Ability to See the Whole, as well as the Parts
Editors analyze text from the holistic point of view, as well as look at each part closely. This ability gives them a birds-eye view as well as a grasshopper view. They can tell you several priceless things about your text, such as:
- If the order of topics, or the structure of your text makes sense to a reader.
- If the text is being repetitive, and where you can reduce that repetition.
- If the titles and sub-titles are doing justice to the text.
- When and where you can add examples.
- Where you can reduce the length of text, and where you need to get into more detail.
- Where you need to add some context.
- When a certain expression or thought is inappropriate, not required, or is not adding anything significant to the text.
- If, what you, as a writer, are trying to convey is being communicated clearly.
Knowledge of the Quirks of Grammar
English grammar is a fascinating and confusing set of rules, with an equally large set of exceptions. Editors can point out things that the rest of us don't really see such as when to use the active voice and when to use the passive voice. Besides this, the many subtle nuances to language that editors may suggest, can streamline reading.
Ability to Check for Consistency
Editors make sure that the entire text is consistent. Lack of consistency can be one of the biggest hiccups in any written matter. Editors can easily point out inconsistent spellings such as say, color vs. colour.
All in all, an editor improves on a writer's work. They tidy it up, maybe rearrange parts of it, and polish it so that it can shine.
The author is co-founder and Director, Content Design at Steta