Editing Techniques

Removing spelling mistakes and other typos
Spelling mistakes and other typographical errors can easily be corrected using Microsoft Word's spelling and grammar check tool, and our editors always run a full spelling and grammar check on a document as part of the editing process. But certain errors are often overlooked by the Microsoft Word tool; for example, unwanted double  spaces between words. Our editors are trained to look out for these and other easily missed typos.
Ensuring correct punctuation
Some punctuation marks, especially the semi-colon, are often used incorrectly; for example, in a sentence like this, it is common for a comma to be placed before "for example" instead of a semi-colon, but a semi-colon is in fact necessary because there is no conjunction separating the first two clauses. We are meticulous in ensuring that proper punctuation is used.
Improving the writing so that it is grammatically and verbally fluent
Ensuring that a document is written in grammatically and verbally fluent English is the most important task that our editors carry out, and it may sometimes require substantial rewriting of a sentence. For example, in one paper, an editor encountered the following sentence:

"This study focused on the youth working poor. It aimed to investigate the reasons for their situations of persistent poverty and the limitations of their daily lives, and to explore the measures for improving their difficult situations."

She changed it into this:

"This study focuses on the young working poor. It investigates the reasons why they remain in persistent poverty and the limitations they encounter in their daily life, as well as exploring ways of helping them overcome the difficulties they face."

Although we may substantially rewrite a sentence to ensure fluency, we always strive not to change the author's intended meaning.
Ensuring that there is a logical flow of ideas between sentences and paragraphs
As well as ensuring that individual sentences are fluent, it is also important to ensure that the sentences and paragraphs of a document flow together in a logical and coherent manner. In order to achieve this, we may point out in a comment where the logical flow breaks down, point out the need for a clarifying sentence or paragraph, reposition sentences or paragraphs within the document, or occasionally insert a new sentence.
Ensuring consistency of style in punctuation, spelling, hyphenation, levels of heading, referencing format, and so on
This is another key task of editing. When a client does not request a specific style, we will edit to ensure papers consistently follow either American or British spelling and punctuation conventions. American punctuation tends to be "double quotation marks," commas/periods inside quotation marks, and commas before "and" in a list; British punctuation tends to be single 'quotation marks', commas / full stops outside quotation marks and no commas before 'and' in a list. The previous sentence illustrates these different punctuation styles. Ensuring consistency of American or British spelling is not as simple as setting the language to British or American English and running the spelling and grammar check. According to the rules of British spelling, some words can be spelt in more than one way; for example, "program/programme" or "organize/organise." As both spellings are acceptable, when the language is set to British English, the spell checker will not highlight any inconsistencies. However, our editors are trained to identify and correct any such inconsistencies in spelling.

Other common inconsistencies that we look out for include, but are not limited to, the following:         

Hyphens. Should a prefix and a stem word be separated with a hyphen? For example, should it be "noneconomic" or "non-economic"? APA style favours "noneconomic"; other styles favour the hyphenated spelling. We will ensure that the preferred spelling is consistently used in a document.  

Ampersand. Should it be "Smith and Jones, 1989" or "Smith & Jones, 1989"? According to APA style, it should be "Smith and Jones (1989)" in the main text of a document but "(Smith & Jones, 1989)" in in-text citations. Chicago style requires "(Smith and Jones 1989)" in in-text citations. Whichever style is needed, we will ensure consistency in the use of the ampersand or "and." 

"10 percent," "10 per cent," or "10%" – which is correct? Again, it depends on the required style. We will ensure that whatever form is used, it will be used consistently.