Steps in the Writing Process: Make a Clean Sweep with the Editing Step

Contributor: Peggy Herisson. Lesson ID: 13009

Duz this sentnce botherr yoU? It should, because it's filled with mistakes, and you would wonder if the rest would be worth reading. Learn to edit your work with tools that remove those nasty errors!


Grammar, Writing

English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Skill Sharpener

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Think about walking into a messy room that needs a total overhaul and clean-up!

messy room

Now, imagine that messy room is a written draft that needs straightening up. Just like a room that needs cleaning, you can expertly clean, clear, and straighten-up your drafted piece to perfection by following the stages of the editing step!

editing quote

Prepare to revise your drafts with the editing step several times before reaching your publishing goals.

In the previous Related Lesson of our Steps in the Writing Process series, found in the right-hand sidebar, you learned that the third step toward a completed piece of writing was revising. The next step is editing, which is not quite the same as revising.

  • What is editing?
  • What has to be done to edit a piece of writing?

Editing is really like fine-tuning or making final improvements to the product. This involves paying attention to — and correcting — grammatical errors. When editing a document, you will check for spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and sentence structure mistakes. This act could be compared to a surgeon with a pen. You become the literary editing surgeon in the editing stage! Bring out your skills with this Extreme Sentence Surgeons game from Mr. Nussbaum. Try it out!


As you can see, the process of editing takes a lot of concentration and attention to details while detecting what needs to be changed. Watch Revision and Editing, by GC Writing Center, to see what else is needed when editing a document.

This video uses a combination of editing and revising techniques to rejuvenate a piece of writing. Follow these steps when tackling your drafting project:

  • Check for grammar mistakes.
  • Check your paragraph structure.
    • Rearrange, separate, and organize paragraphs.
  • Check the number and variety of sentences.
  • Check for clear and concise writing.
    • Add or remove any unnecessary or confusing sentences.
  • Check for supporting details.
    • Add examples, illustrations, or facts.

It is important to re-read your draft after making edits. You want to ensure the overall tone and style remain the same.

From the details above, it can certainly be seen that a lot goes into editing a document. Read the paragraph below that is full of spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and basic grammar errors. Practice editing the paragraph on a separate sheet of paper before checking the possible answer:

"At the start of school Mark was afrad of his new Teacher. Mrs. Hill seamed nice, but she had so manny rules for the class to folow. Scare someone to pieces. As the school year continued Mark begun to understan how the Teacher come up with the rules The rules were their so students would be respectful of himself and each other. By the end of the year Mark though Mrs Hill was the best Teacher she evere had!"

Now, you can go over to the Got It? section to put all of this into practice.

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