A good editor will always check these 10 important writing errors:
The proper placement of letters to form the correct words for the sentence. Editing spelling includes checking for typos of words that are spelled correctly, but aren’t the correct word for the sentence, example bind vs. blind. Unless otherwise agreed upon, spelling should be edited to Canadian usage.
The rules governing the structure of the English language. Editing grammar ensures that the proper nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, etc. are in place to ensure clarity and professionalism.
The proper use of spacing, conventional signs and typographic figures as aids to understand meaning of a text. Editing punctuation ensures the proper punctuation is used, including instances of misplaced apostrophes that affect the meaning of the word, for example: its vs. it’s. Punctuation editing also ensures consistency of style, such as the use or avoidance of the Oxford/serial comma.
The way in which words are put together to form phrases or clauses. Editing syntax analyzes sentence structure and proper phrasing.
5. Word Usage
Correct usage of terms and expressions. Editing word usage ensures the right word is chosen for the specific context. This includes editing the misuse of homonyms, such as check vs. cheque, as well as improper prepositional usage, for example: capable for (this is incorrect and should be capable of). In some cases, words may be repeated too often and an alternative word is required.
6. Argument and Organization
A set of reasons given to support an idea or opinion arranged in a way that is rational and easy for the reader to follow. Editing argument includes identifying instances, whether examples or claims, that are in direct conflict to your argument or are not very supportive. Editing organization may include moving entire sections of writing, such as paragraphs or chapters, to ensure the most logical progression of ideas.
Words, phrases or arguments that influence the meaning of an idea or statement. Editing context ensures that the information presented, such as situations or background events, is relevant to the subject at hand. It also ensures that outside material is not taken out of context, which would compromise the writer’s authority.
8. Continuity and Flow
The logical connections between arguments, ideas, and sentences to help readers easily move throughout the document. Editing continuity and flow ensures the use of transition words, concise sentences, and a varied sentence structure to avoid repetition and reader confusion.
The distinct personality, narration style, or point of view of a written work. Editing for voice ensures consistency to avoid confusion in the writer, while ensuring that changes in perspective are logical and add to the value of the written work.
10. Citation Style
The rules and conventions of citation and formatting by an established organization. Some schools include the Modern Languages Association (MLA), the American Psychological Association (APA), and the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS). Editing for style includes ensuring that the rules of one school are consistently adhered.
Definitions derive from the Oxford English Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Dictionary, or Wikipedia.