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9.1 Overview of Revising

“Rewriting is when writing really gets to be fun. . . In baseball you only get three swings and you’re out. In rewriting, you get almost as many swings as you want and you know, sooner or later, you’ll hit the ball.”

–Neil Simon

Successful writers understand that revising is an integral part of the writing process. It is so important that most authors spend the majority of their time revising their texts. That revising is a time-consuming and learned skill surprises many beginning writers because they often describe revision as changing particular words in a sentence or scanning a text for misspelled words or grammatical errors. Such changes correspond more appropriately to the term editing. To revise, however, is to significantly alter a piece of writing. While editing can be a part of this process, revising generally involves changes that concern bigger issues, such as content and organization. Alternately, while revising, a writer might notice that an idea needs to be developed more thoroughly, another omitted. Or, the writer might decide that rearranging paragraphs will provide clarity and support for his or her argument, strengthening the paper as a whole. Granted, writers will also change grammar and punctuation while revising, but if that is all they are doing then they are really just editing.


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Expression and Inquiry by Christopher Manning; Sally Pierce; and Melissa Lucken is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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