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Revising Vs. Editing: What's The Basic Difference

difference between revising and editing

What is the difference between revising and editing


  • What is editing 

  • What is revising

  • Criteria for good revisions

  • Criteria for good editing

  • How can I do both revision and editing in tandem

  • When to revise, when to edit, when to leave alone.

What’s the difference between revising and editing? You probably use these two terms interchangeably, or maybe you’re unsure of how they relate to one another.

Here’s an overview of the differences and how they work together to help authors craft compelling stories or nonfiction books. Let’s start with the basics.

What is editing 

Editing is the process of looking at a piece of writing and making changes to the content or format. while revising is the process of going back over a piece of writing to make changes to its content or structure. 

Editing is generally done after an initial draft has been written, while revising can be done before or after editing as needed to fix errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. Some writers like to edit first and then revise later; others will work on revising before moving on to editing. 

There is no correct or incorrect method; what counts most is what works best for you and your writing process.

What is revising

There is a distinction between editing and revising, although it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference. When you edit, you’re looking for ways to improve your work while maintaining its original meaning.

When you revise, you’re making significant changes to your work to have a new form and meaning. Revising might involve rewriting the entire story or just rewriting certain sections. 

Because you are modifying how the scenes are connected, changing the order of scenes in a film script is considered revision rather than editing.

Criteria for good revisions

  1. Revise with a clear sense of purpose and audience in mind 

  2. Focus on big ideas, not small details 

  3. Start by looking at the whole, not just your sentence or paragraph 

  4. Make sure to read aloud and listen to what you’re writing. Proofread for grammar and spelling errors

Criteria for good editing

  1. A good editor will know what to edit and how to do it well. 

  2. An editor must know grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure.

  3. They should be able to take a manuscript apart and put it back together easily.

  4. It is also important that an editor be very familiar with their client’s voice to avoid changing their voice when editing the text.

How can I do both revision and editing in tandem

If you’re only doing one, revision can come before editing, and editing can come after revision. For example, if you’re revising an essay to fix grammar mistakes and find more mistakes in editing for content. 

you would revise first, then edit for content, then revise again to fix more grammar mistakes, and so on until everything is perfect.

When to revise, when to edit, when to leave alone

Everyone has an opinion on when it is appropriate to revise, edit, or leave a draft alone. There are no hard and fast rules. Instead, it is best to do what feels right for you. If it doesn’t feel right, then don’t do it!

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3 thoughts on “Revising Vs. Editing: What’s The Basic Difference”

  1. Cool. I spent a long time looking for relevant content and found that your article gave me new ideas, which is very helpful for my research. I think my thesis can be completed more smoothly. Thank you.

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