Report Writing

by Clare Forrest

Step seven – edit and proof

I hate this stage of writing more than any other, but unless I’m writing something which is going to be professionally edited – like this topic (hurrah) – then it has to be done.

Why do I hate it?

Because by the time I’ve reached this stage I just want to get the report off my desk and on to its readers.

Why does it have to be done?

Because if I don’t do it, there are bound to be some awful errors, which my readers will spot. If this happens, then the credibility of my report will be destroyed.

So the bullet has to be bitten – first the edit, then the proof.

What is editing?

Copy editors and proofreaders are usually different people. Key editing tasks are:

  • Correcting faulty spelling, grammar, and punctuation
  • Checking for ambiguous or unclear meaning
  • Correcting incorrect usage (such as can for may)
  • Checking specific cross references (for example, ‘as table 14 shows...’)
  • Ensuring consistency in spelling, hyphenation, numerals, fonts and capitalisation
  • Checking for proper sequencing (such as alphabetical order) in lists
  • Changing text and headings to achieve a consistent structure
  • Ensuring that previews and summaries reflect content
  • Enforcing consistent style and tone in a multi-author report
  • Changing passive voice to active voice, where appropriate
  • Eliminating wordiness, clichés and inappropriate jargon
  • Moving sentences to improve readability
  • Assigning new headings to achieve a logical structure and/or improve readability.

The goal is to ensure the report reads well, is consistent and is structured correctly.

What is proofreading?

A proofreader checks the final draft for conformity by checking margins, word spacing and the like.

A proofreader often combines proofreading with some copy-editing tasks. These can include correcting errors, such as misspellings, typos, misnumbering, mislabelling, subject-verb disagreement, word usage (such as the use of accept for except), and identifying incorrect or outdated cross references. The proofreader also checks for incorrect word breaks – like this one: ‘proof reader’.

Awful errors

Just for fun!

  1. The tragedy of King Leer
  2. He arranged the guest list into two discreet groups: meat-eaters and vegetarians.
  3. I know I left my book hear.
  4. He often looses his car keys
Editing activity

Look carefully at these two paragraphs. What errors do you spot? What would you change? When you’re happy you’ve identified them all, click here for the answer.

Report Writting is a vital skull. Through the AbC (accuracy, brevity; clarity) of excellent writing we open-up our ideas to our redder and ensure that we are always understood

  • Accuracy – because mistake happens.
  • Brevity – because speed matters in business
  • Clarity – to understood first time, every time.

To influence others on paper, we must have valuable ideas and then express these clearly. Writing well, writing confidently, writting correctly is how we do this. Our writing remains for all to see as a permanent record of our thoughts. For personal and proffesional credence we must get it right.