Revision and Editing Project

In this assignment, we are asking you to work within a fairly tight time-frame to revise and edit three texts on pp. 152-153 in Reep (#1, 2, & 3). When you're finished, you'll need to write acover memo (see below).

Ideally, editing should be a long, leisurely process. Realistically, it's often the process that you do under the most pressure. This assignment asks you to work under time pressure. You have one week until the due date.

If you turn back to chapter 5, you'll recall Reep's comment that "most writers divide revision into two separate stages--global, or overall document revision, and fine-tuning, or style and surface-accuracy revision" (p. 130). Approach the editing project in two stages.


1. After reading the three brief texts on pages 152-153 (#1, 2, & 3), think globally.

2. Now that you've noted the main point(s) or purpose(s) of each piece, who is the AUDIENCE? What information do your readers need?

3. Apply the DARE strategy (from L.Z. Bloom's _Fact and Artifact_, 2nd edition):

Be daring. Think globally. Step back from each piece and think about what to add, cut, or reorganize. You're ready now to (re)write. Think about the introductions and conclusions to each piece. Consider paragraphs, headings and format.

For more information on the global editing stage, see Reep pages 132-133, and pages 491-493 in the essay by Buehler (where the author talks about the "Format Edit" and the "Substantive Edit").


As Buehler points out in the headnote to "Defining Terms in Technical Editing" (pages 486-495), "editing has been used to mean everything from reorganizing a document to correcting punctuation" (p. 486).

What Reep terms "fine-tuning" (pp. 130-131, 133-146), Buehler breaks into the more specific categories of "integrity edit," "screening edit," "mechanical style edit," and "language edit." (See pp. 490- 493.)

To cover the various points that Buehler mentions in her definitions of "levels of edit," see Reep, p. 134, or try the following checklist.

REMEMBER: Focus on global revisions first. Fine-tuning comes later in the revision process.


When "fine-tuning" a text, a writer pays attention to sentence-level matters of word choice, tone or "voice," economy, and precision. Here's a checklist to use as you make fine-tuning revisions.

NOTE: Focus on *one* of these eleven points at a time.

  1. Are you using commas correctly? Look especially for sentences that START with one of these words: After, Although, As soon as, Before, Because, If, Since, Unless, Until, or When.

    Each of these words alert the reader to an initial condition, followed by a logical second step or consequence. Once you have set out the initial condition, mark the end of that condition with a comma (as I just did in this sentence). If your sentence begins with one of the words listed above, then you know you'll need a comma to set off your first condition.

    Look also for transitional phrases such as:

    after all, as a matter of fact, as a result, at any rate, at the same time, even so, for example, for instance, in addition, in conclusion, in fact, in other words, in the first place, on the contrary, on the other hand.

  2. While you're looking at transition words, see if you've used a period or semi-colon to mark the end of every sentence. If a complete sentence follows the transition word, then you should also see a semi-colon or a period right before the transition word. READ BACKWARD, sentence by sentence. Sometimes it's easier to catch comma splices when you read each sentence individually.

  3. Do you use active verbs wherever you can? (Do you "decide" rather than "make a decision"?) Look for:

  4. Have you cut all the excess words from your sentences? (Click on the highlighted phrase if you want to read about Key Word Editing.)

  5. Can you use a smaller word where you have used a big one?

  6. Have you used the most precise word that you can? If it is a specialized term, will your readers understand the word, or do you need to define it?

  7. Do you find any cliches in your sentences?

  8. Are your references and documentation complete and precise?

  9. Have you double-checked your use of apostrophes and possessives?

  10. Have you asked someone else to proofread your text one last time for punctuation, spelling, and typos?

  11. Have you numbered your pages for easy reference?


The editing project builds on the skills you've already been developing in the first two assignments. You will once again need to use the audience awareness, organization principles, and document design skills that you used in the first two assignments, but now we ask you to pay particular attention to global and fine-tuning revisions.

When we evaluate the editing project (pp. 152-153), we will be looking for evidence that you:

  1. Understand and apply the basic principles of global revision:

  2. Understand and apply the basic principles of fine-tuning revisions:

  3. Show an awareness of READERS' NEEDS when revising and editing.

  4. Explain your revision and editing choices clearly in a well-written cover memo addressed to your conference professor.

We also refer you to the basic criteria for an A, B, C, D, or F outlined in the syllabus.

Questions? Contact your conference professor.

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