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Editorial Help: More Than Correcting Grammar

By Barbara Gastel | April 12, 2009

Hello again. As you might have noticed, more and more manuscript editors have been registering as AuthorAID mentors. How can an editor help?

Of course, editors can help ensure that grammar is correct. They also can help with spelling, punctuation, and word choice. Such help can be very useful, especially to authors who are not writing in their native language.

However, editors can help with much more. Here are some other things that editors often can help with:

  • Clarity: Editors can help make wording clearer.
  • Organization: Editors can help ensure that manuscripts are organized in ways that are clear and appropriate.
  • Conciseness: Publishers want writing that is concise. By suggesting shorter wording and noting items that can be deleted, editors can help with conciseness.
  • Completeness: Editors sometimes notice that the text or reference list lacks some needed information. They then can suggest that the authors add it.
  • Correctness: Editors sometimes note possible errors in calculations or other content. Authors can then check these items and, if necessary, correct them.
  • Quality of Tables and Figures: Editors sometimes suggest changes to improve tables and figures.
  • Compliance with Instructions: Editors can help check whether manuscripts comply with journals’ instructions to authors.

Editors also are teachers. Through editors’ suggestions, authors can learn ways to improve writing. They can then edit their own work more effectively—and perhaps help others, not only with grammar but also with much more.

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