How to Edit a Manuscript

Learning to edit your work and that of others takes practice and patience. The tips and resources on this page will help you learn to effectively edit a manuscript you have written.

If you are preparing or editing a manuscript for a CARLA Working Paper, including the SLA Student Symposium Proceedings, please adhere to APA Style guidelines and follow our in-house manuscript preparation guidelines (PDF).

Editing Tips for Authors and Editors

  1. Define key terminology and use it consistently.
  2. Define abbreviations (e.g., L2 for second language) and use them consistently.
  3. Avoid using the passive voice.
  4. Use past tense when reporting on previously published research.
  5. Only use “on the other hand” after you first use “one the one hand” (e.g., On the one hand, editing is challenging; on the other hand, this list is helpful).
  6. Use the Oxford comma before the words “and” and “or” in lists of three or more words.
  7. Check that all references cited in the text are listed in the bibliography and vice versa.
  8. Verify the accuracy of your references, including year, author name(s), page numbers, and so on.
  9. Ensure that authors names in parenthetical in-text citations and in your bibliography are listed in alphabetical order.
  10. Remember that e.g. means “for example” and i.e. means “in other words”; both abbreviations are followed by a comma (e.g., for example).
  11. Ask a friend or colleague to read your work for content.
  12. If English is not your first language, consider asking a first-language speaker to read for form.
  13. Proofread, proofread, proofread!
  14. Consult the useful list of tips from Forbes.



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