10 Most Common Editing Mistakes and Their Solutions

10 Worst Self-Editing Mistakes that Writers Make and How to Avoid Them

It’s not an easy task to make your writing sound professional and easy to read. In most cases, you have to edit your piece several times before sending it to your audience or editor for the final time.  Several self-editing mistakes will affect the quality of your sentences and eventually cause problems with accuracy and grammar.

Everyone makes mistakes when they are editing their first draft. Whether you are an experienced writer or just starting out, always something can be improved on in a text Everyone has trouble with editing, whether it be spelling, grammatical errors, typos, or even content gaps. However, not all of these errors are the same. There are many different types of mistakes writers make when they edit their work, and here are ten of them – teach yourself how to avoid them.

Explain these self-editing mistakes and their solutions:

1) Spelling mistakes and typos

One of the most common mistakes that amateur writers make is spelling and grammar errors. While it is important to proofread your work for typos, spelling mistakes can be even more damaging to a piece. If you are unsure that your spelling or grammar is correct, use a spell checker before submitting anything or making your write-up public. Undoubtedly, it is hard to read through a piece of work without encountering some mistakes. You cannot help it; your brain just has difficulty processing the words as they come out. But while spelling errors are inevitable, they’re not something you should let slide by.

Here is how to avoid them:

Spell check your document before you hit “save.” If you do not, then it’s all too easy to miss something spelled correctly, but it looks like it should be spelled differently (or vice versa). 

Just do this once or twice, and you’ll catch most of your errors before they reach publication.

If you are still having trouble with spelling, try making an audio recording of yourself reading the document aloud. Then listen back to it and try correcting any misused or misspelled words. This can be particularly helpful when writing long articles or other documents that use a lot of complex terminology or tricky syntax (like essays).

2) Wrong citation and references

This is a common mistake among first-time writers, especially those writing independently. Also a mistake can be hard to fix once it has been made. If you have already submitted your article, check the references section of your manuscript for any mistakes. Citation errors are among the most common self-editing mistakes writers make. Double-check the entry in the reference list before submitting it if you are citing an author for an article or book review. You may also need to check if there are any errors in the entry itself — for example, if there was a typo or mislabeling of a term used.

3) Writing above the word limit

If your writing is too long, it might be difficult to edit out unnecessary words without losing important information. To avoid this problem, reduce redundancies and use shorter sentences whenever possible. The word limit for many journals is 2,500 words; however, this does not include the title or abstract.

You might be tempted to pad out your article with unnecessary text so that you have less space to write about your topic. Before submitting your work, check the submission guidelines for your journal and ensure there aren’t any limits on the length of articles or any other restrictions. If you find word count limits in the institutions, follow them.

Use an online notepad tool

If you are unsure how to save your research and check your write-up’s exact word count, using an online notepad tool can solve the problem. The tool is easy to use and does not require any installation on your device. It lets you track the number of words, characters (with space), and, lines. You can also check the write-up’s formatting ensure it does not contain anything that causes confusions. Other useful features of the online notepad tool include plain text note, rich text note, and task lists. You can also import any text document to make adjustments or further changes.

4) Punctuation mistakes

Punctuation mistakes are the most common self-editing mistake. Punctuation marks are used to show how something is being said but also serve as punctuation in many cases. A comma or period at the end of a sentence will indicate that the person has finished speaking, whereas an exclamation point indicates excitement or surprise. Punctuation mistakes are the most common self-editing mistake. Punctuation marks are the little things that distinguish between a well-written piece of writing and one that is confusing or has no flow.

  •     Comma splice
  •     Comma uses with conjunction, e.g., “and,” “but.”
  •     Splice a sentence in two different ways by using a comma when it should be a semicolon; vice versa
  •     Comma misuse leading to ambiguity: “I know what I want to do” vs. “I know what I want to do for lunch.”

5) Grammatical errors

Grammatical errors are another major problem for writers. While learning grammar rules and memorizing them is important, it is equally important to know when to break them. For example, if the writer uses “your” instead of “you’re” or “there’s,” she has committed a grammatical error. Grammatical errors occur when the writer does not follow grammatical rules properly. Common grammar mistakes include running clauses together and forgetting to end a sentence with a period or comma; these errors can confuse readers who have trouble following what you mean.

6) Repetition of sentences

Repetition of sentences can be another problem area for writers. Repetition of ideas within sentences can be confusing and make reading more difficult. The repetition needs to be eliminated before writing starts so there is no confusion later on when trying to edit and rewrite a section or chapter of fiction or nonfiction prose. “I want to write.” “I want to write.” “I want to write.” If you read your work aloud, it will sound choppy and unnatural.  Fix this by restructuring your sentences so that each one flows smoothly into another one.

7) Wrong use of an apostrophe

Apostrophes are used to show ownership and possession. When you are using an apostrophe in a sentence, it should be preceded by a contraction or possessive pronoun. In most cases, they should be left out when they are not needed. In fact, the most common self-editing mistake we see is the misuse of the apostrophe. It’s easy to make this mistake when typing or proofreading. It is also easy to miss in a long sentence, especially if you are not paying attention.

8) Editing and writing simultaneously

It is common for writers to edit their work while writing it. This can result in typos and grammar mistakes because writers do not always check over what they have written before sending it out for publication. People typically edit their writing before they write it completely, but this is not always possible or necessary. 

It can be very useful to edit your work while you are writing it, but only if you have time for it beforehand.  If you do not have time for this step, then it may be better to wait until after you have finished writing before going through your manuscript with an eye for errors and typos. This way, there will not be too many distractions when you are trying to get through your manuscript as quickly as possible.

9) Not using the right proofreading tool

Proofreading tools such as Grammarly or Grammarly Premium have built-in spell checkers that can catch misspelled words and grammatical errors before they go live on your website or blog post.  While these programs do help catch some mistakes, there are many more that cannot be corrected by them alone. You will need to use other programs to check over your work before publishing.

10) Omission of words

The omission of words is one of writers’ most common mistakes when editing their work. It is usually the result of the writer being too excited or distracted to write down everything that comes to mind. If you have a key idea that you cannot get out of your head and into your writing, then you should write it down as soon as possible. The problem with this approach is that when the time comes to edit and revise the piece, it will most likely be impossible to find all of those missing words.

The solution: Do not leave them out. Write them down simultaneously so that they are easy to find later on. Words are important in every sentence, and if you do not use them correctly, it can make your writing harder to understand. We all know that using too many or too few words can confuse our readers, but that does not mean we should just throw out every word we don’t like.

The best way to avoid this mistake is by writing down a list of words and phrases you know you need to include in your essay or story. Then, when you come across a word or phrase that you think might be missing, take out the sheet of paper and check it against your list. If there is a word on the sheet that is not on your list, then add it in; if there isn’t a word on the sheet, But you think it should be added, cross it off and keep looking until you find something else to replace it with.


Many writers tend to self-edit every part of their work without putting much thought into it. This can often make your writing seem stilted and mechanical, causing readers to lose interest in what you have to say.

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