This week we will cover two topics: Revising/Editing your document, and Business
Letters. By now, you’ve had a chance to write a few papers and see where you are prone to
make mistakes. All of us have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to writing.
Some of us misspell words, or mix up tenses or have problems making our subjects and verbs
agree. I have a cousin – a very accomplished woman – who has this odd habit of adding an “e”
to the end of every word – “famous” becomes “famouse” and so on. She’s not inept, that’s just
her writing quirk. Mine is a tendency to misspell words that have r’s in them – it took me forever
to remember that “sheriff” has only one r and I still screw up “tomorrow” for the same reason – I
always want to toss in an extra r.
At any rate, my point here is that no matter what your quirk is, a good revision of your
document can usually fix it. Unfortunately, many of us HATE to revise, and therefore we don’t
do it. I personally think it’s because we’re tired of looking at the material by the time we finish a
draft, and it’s easier to just wash your hands of it – but that is always a mistake.
REVISING AND EDITING A DOCUMENT:
When you finish your draft of a document, it’s a good idea to set it aside for a little while
– 24 hours if possible. Taking a break from it will allow you to come back and look at it with a
fresh eye. When you do sit down to edit it, your primary aim, along with fixing any obvious
mistakes, should be to make sure your document is
A coherent document flows
smoothly and “makes sense.” You should always edit for coherence – whether it’s while you
write or after you write is up to you. Earlier in the semester, when we talked about generating
ideas and starting the writing process, I noted that how you do those things is really a personal
preference. Editing for coherence is the same – some people do it better while they write the
document, others prefer to do it after the draft is finished. HOW you do it is not important –
DOING it is.
When you revise a draft for coherence, you should ask yourself the following questions:
Have you left anything out?
Is there something missing from your content
that you needs to add?
Have you included everything your reader expects to see?
By this, I
mean not just information, but the “accessing” tools – page numbers,
headings, etc. and the format. If your company has a template for reports,
and you fail to use that template, your reader is going to get confused.
Is the organization logical?
Does the type of organization you have chosen
make sense? Or would the report be better suited using a different type?