My background is in Literature and Philosophy in which I have a PhD from the University of Sydney. I have worked for a number of years as a university lecturer teaching courses in literature, writing studies and critical thinking in Australia and New Zealand. I have also taught ESL as having a Japanese father and European mother meant growing up with an awareness of the vagaries of language. I have been in love with words since my mother first began reading me bedtime stories and, for this reason, desire always that every word be treated with respect. What does that look like? It means using the right word in the right place at the right time. Doing so almost guarantees that your readers will want to keep reading because they can fully grasp the ideas being communicated. How is it achieved? Curiosity. Curiosity about what it means to really think well, curiosity about those who have done so, and the certain knowledge that it is a skill that can be learned.
I’m a professional editor based in San Diego, California, with certificates in copyediting and technical writing. My passion for language blossomed at a tender age. From the time I first learned to read, I devoured any written material I could get my hands on—when I was six, my mother found me poring over the word problems in a mathematics textbook, for lack of anything better to read.
As I grew older, my interests led me in different directions: I studied biology in college, then went on to work as an IT systems administrator for twenty-six years. However, I never forgot my early love of the written word, and one of the most rewarding aspects of my IT job was using my language skills to make complex technical subjects understandable to laypeople. Eventually, I chose to pursue a career as an editor so I could focus exclusively on helping authors communicate more effectively.
In my leisure time, you can find me reading literary fiction, clicker training my border collie, and enjoying the Southern California sunshine.
My advice for improving your writing is to read—a lot. Although my formal education in writing and editing was important, my most valuable language lessons have come from years of reading and paying attention to how great writers construct their sentences and narratives.
After graduating with a degree in English, I found myself drawn to helping writers of all skill levels improve their prose and to teaching others about the rules and standards of English grammar. I work as a freelance editor and writing tutor, and I love that I am able to help others while learning about a variety of topics and subjects. I aim for high-quality, helpful, and accurate editing in every project that I take on, and I'm always looking forward to what the next project has to offer.
English Tip: Brevity is key. If there is a shorter, simpler way to say something, it is probably the best way to go.
I have over twenty years of experience editing academic and texts, including articles for peer-reviewed journals, conference presentations, chapters in edited books, theses, and full books published by academic publishing houses. For seventeen years I worked for one researcher. Since his untimely passing I have been working as a freelance editor and Hebrew-to-English translator. I also write children's books and so far have published ten picture books, one of which won the National Jewish Book Award. I excel at helping academics express their work in clear, professional English that flows smoothly. Students: I can help you say exactly what you want to say.
I was born and raised in rural Nova Scotia, Canada, known by most of the world as "where's that?" I was interested in language all throughout my childhood, writing stories that were probably pretty decent for my age and challenging my teachers on their inaccurate grammar advice. Apparently, according to my parents, I could even roll my "R"s as a baby.
I discovered the joy of foreign languages in high school, when I unsuccessfully tried to learn Japanese. Since then, I have successfully learned German, French, and, to some extent, Swedish and Czech. Also on my language bucket list are Russian, Japanese (again), Korean, Greek, and—my dream languages—Finnish and Icelandic.
Although I originally enrolled in university as a computer science major, I switched to German after a year and now hold a B.A. in German. During my later university years, I started working as an online, freelance ESL teacher, and after graduating, I took a one-year position as a language assistant at a German high school, at which time I also started picking up freelance editing work in my spare time.
These days, I work full time as a freelance editor. When I'm not editing, I'm probably learning one of the languages I listed, thinking about learning one of the other languages I listed, or doing the neat little NACLO linguistics puzzles.
Writing tip: Be clear. Be concise. If you don't know what a word means, you probably shouldn't be using it. If you're using ten words when two would suffice, you should probably restructure the sentence. Don't fear simplicity—a simple but understandable text is always better than a sophisticated but incomprehensible text.
Currently based in Amsterdam, I was born in South Africa, grew up in Australia and have also lived in France. I have taught music (one of the most beautiful languages of all) and English as a private tutor and editor for a decade. I have intermediate fluency in French and am currently learning Dutch, so I understand the frustrations of trying to make yourself understood in a new language.
My tip for writing academically in English: eschew obfuscation. This is an ironic and memorable way to remind students to avoid being unclear. Fledgling academics often feel tempted to use rare or sophisticated words when a more simple term or phrase would be enough. State your point, support it with evidence, and avoid any possible confusion in the reader’s mind. Save the poetry for when you write your next novel!
Also: Microsoft Word’s “synonyms” function is not always your friend! Synonyms are loaded with nuance; they are to be used with caution.
I grew up in the eastern US, where I received a B.A. in Spanish & Latin American Studies and Visual Media Studies. Currently, I live in Los Angeles, where I am a doctoral candidate in Comparative Literature and Media. My background and interests span disciplines, so I enjoy the variety of texts encountered through Scribbr editing.
For the past few years, I have been tutoring students in foreign language and teaching writing and composition at the university level. My experience as a language tutor, writing and composition instructor, and literature and media student has allowed me to craft an approach to language and composition which I find helpful.
Composition and writing are processes that can certainly be fulfilling, even fun. However, when the process becomes too daunting, I recommend heeding Anne Lamott’s suggestion, “almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes––including you.”
My favorite revision tactic is to press the “return” or “enter” key at the end of each sentence so the text becomes a series of sentence lines. As a result, you can analyze the first and last words of each sentence more easily. You can also see structural connections that are less apparent when sentences are in paragraph form.
I hold a Ph.D. in Intellectual History from Vanderbilt University, and the history of ideas is my passion. My main areas of research and teaching are Indigenous American Studies and Science Fiction Studies. Thus far I have published four books and more than fifty essays, and I have edited seven books.
I delight in learning new things. Helping others improve their academic writing is a wonderful way to do this!
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." — Leonardo da Vinci
“If you can't explain something simply, you don't understand it well enough.” — Albert Einstein
Born and brought up in Zimbabwe, I studied Classics at the University of Cape Town. Most of my career has been in the parliamentary field. I worked as a Hansard editor and translator at our national Parliament in Cape Town, and then spent 20 years as head of Hansard at the Eastern Cape Legislature.
Currently I am freelancing as an editor and translator in Cape Town, my other languages being Dutch, German and Russian. And I now have more time than before for my great passion – the piano.
Thought for the day: "I'm exhausted. I spent all morning taking out a comma, and all afternoon putting it back again." Oscar Wilde
I hold a BA (Honours) in English and political science from the University of Ottawa, as well as an MA in English and a JD from the University of Toronto. I am called to the bar in Ontario, Canada, and I have over 11 years of experience as a writer and editor in academic and legal contexts. I love editing for Scribbr because it is an opportunity to continue learning about new subjects while providing a helpful service for students.
Writing tip: “Read, read, read. Read everything - trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window.” - William Faulkner
Language has always been my passion, and I have formally studied English, Latin, Ancient Greek, Ancient Hebrew, and Spanish. That knowledge of how language works has helped me live out my other passion: teaching others to use language. My experience includes a year of EFL instruction in Mexico and five years of high school English, Spanish, and Latin.
I also have earned a master's degree in education, writing my thesis on how to increase students' intrinsic motivation. That experience in the world of academia and research was so fulfilling that I now use my love of teaching and language to help other academics create their best possible work.
Writing tip: If you can say it in fewer words, you should!
I began tutoring others in English during my sophomore year of college. I found I loved helping people transform their writing into something they could be proud of, so I continued tutoring college students after I got my degree in English and began editing academic theses. I’ve now edited hundreds of theses and tutored countless students. Although I’ve expanded my editing services beyond academics, academic writing is still my favorite. I love learning about the varied topics each new thesis offers.
Quick Writing Tip: Don’t let a blank page daunt you. Just start writing without worrying about how every sentence sounds. It’s a lot easier to go back and revise once you've written down your general ideas than it is to write those perfect sentences the first time.
I'm a native New Yorker settled in Cape Town. I love our long summers, moody mountains and two oceans.
I’m a native of Alabama and I have just recently been naturalised as a citizen of the Netherlands. I’ve been here 6 years and I love this country, except for the weather. I have a degree in music, but I’ve spent that last 11 years teaching English as a foreign language in Japan, the Czech Republic and back in the States in New York City. I currently work for a private language school in The Hague and enjoy editing on the side.
Tip for writing in English: Sentences are shorter in English. Most experts would agree that clear writing should have an average sentence length of 15 to 20 words. This does not mean making every sentence the same length. Vary your writing by mixing short sentences with longer ones.
My educational background in Journalism has provided me with a broad base from which to approach many topics, including business, management, leadership, social sciences, humanities, and social media. My experience as an associate editor at a regional magazine catering to CEOs and other top-level decision makers has also enhanced my skill in developing compelling content. Moreover, my stint as a manuscript consultant has afforded me the opportunity to work on the studies, dissertations, and books of academics from renowned business schools in Southeast Asia such as the Asian Institute of Management and the Ateneo Graduate School of Business.
I have been working with writing challenged clients for several years. My objective has always been to uphold the accuracy and consistency in messaging and style across all job orders and ensure the flawlessness of written material. This objective is complemented by my desire to help clients improve their writing.
My tip for writing: Spend a considerable time on preparing an outline before working on a paper. A detailed outline helps identify a strong thesis and follow up with ideas and examples to build on that thesis. Referring to an outline during the writing process gives you a better sense of focus.
I've grown up all over the world, being born in Malaysia and living in India and China. Most of my life has been in Britain, however, and I have just finished a BA in History at the University of Oxford. Now living in the Netherlands, looking for work in the NGO sector, I enjoy acting, singing, and reading interesting theses!
I grew up in the Midwestern United States, graduating with a BA in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin. Don't let that social sciences degree fool you -- language is, and has always been, my true love. Despite never having left the 48 contiguous states (or, perhaps, as a result of this fact), I have an insatiable curiosity for the cultures of and experiences offered by various countries around the world. Editing and learning from the theses and dissertations of students who not only attend universities from all over the world, but have conducted research in some of the most amazing places, is something that I am extremely grateful to be able to do.
Writing tip: Read. Your brain is constantly forming new connections, through every little stimulus it's given. As you read, you are subconsciously reinforcing the "right" connections -- the ones that tell you how a word should be spelled, where a comma should actually go, or which "there" (they're?) to use in a particular context. It's a simple, yet effective way to improve your grammar and spelling in the long term (no memorization required!).
I grew up in Santa Cruz, California, and in my teenage years, I developed a passion for reading, which eventually led to my getting a BA in English literature and becoming an editor. In my opinion, editing is more than just applying the rules of grammar and punctuation: it’s an art form as well. The main goal is to develop clear, strong, graceful sentences, and I bring this concept to every editing assignment, whether a novel or academic paper.
When I’m not editing, I’m either working on my first novel or wakeboarding.
Writing tip: I’m a fan of the advice to write with brevity—always cut out any clutter. However, this doesn’t mean to write short, static sentences. Serious writers should study sentence structure and the ways in which different types of clauses and phrases can be combined to form powerful sentences. Yes, the elements in a sentence should comprise fewer words, but varying sentence structure and length can provide a unique grace and rhythm to writing assignments.
I came to proofreading in 2005, after recognising that I could be putting to good use my lifelong love of words, and competence with the English language – as well as to supplement my part-time work as a Complementary Therapist. I had studied English, Philosophy, and Classics at University, and had opted for Classics as my main degree. After ten years of proofreading a wide range of scripts – from marketing materials and websites, to guide books and novels – it was good to get immersed in academic texts again through Scribbr. I find the process of polishing a script, and making it ‘shine’, very satisfying, as well as getting to read about subjects I’d not otherwise encounter outside of this work. I like too the subtle art of correcting a text so that there is a seamless blending-in with the style and ‘feel’ of the client’s writing.
In terms of advice – well, there’s so much good advice on this site already… But I just want to say, in defence of grammar and punctuation, that it exists in order to help us communicate better with each other. It isn’t a form of punishment, or intended to make writing a trial (though it can seem that way sometimes!), but to give clarity and help us avoid confusion and misunderstanding. For that reason, I’m glad to be ‘doing my bit’ in upholding it, and helping ensure, in this ‘techy’ age, it’s still alive and well!
Hi! I love film and hope to live my life as if it is one (more Wenders than Leone though). I've taught English in Japan, was an adjunct professor in New York, and wrote blogs and books in London. I'd really like to help students with their theses and dissertations; I imagine I could learn a lot. :)
I live in South Africa and am proud to call it home.
I am an independent translator/editor for a prominent publisher in South Africa, which I balance with the academic demands that editing theses placed on me. As a translator, I understand the mental gymnastics needed by students who are not writing in their mother tongue.
My advice to students who have a hard time with English:
If you have accepted the challenge of studying in a language that is not your home language, you have my greatest respect and admiration, and I will gladly help you polish your writing to perfection.
I grew up in the U.S. in New England (Massachusetts), so English is my native language. I have my B.A. in Russian Language and Linguistics, have spent time in Russia, and am a fluent Russian speaker. My interest in copyediting comes from my love of both reading and problem solving. I like figuring out how to make writing more beautiful and meaning more clear.
I am also a musician. I have a Master of Music degree in Early Music Vocal Performance, and I specialize in Renaissance and Baroque repertoire. I also teach music classes for infants and toddlers, who come to class with a parent. We simply have fun with music for forty-five minutes. It is like language immersion, only it is music immersion. The two learning processes are remarkably similar, and I believe that with the proper exposure and support in the years of early childhood, every child can learn to enjoy and participate actively in making music. Music-making is for everyone, not just professionals.
Tip for Writing in English: In English, possessives are usually formed by adding an apostrophe and an "s" to the end of a word, as in "Einstein's theory". We very rarely use the construction (which is common in other languages) "the theory of Einstein" – it often sounds awkward in English, although it is not technically incorrect. There is an exception to adding the apostrophe and "s": if you are referring to a pluralized family name, such as "the Smiths", the possessive is formed by adding only the apostrophe, as in "I had dinner at the Smiths' house".
The art of writing used to be a bit of a mystery for me, like most things in life. It wasn't until I took my first English course in university that I realized anyone can get this stuff (yes, even me). No one could be more surprised than me that I ended up majoring in English Language when I had intended to be an engineer. Eventually I even found myself in the world of teaching, and I would go on to spend over six years in the Hong Kong school system where I developed a life-long passion for special needs education. My degree in English has come in handy over the years, and it certainly has given me the skills to handle all the translation and editing work I have been doing for the past eight years and counting.
Tip for writing! This tip applies to probably all areas in life: if you want to master a skill, learn from a master. When it comes to writing, learn how academics write, and then try it out. Keep reading articles in your field of study and try imitating how authors express their ideas. Which verbs do they use? How do the sentence patterns look like? How do the authors compose their topic sentences? Take note of these details at the sentence-level and apply them to your own writing.
I am a PhD student in Archaeology at a major Midwestern university with a decade of experience in editing, proofreading, and translation. I studied everything from English Literature to History and Gaelic Studies during my undergraduate degree, and I still get excited whenever I can learn about a new discipline. In other words, I look forward to reading your theses and papers!
My writing tip isn't about writing at all; instead, I want to encourage anyone hoping to become a strong writer to read. Reading high-quality writing, whether it's John Banville's amazing novels or Ta-Nehisi Coates' top-notch journalism, is the best way to learn how to compose a text with an easy flow, clear argument, and elegant style.
My academic background is in urban planning and public policy; I hold a master's degree in urban planning from Tufts University. I've recently taken a break from my field to spend my summers studying Swedish in Uppsala, Sweden. As a student of foreign language, I understand how frustrating it can be to struggle to find the right word or phrase in English, and I strive to help students clearly express their ideas.
Writing tip: Keep it simple! It's better to write short, correct sentences than complex sentences containing many errors.
A love for language + perfectionism = a good basic formula for creating an editor! Add in being a voracious reader and avid Googler of all things (yes, all) and voilà! Esley branches out into a part-time career as a freelance editor :-)
That's the simplified version. The long version is that I was not a native English speaker as a young child, but developed a love and aptitude for the English language when I changed over to English-medium schooling at the age of nine. Eventually, I did a bachelor's degree majoring in English and Psychology, two consecutive honour's degrees in Psychology and Practical Theology (that's a story for another day) and began a long and varied career in both corporate and academic settings.
For the past five years I have been a home-schooling parent and thus made the scary but very rewarding change from having a permanent position at a large university to doing contract-based and freelance work from home.
My specialities are language editing, transcription, and qualitative data analysis.
Advice for writers: Simplify, clarify, and Google! Always ask yourself if your writing is as simple and as clear as possible, and find a few reputable websites (for example, Scribbr, Grammarly, Purdue OWL) where you can get assistance with improving your writing in general and grammar in particular. If you aren't sure, Google it! If you are sure, Google it anyway just to make double sure!
One side-effect of studying geosciences is the amazing quantity of geo-jargon that constantly surrounds you. Navigating this kind of technical language always reminds me that not only do I love a good rock, but I truly enjoy figuring out how to describe specific and often complex processes in an understandable way.
This realisation led me to work in science publishing for a couple of years in London after completing my Geology MSci. I'm now studying Marine Sciences in the Netherlands, and continue to enjoy editing all kinds of texts for Scribbr on the side.
Tip for writing in English: do not fear simplicity - the best way to communicate a complex process to your reader is to break it down into concise steps, remembering how you first learned to understand it!
While originally from the UK, I have lived in Canada since I was 13 years old, and my education and employment are quite varied. After completing an MSc in Biology, I worked in medical research for many years. I then transitioned into a career working in offshore oil and gas exploration. While it was exciting getting to travel the world, I had to leave my wife and two young sons for extended periods. I therefore recently retired from that industry to spend more time at home. I am an avid reader, and I have a love for the English language, so I am happy to be working at Scribbr where I get to indulge these passions while helping others improve their academic writing.
My writing tip: Internalize the patterns of English, and you will be well on your way to developing as a good writer. A simple way to do this is to read as much as possible. Studying a piece of writing to determine what makes it successful is a useful exercise, but even reading passively will allow you to absorb many of the patterns that good writers use.
I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, but now reside in the Hague, the Netherlands, with my wife and two young boys. I have a PhD in Classics (Greek and Latin) from the University of Cape Town and spend most of my time working on arcane literary and philological topics which are best left undisclosed. My main area of linguistic interest is semiotics and semantics—uncovering the hidden meanings behind the words we use. I’m also a stickler for the Oxford comma.
Tips for academic writing. Economy. Try to condense your thoughts into tight sentences, where accuracy and simplicity combine.
Born in England and raised in and around Chicago, USA, I now live in Amsterdam. I studied history of art at the University of Edinburgh and the Universiteit van Amsterdam, specialising in 17th c. Dutch painting, especially Rembrandt's late work. I am also a painter myself.
In addition to English, I speak French, am working on my Dutch, and have also studied Spanish, Italian, and Bengali in the past. Having had to speak and write as a non-native myself, I understand the frustrations and small joys that come with expressing yourself in another language.
I love the sheer variety of texts that I get to read as an editor for SCRiBBR, as well as the satisfaction of helping students communicate their ideas more clearly.
My current favourite word is 'scombroid'. It means 'mackerel-like'.
Writing tips: In the short-term, one of the best things you can do is read your text out loud. This makes it much easier to spot redundancies, run-on sentences, awkward rhythm, and simple mistakes. Over the long term, read widely and find things that you love. This will not only teach you grammar and vocabulary, but will also help you feel more at home in the language.
I was born and raised in South Africa, but I’ve had the opportunity to travel and live in many countries: the USA, England, but mostly in South-East Asia and the Far East. After graduating with a degree in English and Philosophy, I qualified as a teacher, specialising in English and Business Studies. I’ve taught English as a first language for a long, long time, and EFL for more than 15 years, so I suppose you could say I’ve been ‘editing’ all my working life. At the moment, I mentor MSc and PhD students for whom English is a second or third language. I love seeing them reach the point where they don’t need me anymore, and our language sessions become coffee breaks!
The process of learning new languages myself, from Mandarin to isiXhosa, has made language teaching fascinating as I've shared the difficulties that my students experience. Helping them find ways to overcome those difficulties has been hugely rewarding.
A tip about writing: just DO it, and don’t expect to get it right the first time. Like any good craftsman, start with the rough outline, chop out the bits that don’t belong, add in bits that make it more satisfying, and then polish and refine it until you have something that you feel proud of. It takes time and practice, but every step is worth it. And ... don't leave it until the last minute!
I hold a BA degree in English Language and Culture and an MA degree in Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies. I have a passion for reading, collecting books, languages, and editing.
For me, being an editor is like being a detective. You hunt for mistakes to correct and clues to help uncover the writer’s intent; I love the thrill of finding that one mistake or clue. Another advantage is that editing satisfies my thirst for knowledge as I learn so much when plunging into a new project.
A writing tip: try to avoid using the same words and phrases throughout your text. It is nicer for the reader to have some variation, so do not be afraid to use synonyms. Yet, bear in mind that you cannot blindly trust a thesaurus.
“Intoxicated? The word did not express it by a mile. He was oiled, boiled, fried, plastered, whiffled, sozzled, and blotto.” – P.G. Wodehouse, Meet Mr. Mulliner
I'm a Minneapolis native who spent three years after university studying, living, and working abroad in both Russia and the Netherlands. During my time in the Netherlands, I attended Leiden University and received my Master of Arts in Russian and Eurasian studies, graduating Cum Laude. I managed to find time for my coursework in between bicycling around the city, eating fresh stroopwafels, and traveling to Belgium once in a while to sample beer and chocolate. My Master's thesis focused on Russian performance art, and portions of my research are set for publication in the peer-reviewed journal "Russian Literature" in 2017.
Before pursuing my MA, I worked for two years as an English language instructor in St. Petersburg. In order to teach EFL in the Russian Federation, I had to take TEFL training and received formal certification. I enjoyed teaching EFL classes and helping my students improve their English language skills, and I also spent some of this time as a student myself, taking Russian language lessons to help me chat more freely with the "Sankt Peterburzh'si." My EFL teaching experience gave me a great background in the grammatical mechanics of English, and my love of teaching led me to work at SCRiBBR, where I continue to help students polish their formal writing and improve their academic English.
My tip for students tackling academic writing is to read as much formal writing as they can in their discipline and take careful note of the pervading style. Different fields have different writing conventions, so no particular academic style is one-size-fits-all. I'd also advise students to be careful when using linking, comparing, and transitional words and phrases- sometimes direct translations can yield strange results, so this is always a good place to double check your English vocabulary knowledge!
I grew up in El Paso, Texas and now live and work in Durham, North Carolina in the U.S. I got a B.S. in psychology and English from Duke University and an MFA in creative writing and translation from Columbia University. I taught English in Turkey for one year after college, which was a fascinating experience and helped me understand the ins-and-outs of the English language from the perspective of ESL students. I have also worked in publishing for a few years and currently work as a freelance writer and editor. I spend the rest of my time reading, cooking, hiking, and playing with my little brown hound.
I grew up in a bilingual household, so I grew up fascinated by language, its similarities and differences in different languages, and the complexities of its construction. This inherent interest in language led me to a life of writing, editing, and translating.
Writing tip: Less is more. Often, trying to "sound smart," using unfamiliar synonyms, or trying to write complicated sentences to make writing sound formal can backfire. There's nothing wrong with sticking with simpler constructions—and they often make your writing smoother and your points clearer.
As a Brit living in Amsterdam, I've joined the Scribbr team to put my lifelong love of language to good use. With an MA in literature and a habit of being immersed in three books at any given time, I've developed a pretty good intuition for language. And as someone still struggling to make myself understood in Dutch, I can sympathise if you're wrestling with English (whose rules are by all accounts much more arcane) as a second language.
Writing tip: 'Discrete' and 'discreet' are in fact discrete words. If you don't know the difference, try to be discreet about it.
(A lot of English words have very close neighbours with distinct meanings. Aside from the aforementioned, 'complementary' means something quite different from 'complimentary'; 'affect' and 'effect' are importantly different in both noun and verb form; and you definitely don't want to mix up 'comma' and 'coma'! Mistakes like these can be hard to notice, since your spell-check likely won't pick up on them. It's worth making sure you've got the meanings of tricky words memorised to avoid errors.)
In college at the University of Georgia, I thought I would be a government reporter, and that's what I did for about three years after graduation. When a copy editor position came open, I decided to try it and have been an editor ever since. Most of my editing work has been with newspapers, but in the last decade I have also worked in education and government. I am new to academic editing, so this work has been challenging and rewarding.
My main goal as an editor is to clarify the writing. If I have difficulty understanding the wording and the sentences, there is a strong chance that other readers will also struggle. Another key point is to understand your audience. Academic writing is more formal and sophisticated than other styles of writing. Another tip is to be careful with your word selection. Use an online dictionary (Merriam-Webster for American English, Cambridge for British English) if you are unsure.
I live in a suburb of Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina in the southeastern United States. I grew up in a town about 45 miles southwest of Atlanta and have lived in the Raleigh-Durham area for about 25 years. My wife is an English as a Second Language teacher at Duke University.
I grew up in the United Kingdom, where I studied French and German at university. I then moved to Los Angeles, which didn’t do much for my French or German, but in 11 years there I did learn to speak and write a rather different kind of English. I’ve taught English to teenagers and businesspeople in Brazil, and I’ve helped professionals in India to improve their writing skills. I now live in London. I have worked as a freelance editor and proofreader since 2006, and I love helping people express themselves clearly and idiomatically. My professional focus has been mostly on health, development, and environmental issues, and I enjoy being exposed to a wider range of subjects in the editing I do with Scribbr.
My writing tip is to picture your ideal reader as someone who is intelligent, curious, but not necessarily informed about the topic you are writing about. Don’t omit information that may be obvious to you but would be essential to help a layperson follow your argument.
I have decades of editing experience in fields ranging from the arts and humanities to science, medicine, psychology, and marketing. Most recently, I edited the upcoming book “Cultures in Bioethics” by internationally renowned scholar Hans-Martin Sass, formerly of the Kennedy Institute for Ethics. As the founding editor of a literary book review that ran for 10 years, I received the Women’s National Book Association’s “Bookwoman of the Year” award (for an “enduring and unique contribution to the world of books and through books, to society”) at a U.S. Library of Congress ceremony. I have a Master's degree in English Literature from the University of Virginia.
I am from Cape Town, South Africa, and have a BA Hons from the University of Cape Town. Before becoming a freelance editor, I worked for the South African parliament as a translator and editor for more than 20 years. As a freelancer, I have gained experience in a wide range of language-related skills, and have experience of editing and proofreading manuscripts, theses, academic articles and educational material, and translating a wide variety of texts. I enjoy editing because I love the challenge of taking a text and making it the best it can be. Also, it’s great fun to broaden my general knowledge by reading about different subjects!
Writing Tip: If you have any doubt about what a word means, look it up in a dictionary. A thesaurus is your friend. Writing with a thesaurus next to you (or using an online thesaurus) will assist you to find the most appropriate word to express what you wish to say. Also, remember that you express yourself most clearly when you use simple sentence structures.
I grew up in rural Indiana, then attended school at Ball State and received a B.A. in English. After completing my degree, I moved to Kyrgyzstan with Peace Corps, where I worked as a volunteer English teacher while learning Kyrgyz and Russian. I also worked closely with native Kyrgyz teachers to improve their English ability and demonstrate new teaching methodologies and materials. Now that I'm back in the US, I'm happy to continue working with students through Scribbr!
Writing tip: If you aren't a native English speaker, don't let yourself get too frustrated! It can be easy to get hung up on the many small details of a sentence, but you should try to write what you mean first, then go back through and check your grammar. It will help make the writing process less painful, and you can pay better attention to your grammar afterward.
I’m an Australian-based freelance editor/proofreader. I came to editing after a journey through many other professions (including public relations) and business enterprises, and helping friends and relatives with their writing projects. I have a Bachelor of Arts with a triple major (Education, Sociology and German). My interests include hockey, swimming, reading, writing, music and drinking coffee.
Editing is ‘home’ for me: I love the written word and I love to learn. Editing provides me with many words and a wide range of learning experiences!
Writing English: ‘Keep it simple’ is always best. As a general rule, English sentences are not complex: don’t complicate them.
A native English speaker, I am an American born in Texas and raised in Indiana. I now live in New Mexico after spending a decade in Nebraska where I completed my B.A. in English and German. I enjoy working as an editor, as it allows me to immerse myself in the art of written expression while helping others improve their writing abilities. Quite fond of learning about other languages and cultures, I am also a voracious fiction reader, a lover of nature and the outdoors, and an avid student of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Writing tip: Perhaps less conventional, but take a break from writing and crack open a book! Reading forces your brain to process line after line of properly written text. This exposure helps imprint on your mind acceptable language use for whichever language you are trying to improve for writing. This experience with the more complex constructions of language likely to be found in published books can sharpen and expand your general written language knowledge, allowing you to better apply key principles and established conventions to your academic writing.
I grew up in New Hampshire, USA, and later shipped off to Baltimore where I studied sociology and philosophy. I later moved to Prague to work as an English teacher to young language learners, and I stayed a few years longer than planned! I’ve recently completed an M.A. in Culture Studies, and I’m thrilled further expand my educational horizons by reading and editing papers for Scribbr!
Tip: Everyone makes mistakes while writing, but each mistake is a chance to improve!
Hi, I’m Karsten! I love helping others improve their writing to communicate clearly and tell engaging stories. Originally from Manitoba, I grew up in Canada and currently live in Vancouver. My parents are both Dutch, so I have strong family ties to the Netherlands.
After studying business at university and a few years working at a market research firm, I shifted focus to build a rewarding career around my love for the written word. I’ve now been working as a professional writer and editor since 2005. Before moving to Vancouver, I lived in Singapore for 11 years – eight of which I spent running an editorial services firm with my brother.
Writing tip: For most people, starting a writing project with a blank screen or page is daunting. Whether you’re writing a 600-word article or 20,000-word thesis, I recommend tackling any writing assignment one chunk at a time. If you know there are two key points you want to communicate, start by writing a paragraph about each one. You can then gradually add more paragraphs and sections as they come to mind. Don’t worry about leaving gaps or trying to write everything sequentially – it’s much easier to move text around, fill in missing pieces and smooth out the transitions once you have the key points written down.
A Virginia native, I graduated with a BA in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Virginia. Shortly after graduation, I moved 5000 miles away from home to Cairo, Egypt and began working in communications. Having a communications position right out of college challenged me to become a better writer and editor, and now I'm excited to help others improve their own writing by working as an editor at SCRiBBR.
Writing Tip: Make a "mind map" before your start writing to help yourself figure out exactly what you want to say. This will help you structure your argument. It will also help you make your writing clear and concise.
I have been a professional proofreader and copy editor for 16 years, having graduated with a BA in English and an MA in creative writing. I work for commercial clients too, but have a preference for academic proofreading and find it a joy to read essays and theses on such a diverse range of subjects.
In my spare time I write plays, read widely for pleasure, and take French lessons. I am British and living in France.
My writing tip is: precision. Precision gives strength to a statement. It strengthens arguments by cutting out background noise and allowing the ideas to speak. Inflated phrasing, repetition, and redundancy can obscure the meaning of a text and are particularly problematic for high-level academic works. The more complex an idea, the greater the need for precise language. This view is central to my practice as an academic proofreader.
My name is Katherine, or Kat for short. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in History and English Literature from the University of McGill and a Master’s Degree in Religious Studies from the Université du Québec à Montréal. For the latter, I wrote my thesis in the interdisciplinary field of anthropozoology, focusing specifically on the evolution of the relationship between cats and humans. I currently live in Montreal, but I was born in Australia and have also lived in France, the USA, and Spain before ending up in Canada. I have always been fascinated with languages and culture, and I am a native speaker of both English and French and fluent in Spanish. I hope to continue working within the realm of academia, research, and teaching, and I plan on starting my PhD in the next couple of years to further my research on the relationship between cats and humans. Other interests of mine include a passion for travel, reading and writing, music, and films and television.
The only tip I can really offer students trying to write papers is to try to stay calm and figure out what works for them. Some people, for instance, are more productive at night. Some people need to work in short bursts, whereas others function better working for longer periods at a time. For some, company is a distraction; for others, it is helpful. There is no single right way to do things, and everyone is different.
I'm a Michigan native and currently live in Tennessee. I have a degree in Music Business and have always been passionate about writing and language. As a native English speaker working on French and Italian, I understand the difficulties and frustrations of not being able to express yourself as well as you'd like with a new language.
My favorite aspects of editing are that I get to help students strengthen their academic writing skills and become more confident writers.
One of my favorite Ernest Hemingway quotes comes from his memoirs, A Moveable Feast, when he struggles with writer's block. Hemingway looks out over the roofs of Paris and thinks, "Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now."
Although Hemingway's words were in reference to a different kind of writing, it's easy to get discouraged in the world of academic writing as well. Sometimes it helps to step back, take a deep breath, and know that the words will come to you.
Another tip I have for writing is to read, read, read! When you experience different types of vocabulary and varieties of sentence construction through reading, you will inevitably become a better writer.
I'm a PhD candidate in anthropology, currently living in Groningen. I have two masters' degrees (from two great universities!) and have taught academic writing to incoming first-year university students. I love seeing students' writing improve and it's a great feeling to know that I've helped them do that! Plus, I love reading all of the topics that Scribbr students are researching. There's so much to learn!
Writing tip (in English or otherwise): Try reading your paper aloud, after you think you're finished writing. It will help you focus on details that you've been staring at for too long, and help you find your "voice." If it doesn't sound like something you'd say, or you don't know what a word means yourself, you should probably change it!
I grew up in a small rural town in Western Pennsylvania and received a BA in sociology and international affairs from Gettysburg College. Now I’m living and working in Cairo, Egypt. Living here has given me a much greater appreciation of just how difficult it is for people to function professionally in a second language. I’m excited to work with Scribbr and to help students both improve their papers and learn how to become better writers. For me, editing is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. You have to rearrange and tweak the pieces until all of the words fit together logically and the writer’s meaning is clear. It’s also a great way to read and learn about new topics!
Writing tip: If you know that you struggle with a specific aspect of writing, make an effort to notice and correct it in your next academic paper. To give an example, when I was in secondary school, I had a tendency to repeatedly use the same words in my writing. To correct this, my teacher limited me to using a word (other than strictly necessary ones like articles and the verb “to be”) no more than three times in a single paragraph. After months of painstakingly editing my papers and researching appropriate synonyms, the work started to become much easier. My writing style also became much more dynamic. Scribbr feedback letters are a great place to learn about areas for improvement!
I currently live in the state of Kentucky after covering a good portion of the United States in previous legs of my journey. I earned my BA in Russian at the University of Tennessee and my PhD in Russian and Soviet literature at the University of Wisconsin. After initially pursuing an academic career, I decided to switch to translating and editing. I enjoy both because of the breadth of subject matter that I get to work with. While I am helping you improve your English, you are helping me learn about new subjects and ideas!
English writing tip: know and use the best reference resources. Use the most reputable dictionaries if possible: the Oxford English Dictionary for general reference and for British spelling and usage, and Webster for American English. Use corpora to check usages and collocations: the Corpus of Contemporary American English and the British National Corpus are available online for free and are incredibly useful. Learning how to use these will give you a valuable tool for years to come. Even as a native speaker and professional editor I find that I use these resources more, not less, as I get older.
Born in the United States but raised mainly in Canada, I have always been fascinated by the many different cultures found both in North America and around the world. Most interesting to me is how our cultures set us all apart but communication--no matter the language--brings us all together. Our various abilities and passions allow us to tell engaging and inspiring stories, and through those stories, we connect with one another. This fascination with culture and communication is what led me to complete a BA in Honours English, a certificate program on publishing, and a certification course on TESL. With the hope of helping others to refine their writing skills, I have been working as a freelance editor ever since.
I am thrilled to be a Scribbr editor because it means I will have the chance to connect with both editors and students from those many different cultures I mentioned and not only learn from them but also share my own North American culture, English language, editing abilities, and passion for reading (and learning from) all the things. After all, a well-written and informative thesis can and should be just as engaging and inspiring as a work of fiction, and the best advice I can offer to any writer, let alone academic writers, is to read voraciously and try to learn as much as you can from the writing. Fiction, non-fiction--anything and everything will do.
"If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that."
-- Stephen King
I'm a Neuro-Cognitive Psychology masters graduate from Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich with almost two years' experience working at Intel and Intel Labs Europe as a student intern and several years' experience working in communications, public relations, and website management. I recently submitted my masters thesis and so can empathise with every student I edit for!
I am Australian and have lived in Germany for almost three years. I love living here and particularly enjoy the German appreciation of a healthy work-life balance, good beer, and travel!
Tip: Non-native English speakers have trouble with many of the issues native speakers face. Be kind to yourself and learn from your mistakes. Ensure you make use of the SCRiBBR knowledgebase articles, they’re a goldmine of helpful tips.
I currently live in Seattle, although I have lived and worked all over the world, including in Greece, Australia, and Nepal. I have an MA in Public Administration and a BA in English and Political Science. For the past 14 years, I have worked as a freelance and newspaper editor, and as a writer, researcher, and English teacher. My students include both native and non-native English speakers, and over the years I have taught everything from business English to Shakespeare.
My favorite part of teaching English is helping others to improve their writing. I pay very close attention to detail, and I assure you that I treat your papers and theses with as much care as if they were my own. Helping you to improve your written English and to succeed academically is extremely rewarding for me. The other amazing part of working for SCRiBBR is that I learn something new from every paper I edit.
When I am not working, you will most likely find me dangling off a cliff somewhere in the mountains. I am an avid rock climber and mountaineer, and I still occasionally work as a guide and outdoor educator.
Tip for Writing in English: Although he was not likely thinking about theses at the time, Albert Einstein had great advice for writers everywhere: “Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Keep your sentences as short and concise as you can, without sacrificing meaning. In many cases, two shorter sentences are much better than one longer sentence.
I live in Ohio with two daughters and three cats. I've been teaching English for ten years. I have degrees in literature and creative writing. Essentially, I love reading and writing and talking about reading and writing.
Writing Tip: Avoid passive voice, forms of the verb to be. Passive voice contributes to wordiness and dull writing. Whenever possible, use active, lively verbs.
I am a Hungarian–American, born and raised in the USA and currently living in Budapest. Before moving to Hungary, I worked in Holland as a freelance English instructor and editor, helping on countless theses and copy-editing two books. My work and personal academic experiences have provided me with an intensive exposure to academic writing and have fueled my obsessions with grammar and etymology!
In Budapest, I am working as an ESL teacher and freelance editor while attending a university program in Hungarian language. I love languages and have studied Latin, Italian, and Mandarin Chinese while earning a BA in international studies from Kenyon College (USA). After graduating, I moved to Shanghai where I earned an ESL degree and taught English full time.
I understand the common diffulties and problems faced when trying to master English, and I love helping my students not only correct, but also understand their mistakes so that they can be avoided in the future.
Writing tip: It is easy to get lost in specific terminology when describing a complex topic, and sentences often become lengthy, confusing, and equally as complex! I always encourage my students to try to be as clear as possible and try to read their own sentences from the perspective of someone who is not familiar with the topic. Clarity and consistency can go a long way in making a complex concept easy to understand.
Having grown up and been educated in the US, I’m a native English speaker, but I’ve been living in the Netherlands for the past 20 years. I’ve come to editing through the perhaps unexpected route of … math.
I am one of those strange beings who have always loved math, so it’s no surprise that I have a BS degree in Mathematics (from Haverford College, a liberal arts college just outside Philadelphia). After college, I went to work for a civil engineer, and then later at a series of health insurance companies. There I used my analytical skills to figure out how to model and measure all kinds of phenomena. And I discovered that what I really enjoyed was explaining complicated subjects in as easy a manner as possible to managers, directors and others who don’t necessarily understand (or want to understand) all the details.
After working in New Hampshire (where I grew up), Philadelphia and New York City, I moved with my Dutch husband to the Netherlands. I edited his chemistry whitepapers for years while raising children and managing other projects in our busy household. In 2013 I looked for flexible work that would take advantage of my educational, work and life experiences, and I started translating all sorts of texts from Dutch to English. I found that I really enjoy this work, and that this traditional translation is an extension of the ‘translation’ of difficult analytical concepts to ‘lay people’ in my previous line of work. Soon after, I discovered SCRiBBR, and I have found that my analytical approach and attention to detail can be very beneficial to thesis writers ;-). Try not to take my comments too personally – it’s just the analyst in me! The ultimate goal is to have your thesis make sense and be easily understandable to the people who read it.
Tip: Use the SCRiBBR knowledge base articles, particularly the one about the structure and organization of a thesis. Create a working Table of Contents and use it like a ‘coatrack’ to ‘hang’ your sections on. This will help keep your thoughts organized and, at the same time, help you keep track of the work yet to be completed.
My background is in the humanities. I hold a PhD in Medieval Art History, an MA in Contemporary Art Theory and Criticism, and BAs in Art History and French Language, Literature and Culture. I'm originally from Colorado, but have moved all over the US, and since 2013 I have been living and working in Paris.
Having just finished my own dissertation, I am intimately familiar with the challenges of academic writing, and am looking forward to passing along many of the tips and tricks that I learned along the way to you in my work as a SCRiBBR editor. I am also very well acquainted with the difficulties of writing in a foreign language. I am currently working to receive French equivalency for my American PhD - a process which includes re-writing or translating a good portion of my dissertation into French!
Additionally, I have experience as an ESL teacher, having spent a year working as an English teaching assistant in a high school outside of Grenoble, France. As an instructor at a large American university during my doctoral work, I also have many years of experience working with non-native English speakers in a university classroom. I'm happy to bring all of these years of experience to my work as an academic editor.
Writing tip: When you're feeling stuck, find a quiet place and read what you've written out loud! This can help you catch instances of awkward syntax, missing words, and repeated words or phrases. It also helps to give you a different "vision" of your text because it forces you to slow down and read each word carefully and consider your text in a new way.
I am a New Jersey native living in The Netherlands since August 2015. After receiving a BA in Anthropology and Religious Studies at a small liberal arts college in the United States, I moved to Utrecht to pursue a Master's degree in Gender Studies, which I have recently completed. My attraction to editing for SCRiBBR originates foremost from a desire to make use of my well-honed academic writing skills; however, since I am no longer a student for the first time in eighteen years, I am also quite excited by the range of subjects and disciplines I get to learn about from reading the work of SCRiBBR students! I suppose I must also admit that any opportunity to correct Dutch students' English makes me feel a bit better about the many corrections I get on my Dutch on a daily basis. ;)
Writing tip: A thesaurus can be a great tool for producing dynamic writing that is more lively with minimal repetition. For example, instead of analyzing something over and over, you can be inspecting, evaluating, and investigating it! However, be wary of a thesaurus's more "colorful" offerings, or you may end up sounding too old-fashioned (getting down to brass tacks), slangy (talking game), or even unexpectedly violent (beating a dead horse) - none of which will benefit your academic writing!
Born in Sweden, raised and educated in English and having lived in Austria for many years, I am actually trilingual. English has, however, always been my first language, and the language closest to my heart. It was thus quite natural to pursue a career as a German>English translator. Meanwhile I have 30+ years of working experience, which includes consecutive interpretation, journalism, language teaching, and working as an international civil servant for various UN organisations. Now I and my husband Malcolm, who is an English writer and poet, very much enjoy working for SCRiBBR. We live in beautiful Wales.
As to tips for writing in English, there is no need to improve upon Orwell:
“If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.”
And as a contemporary addition: stay away from online translations tools!
I come from the Philippines and am currently living in the Netherlands. I hold an honors degree in BA Journalism, a certificate in Professional Educational and an MA in Educational Psychology. I have been an English teacher for almost 15 years. I have taught various classes in speaking, reading, writing, literature, and research to high school students. I have authored two textbooks in English used by private schools in Manila.
Aside from attending my Dutch classes, I spend my time exploring every bookshelf at the public library and helping a number of students prepare for the Cambridge English Test.
Writing tip: KEEP IT SIMPLE. As Kurt Vonnegut puts it, “Remember that two great masters of language, William Shakespeare and James Joyce, wrote sentences which were almost childlike when their subjects were most profound. ‘To be or not to be?’ asks Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The longest word is three letters long.”
I was born in the south of England but have spent most of my adult life in North Wales, where as a mature student I gained an English degree at Bangor University. By practice and instinct I am a poet, and I ran for some years my own literary magazine before meeting my wife, Liz (who is also a SCRiBBR editor), and coming to live with her in Austria a few years ago. Literary work of one sort or another has always been the only kind of work I could ever take seriously, and a volume of my poetry was published in 2000 in England. I have also recently completed a metrical novel on the life of Shakespeare. I am delighted to be able to help students to produce a fluent and articulate thesis, and sometimes I am asked to improve on a student’s English style. Whole libraries have been written on the subject of style, but one of the most memorable definitions is still that of Jonathan Swift, who simply defined style as proper words in proper places.
As a child, I loved the library. My passions included cats, my cousins, and re-reading Harry Potter ad nauseam. While I (eventually) graduated from that phase of my literary development, I continue to have a passion for writing that conveys a message with clarity and conviction. After completing an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Latin American studies at UC Berkeley, I taught English as a foreign language for two years. I have lived in four countries: the United States, Colombia, Morocco, and Spain. Currently, I am completing a master's degree in Secondary Education, with a focus in History, Geography, and Art History. I am in the final month of my master's thesis, so I very much empathize with your thesis-writing woes.
A quick tried-and-tested writing tip, given to me by my mother: When you are revising your writing, go back and circle the prepositions. Try to eliminate prepositions wherever they are not necessary. The more deeply you understand your topic and the more passionately you care about it, the fewer prepositions you will see in your writing. If you don't believe me (or her!), take a look at something you wrote when you were really fired up: an angry email, a passionate speech, or a text to a friend who did something really nice for you. You'll find it's full of vivid verbs and very few prepositions.
My mom often tells the story of my first day of kindergarten: apparently I came home from school furious that I hadn't learned how to read yet. I quickly became a voracious reader, devouring every available bit of text--cereal boxes, shampoo bottles, and junk mail were my daily fodder. I remember clearly the moment in third grade when diagramming sentences suddenly made sense to me. I've had a love affair with words ever since.
I still love to read--and I still read cereal boxes.
I enjoy editing because I delight in the process of enabling ideas to shine brightly. I've been privileged to edit in different fields throughout my career; I began by working for several real estate magazines, and then I was employed in the nonprofit sector, where I edited newsletters, donor support letters, books, and conference materials. After my sons were born, I volunteered for any editing I could get my hands on, which usually consisted of scads of newsletters and the occasional newspaper article. Editing academic work is especially interesting because of the wide array of topics I encounter.
My tip: serial commas, also known as Oxford commas, are your friend. They eliminate confusion and lend a rhythmic cadence to your writing.
A quick summary of me: I grew up in Atlanta and got a bachelor’s degree in violin at Emory University, then moved to Los Angeles to get a PhD in historical musicology at the University of Southern California. I am living in Paris now and writing my dissertation about celebrity musicians’ self-promotion in early-Romantic-period Paris. I still play my violin almost every day and continue to find it both cathartic and challenging.
I’ve been editing since 1999, when I and my fellow 12-year-old friends started a monthly subscription newsletter called Kids’ Connection; I’m proud to say that it ran for several years and was profitable! But my professional editing experience began in 2006 when an editorial firm hired me, and it continued through freelancing after I moved for graduate school in 2010. Editing is a fantastic job because I get paid to do two of my favorite things: to learn and to be picky. The latter does not carry over well into other parts of life, so it's nice to have an outlet!
Though I enjoy editing, I find writing extremely difficult. It’s a bad case of writer’s block. Maybe you can relate. One thing has helped me, though, and it's dancing. I turn on some good music, usually without words, and sway and bob a little in my seat while typing away. Something about freeing the body seems also to free the mind and help me get my thoughts out. Try it. Even if it doesn’t help you get over your writer’s block, you’ll at least have more fun while experiencing it!
I’m Megan, a self-proclaimed bibliophile, geek, and globetrotter. Originally from Pennsylvania, USA, I studied Philosophy and Community, Environment, and Development at The Pennsylvania State University; while there, I studied abroad in Perth, Australia and Dublin, Ireland. I also spent eight years learning French, which prompted me to leave Pennsylvania to teach English as a foreign language in Bordeaux, France. Currently, I'm a Master's student in International Development Studies in the Netherlands and am avidly learning Dutch.
Brevity is the key to writing well. Being as clear and concise as possible will help your readers understand your text better than long, complex sentences.
I live in South Africa and I specialise in editing academic papers for second-language English speakers. I am a published academic with a doctorate of philosophy in theology - so I have a keen sense of logical consistency and will point out any logical difficulties with your text. I also have more than 20 years experience in the newspaper industry, where I "subbed" and rewrote stories (mostly for second-language English writers), and also mentored reporters. The newspaper environment is a fantastic training ground for learning all the little tricks of the trade, such as common mistakes to look out for and little things you can do to improve the writing. You cannot imagine all the details involved in editing copy!
Tip for students: if English is not your first language and you are studying in English, read, read, read and read some more English books! I mean good, classic novels - not just articles on the internet, which are often full of mistakes. This will give you a good feel for the language. Begin by getting an English copy of a novel you have already read in Dutch. Then you will have a sense of the content. Read a chapter a night, taking special note of the use of prepositions. These are non-native speakers' greatest difficulty with English. Keep doing this until you are thinking in English.
I am a fan of English style manuals. I have spent the last five years researching them as part of my PhD project at Leiden University. They have a history of their own and so do the rules that we apply when writing academic texts. You know, the rules that have been passed down for generations like "Avoid passive constructions,” "Use the Oxford comma,” and “Don’t let 'whom' die out.”
I have learnt that applying rules and sometimes intentionally flouting them is all part of the process. The most important thing to remember when you start writing is that you are telling a story. So use words effectively to engage the mind of the reader.
I am a language acquisition and language assessment expert, and I have been conducting research in these areas for over 15 years. I veered into testing and assessment after obtaining my PhD in theoretical linguistics from the University of Cambridge, UK, where I also worked for a few years before moving to the US. I currently live in San Diego, where I investigate language development of students learning the so-called less commonly taught languages. Although I love research and find it very rewarding, editing provides a healthy dose of variety to my daily work: I enjoy reading students’ work because I learn so much from it. Also, I don’t get much opportunity to teach these days, so helping students with their writing helps fill this void.
When I am not at work, I spend time with my family, play percussion with a few local bands, and climb rocks.
A writing tip: Remember, thesis writing is not a race to the highest page count; don’t waste time padding. Also, keep in mind that some readers will read your work from start to finish, some will read only the introductory and concluding chapters, some might scan or search for what they need, and some might only flip through it: a well-structured thesis will satisfy them all!
I’m a freelance editor and part-time writer with a master’s degree in finance and a bachelor’s in philosophy. I previously worked at a global investment firm, where I edited financial reports and other business documents. I enjoy editing and like the idea of helping writers express their thoughts more clearly.
Writing tip: Everything you write, whether a piece of fiction or an academic dissertation, is a story. Let the introduction hook your reader, your plot line be clear, and the conclusion be satisfying.
I’ve been a voracious reader and a committed writer since the time I learned to string sentences together. I have two post-graduate degrees, one in Business Communication and one in Creative Brand Communication. I’ve worn the informal title of Pro Wordsmith, both professionally and as a favour to fellow writer friends and clients, throughout my very colourful career. I write opinion pieces for various reputable publications and online sites, including my own website. I’m a self-published author. And I’m going to keep writing – more books, more opinion pieces, more words of encouragement – because it makes me feel alive and expressed and of service.
All of this is to say that I have a deep and on-going love affair with language. I’m delighted that I get to continue the affair here at Scribbr, and I'm especially thankful that you're going to benefit from it.
Writing tip: Keep it simple. Keep it clear. Keep to your topic. All of this helps to make your academic writing elegant and easy to understand.
I'm an American-Chilean with studies in Veterinary Medicine and Commercial Engineering. I'm fully bilingual (Spanish and English) and, in addition to editing, I translate documents for the mining, legal and financial sectors.
Both editing and translating have taught me so much! I learn from every paper I work on, which keeps it always interesting, never dull.
Tip for writing: As with every other aspect of life, keeping it clean, smooth and uncluttered will result in elegance and style.
I grew up in the United States and currently live on the Pacific Coast with my husband and our two dogs. I have a PhD in history, and I specialize in U.S. environmental history and policy. (I also specialize in dog walking.) I have loved reading and writing since I was a young girl, and if I ever have free time, you can rest assured I am reading a book...or two! I have taught history in college for several years, and I am currently revising my dissertation into a manuscript suitable for publishing with an academic press.
Academic Writing Tip: Don't use 50 words when 20 will suffice! I frequently see students write long, complicated sentences that do little besides confuse their readers. A shorter sentence with a few interesting word choices will generally convey your point more clearly than a longer sentence with a bunch of unnecessary adverbs and adjectives.
Not sure if your sentence is too long? Read it out loud! If you find yourself struggling to get to the end, chances are your readers will have trouble as well.
I’m from Dublin but currently live in Galway on the west coast of Ireland. I hold a PhD in English, an MA in Modernity, Literature and Culture, a BA in English and Philosophy, and a Diploma in Fine Art. In addition to working as an editor, I am a researcher of contemporary literature and theory. My current research is based on close stylistic analysis of literary texts, so I am especially alert to linguistic nuance and to the myriad ways in which meaning is generated not only by what we have to express but also through the very means of expression. I enjoy tinkering with sentences to find out how they work, and I take pleasure and pride in honing my craft as an editor.
Writing tip: learn to edit your own writing. Understand that getting your ideas onto paper and producing polished prose cannot be done all in one step. Allow yourself to write badly, and then revise, revise, revise. If your expectations for your first draft are too high, you will inevitably feel disheartened, because the passage from head to page rarely runs smooth. Writing is thinking, and thinking, especially when it entails engaging deeply with new ideas, is often messy and unpredictable. Embrace disorder in your early drafts, but respect your ideas—and your reader—enough to strive for elegance in the editing phase.
I grew up in the Canadian prairie provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan and continue to make Saskatchewan my home. I have a BA in Humanities with a focus in English literature, and I have also studied English literature at the graduate level. During my years of formal education, I worked as a writing centre tutor and faculty assistant and found that I really enjoy helping students learn to communicate more clearly through their writing, which is what excites me about working for Scribbr.
My best writing tip is that the better you want to write, the more you need to read! All kinds of reading are beneficial, but it's especially helpful to read academic texts in your field to get a feel for the style of language your discipline requires. Also, read your own writing! Proofreading carefully and even reading your work aloud will greatly improve your writing.
I was born and raised in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, and currently divide my time between Botswana and South Africa. I have been an avid reader from an early age, and in my twenties discovered that editing could be a way of making a living. I enjoy the challenge of assisting writers to formulate the best way to express their work.
In the 1990s, I studied literature at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, and more recently have been pursuing an MA in linguistics, combining corpus linguistics and discourse analysis to examine media representations of industrial strikes in South Africa.
After completing my undergraduate degree, I worked as a researcher at a literature museum and thereafter moved to commercial publishing as a managing editor for, consecutively, a number of media start-ups in Cape Town. More recently, I worked as an associate editor at the Dictionary Unit for South African English (DSAE). Since then leaving the DSAE, I have maintained an interest in English lexicography, especially that of the local variety of the language. In addition, over the years, I have been engaged as a freelance researcher, writer and editor for a variety of newspapers, magazines and publishing houses.
Writing tip: Keep it simple. Don’t get involved in constructing overly complex sentences that are difficult to decipher. Read the sentence aloud to yourself. If you struggle to get through it, your reader will too. Rather break one long sentence into two, or even three, simpler ones. Try to avoid jargon and ‘big words’ – these too will stand in the way of your reader understanding what you mean.
I'm an English-speaking South African currently pursuing a PhD in Linguistics. My educational background includes a Bachelor in Linguistics, English Literature and Philosophy; and an Honours and two Masters degrees in Linguistics.
In the past I have tutored first-year university English, and I have extensive experience in editing academic texts and theses.
A tip for writing in English (or any language that is not your mother tongue): First and foremost, try to express yourself clearly. Using complex sentences or 'fancy-sounding' words that you've found in a thesaurus often makes your argument harder to follow.
I’m Sabrina, and I love words—how they originated, how they’re put together, how we use them to express ourselves. That’s what got me into editing, and I love what I do. I’m also a lifelong learner. After high school, I did a BA in economics at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, and then after working and parenting, I went back to school to get a BA in classics and an MA in history at the University of Windsor. I started freelance editing about ten years ago, and I have worked on both nonfiction and fiction. While doing my MA, I had the opportunity to edit student papers, and it was incredibly rewarding to help my students find the right words and improve their writing. I also love to travel, and I worked on an archaeological dig in Greece as part of my classics degree.
My best tip to improve your writing is to always read your work out loud. This helps you find run-on sentences, fragments, and subject/verb disagreements that your eye might skip over when you’ve read your paper on the page or screen so many times.
I grew up in the city of Atlanta, GA, but after finishing up my studies at the University of Georgia (where I earned an AB in History 'magna cum laude'), I moved to Hyderabad, India, where I currently reside. I am not sure exactly why this is so, but fairly early on as a young school boy, I developed a deep appreciation for the art of writing and began seeking to realize a strangely romantic aspiration of becoming a capable wordsmith, a skillful wielder of the power of words. It seems I have not grown out of this, as I continue to love writing.
I am excited to be working with Scribbr, and I look forward to using whatever skill I have acquired over the years in assisting you in the writing process, a process which, I know, can be agonizing. But, I'll do my best to help you get through it with the documents that fall into my hands :)
Writing Tip: I think one of the most fundamental ways you can improve your writing is simply by reading. Great writers are avid readers, pure and simple.
There is just so much great writing out there in the English language. By reading a ton of great writing, fiction, non-fiction, literature, history, whatever interests you, you'll mysteriously absorb into your bones a sense of what great English prose is and of how to create it - which is a noble thing.
I was born and raised in the US, but I’ve spent periods of my life living in China, France, and Spain. I earned my bachelor’s degree in the unlikely trio of mathematics, philosophy, and French (I entered university planning to become an engineer, but gradually fell in love with the study of language and literature). Since then, I’ve worked as an editor and English teacher in the US and abroad. I currently live in Spain, where I am pursuing a master’s degree in literary studies with the ultimate goal of completing a PhD and working in academia.
I’m happy to work for Scribbr, as it allows me to help other writers improve their craft while reading interesting work from scholars in various fields. I no longer harbor plans of becoming an engineer, but I like to think my mathematics training has helped me as an editor, since academic writing, like math, involves making logical arguments in language that is clear and precise in order to help one's readers understand complex issues.
Writing tip: Like any form of language, the principal purpose of writing is communication. Always keep your readers in mind; try to convey your ideas and arguments as simply and clearly as possible to ensure their comprehension.
I grew up in Oregon and have been interested in language and writing from a young age. In high school, I had the opportunity to study Latin, Italian, and French, which helped me to understand and appreciate English grammar. I am currently pursuing a double BA in history and international studies in New York City, where I also study Slavic languages. My love for both grammar and teaching has only increased, and in addition to editing for Scribbr, I tutor Russian and work as an editorial assistant in a literary journal.
During my time at university and shortly after, I have tried to satiate my obsession with travel, which has given me the amazing opportunity to meet people from all over the world and be a constant language-learner through my adventures. In the past five years, I have traveled to approximately 15 countries. When I wasn't traveling, I was writing papers, reading papers, writing for internships and jobs, and translating and editing texts. Most recently, I settled down in Cairo for a year after graduating with my B.A. in Cognitive Sciences and Policy Studies from Rice University. In Cairo, I tutored adults in English for placement exams and gained a more nuanced perspective of the English-learning process. As a student of foreign languages and linguistics, editing and revising papers with SCRiBBR is my way of paying it forward to all my gracious language partners throughout my travels.
My tip for academic writing is to have a strong idea for not only your paper, but also each paragraph. Then, execute your idea with clear and concise sentences whenever possible! As a visual person, I find it helps me to create a "map" or outline and draw out where I want my points to go and how they all connect in the end.
I grew up in rural Ontario and spent a few years after high school making music at cafés and bars, before leaving for my university education. At Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, I completed a combined honours degree, first class, in Philosophy and English, returning the next year to complete an MA in English. My undergraduate work focused on philosophy of language and feminist philosophy, while my master’s thesis focused on ecology and contemporary Canadian poetry.
While at the school my writing interests were broadened well beyond the scope of my own disciplines. As I completed my undergrad, I spent five years as a university writing tutor, seeing students at all levels of education (from entrance level to PhD) and treating writing in most academic styles: scientific, creative, business, journalistic, argumentative, and so forth. About half of the students who came to the centre were accomplished writers in their native tongues. These students worked with our tutors to learn the nuances of English writing specifically, and they gave me plenty of practice working with writers who come to English from other languages. During these five years I also graded for the Engineering, Commerce, English, and Philosophy departments, and gained some teaching experience along the way. I work in writing because I find it gratifying to read interesting papers on subjects or arguments I’ve not been exposed to.
Tip for writing in English: English speakers find that writing tends to be clearest when the main verb in a sentence is close to the beginning of that sentence, whereas it is more common in other languages to push the main verb further into a sentence. Try to be attentive to the placement of that main verb, and try to place it early. This advice, of course, does not apply to all sentences, but works well as a general writing guideline.
I am a Canadian expat living in the Netherlands. I have an MA in Media Studies with a specialization in Publishing Studies. Before becoming a freelance editor, I worked for a prominent research institute in the Netherlands; I am therefore very familiar with the conventions of academic writing.
Since then, I have gained a lot of experience editing texts for non-native English speakers and, as someone learning Dutch myself, I understand the difficulties that come with trying to express yourself in a foreign language. I love to help students improve not only the clarity of their present text, but also their writing skills for any future academic endeavours.
I'm a writer and researchers as well as an editor. My degrees are a BA in English, BA Honours in psychology, and MA in research psychology (all awarded with distinction). I'm data literate and often edit highly technical work. I enjoy editing for Scribbr as I can use my language skills to help students in many countries, and I find the papers very interesting.
Tip for academic writers: Keep your sentences short! Include only one main idea in each sentence, and remember that a good sentence length is 20 to 25 words.
I was born in Dundee and raised in Vryheid, which are both in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa. I'm a third-born of a family of nine, who now lives in Johannesburg with his twin daughters. Since primary school, I've been a good reader and writer. I am an MSc in Physical Sciences graduate of the University of the Western Cape. Most of the books I read are in business studies, philosophy and psychology, science and technology, and spirituality. Besides editing, I have worked as a research scientist for Eskom (South Africa's power-generating company).
I have been a language editor for more than a decade now. I started out editing for my fellow postgraduate students and colleagues. My clients range from master's students to book authors to university professors. I don't limit myself in terms of the areas of study I edit because enjoy variety and learning new things every day.
Tips for academic writing: Clarity and simplicity in writing help us relay a clear message to the reader. Avoid using mainly jargon: Remember, your writing is not only for people in your field of study. Always try to have sentences that are not more than three lines long.
I am originally from Wales but now live in the south of France with my wife and dog. After studying Theology (including a year in Israel) at university I headed off to teach English as a foreign language in South Korea. It was there that I met my wife. I returned to Britain and to university in Cardiff where I completed both a masters and PhD. in archaeology, graduating with the latter in 2010. Another couple of years in South Korea followed before we moved to France in 2012.
I adore reading, am an avid football (soccer) fan, and I am also trying to write a novel.
Writing Tip: Keep it simple! When writing an essay, dissertation, or thesis it is important to use formal, academic language, but this does not mean you should try too hard to impress with unnecessarily long or difficult words. The subject being written about is often specialized and complex enough, do not make it more so. Using simple, straightforward language to explain your ideas and opinions will make it much easier for the reader to understand.
I come from Ohio in the United States, and I currently live in Amsterdam. My educational backgrounds are in politics, literature, creative writing, cultural studies, and the history of science. I earned my Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam in 2015, where I also now teach in rhetoric, literature, literary theory, and cultural analysis. My own academic research and writing investigates the ways neuroscience weaves its way into popular and literary fiction. I am continuously struck curious by the ability for a sequence of words, commas, and metaphors to make characters fleshy, neurological, and humorously neurotic.
One moment that unites us all as writers—through sheer terror—is opening up a fresh Word document and encountering that icy, white blankness. Even if you’re the most well-funded chemist, cloistered in your laboratory for twelve hours a day, at some point you’re going to need to articulate your brilliant research to others. Ditto for students who shooed their final essays away for weeks until the night before. My advice? Free-write. If you’re under a deadline and your head feels like it’s in a pressure cooker, this is actually the optimal time to close your computer, shut down your mobile phone, grab a sheet of paper, and just write. Let it out: random phrases, thoughts, fragments of lyrics, etc. Don’t edit, don’t stop, don’t look back. Just keep that pen touching the paper. Do this non-stop for fifteen minutes. This is an exercise I’ve done in the mornings for years now, and it’s also a workout my students perennially find valuable. It’s like flushing the gunk out of your mind. Ahh, that’s better. Now, go forth and fill that Word document with what you really wanted to express!
I am a native English speaker and an experienced editor and writer. I was a UK academic for many years working with undergraduate, MA and PhD students on their essays and theses. I have a BA and MPhil from Oxford University in English Language and Literature. I have an MA in Creative Writing and a PhD in Contemporary Curating and Critical Writing. I enjoy working with language and texts, just as a sculptor enjoys working with stone or a painter with oils and watercolours. I write fiction and non-fiction. My books – early medieval novels, future fiction, art history – are published by Impress Books, Phaidon, Routledge, Palgrave and others. My novels have won and been short-listed for a number of prizes including Impress Prize, Rome Film Festival Book Initiative, Santander Research Award, Literature Wales Writers Bursary and Authors Foundation Award. I also write book reviews for Times Higher Education and Historical Novels Review and a regular column about writers living abroad for The Displaced Nation. Currently I am teaching art history to American Study Abroad students in France and running creative writing workshops. I was formerly senior lecturer in art history and theory at Oxford Brookes University and Dartington College of Arts and guest professor at Bauhaus University, Weimar and Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam. I divide my time between the UK and France. When I’m not working I’m playing with my grandson, reading books, chatting and walking with family and friends. I am an avid swimmer and own a waterproof Kindle.
Tips for writing: Notice what your bad habits and repeat errors are in writing and make sure you read through your text to edit them out. For example, I use “that” too often. We all have little tics that are a kind of throat-clearing in writing. Keep an eye on incorrect apostrophes especially in its/it’s. If you are struggling with your sentences or the flow or coherence of your writing, read it aloud to yourself. Think about who your readers are, what they know and don’t know, to help you decide what you need to tell them, how to keep their interest. The best way to learn how to write is to read constantly. Read anything that interests you: English newspapers, magazines, blogs, novels and textbooks.
I have 15+ years of experience editing a variety of documents, including theses, dissertations, and juried academic articles. She has a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Communications, both from Texas Tech University. I've spent much of my professional career helping students in one way or another, and I'm very pleased to help you with your writing. Thanks for letting me contribute a bit to your academic career.
Hi there! I'm Yen, a native English and French speaker with a longstanding love of reading, writing, and nitpicking pretty much everything I come into contact with. In my undergraduate studies, I studied a Bachelor of Arts (majoring in Creative Writing and History) and a Bachelor of Information Technology; in my postgraduate studies, I tried to combine the two into a Masters of Digital Humanities. I love reading and editing all kinds of works, but I have a soft spot for helping technical folk communicate their brilliant ideas and research clearly.
My top tip for writing in English is, ironically, to proofread your work! Even the best writers make mistakes, and taking a 24-hour break from your writing before coming back and proofreading it will help you spot some of the errors you've (inevitably) made. It's even better if you can do this in a different environment than the one you did your writing in - studies have shown that changing your location helps you think differently and approach your work with fresh eyes.