoid editing mistakes to attain a piece that is as close to perfect as possible. Here are three simple tips to avoid errors while editing.

Waynesburg University’s Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America has developed a strict editing process to avoid errors. Being part of the editing team, I see first hand how the process works. There is a two-night editing process for the award-winning newsletter, Trending Topics. As for the blog, the posts received are looked over by at least two sets of eyes.

Number of Viewers:

First off, there is a common misconception about a piece of work that needs edited: that it cannot be a piece that the editor composed. This is not entirely true. If you are confident that you can edit your own work, do it. After you are done editing the piece, however, I would read it out loud to yourself. Then, after you think it sounds good, have someone else read it to you; this way you can hear the piece from the perspective of someone else and you can literally hear how someone else will be reading it.

Have A Hard Copy:

Another thing that is always helpful is having a hard copy present. You can write all over the paper, making changes where you believe they need to be made, correcting any grammar errors that the writer looked over in the proof-reading process. When you are looking over something on a computer screen, you cannot exactly write comments in the margins with your red pen, and it can be very difficult for the writer to decipher all of your comments…

Colored Pen:

…which brings me to my next tip: always use a colored pen! When you have the words in front of you in black and white, a colored pen sticks out. When you correct small grammatical errors, such as a missing comma or apostrophe, it is easily seen on the paper for the writer to go back and correct it.


Caroline Brown is a junior English literature major, who is also pursuing a minor in public relations. Caroline serves as the content coordinator for Waynesburg University PRSSA, and is super excited about being involved in the Chapter. She hopes to pursue a career in publishing post graduation. Caroline is passionate about the Pittsburgh Penguins, reading and spending time with the important people in her life.


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