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An Editing Checklist

Page history last edited by Stuart Froman 10 years, 1 month ago

Here are some of the sites I visited in developing this checklist:


Create a personal checklist based on your areas of weakness. Then edit for one problem at a time. Proofread for sentence problems only after you are satisfied with your content, structure, and style.  

Be willing to change everything!



  • Does the draft have a single, clear focus?  
  • Have I delivered on my promise to the readers?  
  • Is every bit of information relevant, or have I left in information that was of interest to me but won’t be to my readers?  
  • Have I accounted for my readers’ attitudes and emotions toward me and my topic? Have I accounted for my attitudes and emotions toward my readers and my topic?  
  • Does the beginning encourage readers to read on? Does it state a purpose or grab attention?  
  • Will each point be clear to the readers?  
  • Have I used concrete details relevant to my readers to support my points?  
  • Have I used diverse/appropriate sources and quotes that will be credible to my readers? * Am I being fair and balanced?  
  • Have I accounted for any legal or ethical issues?  



  • Is there a clear beginning, middle, and end?  
  • Is the information delivered in a logical order for the readers?  
  • Do my sentences take the reader through a clear line of thought? Is each connected to the one before and the one after?  
  • Do I have clear transitions that lead the reader from one idea to the next?  



  • Is my language appropriate for my readers and my discipline or area of writing?  
  • Have I relied too much on jargon, bureaucratic language, acronyms, clichés?  
  • Do my readers already have to know what I’m writing about in order to understand how I’ve written about it?  
  • Are my sentences clear and direct?  
  • Is my language concrete and specific?  
  • Have I eliminated unnecessary which/that clauses and other unnecessary words and phrases?  
  • Have I used active voice and active verbs wherever possible?  
  • Are my metaphor and similes appropriate for the context and drawn from sources that my readers know?  
  • Can I read the draft aloud without stumbling?  



  • Can I track who does what (subject/verb) in every sentence?  
  • Does my punctuation follow the conventions of my discipline or area of writing?  
  • Are my sentences too long and complicated? Do I have too many long sentences grouped together?  
  • Are my sentences short and choppy? Do I have too many short sentences grouped together?  
  • Are my sentences tangled and broken up with clauses and too many prepositional phrases?  
  • Do all my sentences tend to start the same way? (“The,” “There,” “I,” etc.)  
  • Do my sentences seem dull or flat from being built on too many "to be" verbs?  
  • Am I being repetitious in phrasing? Am I using redundant constructions?  
  • Am I stuck on the cleverness of my sentences so I can’t rewrite them?


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