Revising Versus Editing

Revising Versus Editing

Revising and editing are usually grouped together. When you’re making changes to a rough draft, you typically revise and edit it. However, notice that you revise and edit it. The two words are different tasks and focus on different aspects of writing:


  • Focuses on how effectively writing responds to a prompt and how clearly the supporting ideas develop a main idea
  • Considers writing at the content level
  • Usually done during the early stages of drafting
    • More revisions lead to more drafts
  • Considers the written work as a whole
  • Clairifies thoughts and ideas
  • Considers aspects of writing such as tone and language
  • Sometimes involves adding new ideas, elaborating on current ideas, re-arranging the organization of ideas, or condensing ideas
  • Ensures that writing is thorough and ideas are developed and well supported
  • Considers what ideas belong or do not belong to ensure focused writing


  • Considers mechanical and grammatical aspects of writing
  • Usually done during final read throughs, right before submission
  • Considers punctuation (i.e., commas, periods, question marks, semicolons, etc.)
  • Looks at sentence structures
  • Checks for correct spelling
  • Reads at the sentence-level
    • Does not consider what the sentence says, but how it is written
  • Involves correction of typos and other mistakes
  • Focuses on surface-level changes
  • Does not consider context, content, or the big picture

Page last updated July 12, 2023.