Difference between Revising and Editing

Published on October 25, 2016

The words revising and editing are often used interchangeably. But should they be? Let us take a look at these two terms and see if it is okay to substitute the two with each other.

Definitions

Revising vs Editing

Revising is rereading and changing your previous work, whether it be a manuscript, blog post, thesis or any other content you’re writing. Revising is more general and deals with the writing as a whole. You revise it to make your paper better. You have to make sure that there is a sensible flow of ideas and topics and make sure there is consistency. Depending on the paper, the writer has to check each point, chapter, section or paragraph.

Revising involves looking into the content to clarify thoughts and even add new ones. It also requires removing irrelevant and redundant aspects of the piece, but you will also add more details or choose other words to make the section more relevant. There will be a lot of rewriting to be made when you revise a paper. The end goal of revising is to make it readable, clear and logical.

Editing is conducting edits to your paper in a more specific and detailed manner. This is usually done after revising. Editing is fixing mistakes or problems with typos, spelling, punctuation, grammar, word choice and sentence structure. The writer or editor will look into awkward sentences, inept rhythms, mix-ups, missing links, repetitions and more. You are basically targeting mechanical issues.

Revising vs Editing

So what is the difference between revising and editing? These two terms are often used interchangeably, but they are separate steps in the writing process. They are two distinct practices that may sometimes overlap. Revising requires broad changes to the piece, while editing is directed towards the particulars.

Revising is geared towards the overall piece and making it flow logically. If you’re writing a manuscript, you are making changes to the story. Editing is looking into the technical parts and addressing the structure and grammar concerns.

Revising and editing are both essential steps in making your piece or paper readable.

Comparison Chart

Revising Editing
Looks into the general aspects of the piece Looks into the specific aspects of the piece
Clarifies thoughts and adds new ones Fixes technical problems, such as grammar, sentence structure, spelling, and punctuation
Removes unnecessary elements
Makes the piece flow sensibly

Video

Here’s a video that will help you give a clearer understanding on the difference between revising and editing.