Written by Jacques Aleksandar Cimeša
Why I Edit
My introduction to the editorial process took place in college. I was young, entirely too dependent on caffeine, and begrudgingly memorizing different cases, the difference between restrictive and non-restrictive clauses, and proper semicolon usage. During this time, I often found myself wondering if there was more to editing than correcting grammar. I wanted to help clients reach their goals and target audience—not get caught up in misplaced modifiers and comma splices.
During a second-year editorial course, my professor started teaching us substantive and structural editing, which really resonated with me. I wanted to engage with texts on a deeper level and provide commentary to help people improve their writing. With The Elements of Style in hand, I graduated and searched for opportunities to help clients improve their work in a meaningful way.
Why I Love Editing Tools
While editing gives me much personal satisfaction, it also comes with some difficulties. Whether I’m editing a manuscript or a series of smaller works, fatigue eventually settles in as the hours pass by.
At some point, even coffee becomes ineffective.
Then there’s the issue of client deadlines—some turnaround times are seemingly unfeasible. And, as remote offices become the norm, outside distractions, like meowing cats, take their toll on productivity. In these moments, it would be nice to have an automated editing tool to help catch minor errors. Luckily, I do have one: the Accelerator.
The Accelerator: A Grammar Correction Tool for Editors
Unlike other grammar correction tools, the Accelerator is designed specifically for editors. It not only catches spelling and grammatical errors but also addresses incorrect word use, sequencing errors, and overly wordy sentences. It can really help cut down editing time by addressing simple errors from the get-go and then catching any outstanding errors prior to submission.
This grammar correction tool can help increase your productivity—for example, your eyes don’t have to glaze over as you correct yet another improper hyphen. Instead, let the Accelerator do it, and let yourself focus on editing the content.
Moreover, the Accelerator is only one of the Scribendi toolbar’s many widgets. These widgets help me streamline a range of tasks, such as tinkering with formatting, inserting comments, and managing tracked changes.
It’s easy to integrate an editing tool into your usual editing process.
Below, I’ll show you how I’ve personally incorporated the Accelerator into my regular workflow. I’ve found it to be particularly helpful in my first and second passes. For clarity’s sake, my example uses version 188.8.131.52 of the Accelerator.
Increase Your Editing Speed and Productivity: Your First Pass
Step 1: Select your preferred settings (optional)
When I pick up an editing order, I open the Accelerator by clicking the “Accelerator” button on the Scribendi toolbar.
Then, I adjust the Accelerator’s settings. For example, I always set the corresponding dialect and sometimes enable the formal and concise features, depending on the nature of the document.
Step 2: Run the Accelerator
Once that’s complete, I activate the accelerator by clicking the “Run” button.
Clicking this button will tell the Accelerator to process the entire document. However, if I only want to edit a specific portion of a document, I’ll click and drag to highlight a particular section before running the Accelerator. Doing so will tell the Accelerator to work on only that section.
The Accelerator should only take a few seconds. However, I personally like to pause here to make a cup of tea or check in on my cats.
Step 3: Review suggestions
By the time I’ve returned, the Accelerator will have generated a list of errors and suggestions, each labeled based on type. Many of these will be related to grammar, punctuation, and mechanics. However, some might address more complicated syntax issues or highlight the presence of a foreign character in place of a quotation mark.
Most of the suggestions can be assessed quickly—it doesn’t take much time or effort to verify their accuracy. However, some suggestions may not be immediately clear or may be incorrect in their given context. In those cases, you can hit the “Ignore” button and move on to the next item.
Overall, I find that running a grammar correction tool before my first pass helps address obvious minor errors, leaving me to deal with major content issues and phrasing.
Catch Fatigue Errors and Revisionary Mistakes: Your Second Pass
After I’ve completed my first pass, I run the grammar correction tool once more to catch any outstanding errors. In the process of dismantling sentences and piecing them (and sometimes entire paragraphs) back together again, it’s easy to introduce or miss common errors, such as double spaces or inconsistent serial commas.
A tool-assisted second pass can give your eyes and mind a bit of a break while reducing the number of overlooked errors in the text.
As the Accelerator runs again, seize the opportunity to make another cup of tea or perhaps grab a snack—your eyes could use a break. By the time you return, you’ll find that the grammar check has been completed. Then, you can complete the same process of verifying errors and accepting or ignoring the suggested changes.
There will be far fewer items to correct this time because you’ll have already edited the text. Now you can sit back, relax, and address those small errors that you might otherwise have missed.
Depending on how many passes I make, I’ll continue to run the Accelerator after I complete each one. I’ll also use it as a final check before using another of the Toolbar’s widgets to prepare documents for return.
An Excellent Grammar Correction Tool
Overall, the Accelerator is an excellent grammar correction tool that helps editors catch minor errors before and during the editing process.
It also allows editors to focus on improving the client’s work by engaging with the text and making more involved suggestions. Editors are notorious for spending a lot of time questioning the validity of punctuation placement or preposition use. The Accelerator addresses these issues, leaving editors to focus on more subjective matters that require a human editor’s touch.
Whether you’re looking to increase your words edited per hour, alleviate work-induced fatigue, or catch those pesky remaining errors, integrating the Accelerator into your process can help you become a better editor.
Try the Accelerator
The Accelerator is free to use for all Scribendi editors and is currently available for download through EditorWorks.
About the Author
Jacques Aleksandar is an in-house editor at Scribendi’s Chatham office. A mechanical engineer turned editor and translator, he has mastered the art of taking things apart—by force, if necessary—and duct-taping them back together again. His work can be found in newspapers across Canada, international education systems, and major bookstores, as well as on corporate blogs and both governmental and non-governmental websites. These days, he’s focusing on writing poetry in French, mastering his ninth language, and editing technical papers for high-impact journals while taking freelance projects on the side.