Editing Basics

“Mom! I’m learning editing in school!”

Really? In third grade? That’s wonderful! 

“I told my teacher this is what you do. I said, ‘my mommy edits things.’ I didn’t know about it before. I thought you just typed on your computer and played Scrabble on facebook.”

Lovely. Eh hem… So what exactly are you learning to do? 

“We take a sheet of paper that has another person’s story on it and we correct it.”

Wow! That’s it? I’m doing too much work then! 

“Maowoooom! If something needs a period, you put a circle and a dot in it. If you need any punctuation, you put a circle and the symbol inside it. A squiggle circle is if something needs to be taken out. A line through words means to take something out. No, wait… the squiggle circle means to remove and a cross-out line means it doesn’t make sense. Uh, I don’t know. We just started!”


Admittedly, I no longer recall every mark as I rarely need to use them. The bulk of my editing is in Word docs, easily emailed. (I’m even trying Scrivner on recommendation of an author client.) Margin notes take the place of the traditional red pen marking symbols. I prefer this method because it allows for explanations and suggestions and it lends to a personal relationship with the writer . Quite frankly, it is a great deal friendlier than the ‘English teacher’ method, since I am not working with students I am attempting to teach or correct.

However, the few times I have used traditional markings on paper copy, clients are unsure of the suggested modifications. I am certain that tertiary educators still use the method in English and writing courses. Apparently elementary schools do as well!

So what are these symbols and what do they mean?
I could use a refresher myself.
Let’s take a gander at some of the basics.

Of course, you could always try these for a giggle while you work!
Eve Corble

Say something!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s