Editing is not proofreading although it will include proofreading. If you can put your essay aside for a day or two before you edit, you’ll get a better paper because then you will have developed some objectivity about what you’ve written. You need to be able to throw away some things—even though they may have seemed wonderful when you wrote them.
Read your essay all the way through without making any changes. Read it as if you are a stranger to it. Then ask the question, “Does it do what I want it to do?” Also, “If not, why not?” Then you’re ready to go to work shaping it for presentation. You will probably need to leave some things out. I know, it’s a little like giving away your child, but it’s important. These words are not going to be near and dear to your reader just because you wrote them. Also, you’ll probably find holes that need to be filled. You may even have to go back and do some more discovery.
Now’s the time for proofreading. Use whatever sources you need to fix mechanical faux pas. Microsoft Word is very helpful, especially in finding misspellings, but don’t rely on it to do your work because it is not always correct, especially when it calls a construction a fragment. That’s when you need to do the work. Look also for appropriate capitals, bolding, and italics.
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