So the degree-culminating paper is done, after months—maybe years!—of work.  Now you’re ready to kick back and relax a bit before submitting it to your prof—after a thorough proofreading, of course.

But wait—should you just rely on your word processing program’s spell/grammar check, or do you need to spring for a professional academic editor?  Technology’s come a long way, after all, and those programs are pretty advanced these days: They claim to find all your errors…

Of course, for questions about how to conform to style guides, there are some super online resources out there: owl.english.purdue and mla , for example, or docstyles for a site that covers practically every academic style guide you might be likely to use. It’s easy enough to use these resources to find the answer to any style questions you might have, like how to cite that unusual source or how to format a long quote. And there are some programs out there that claim to format to various style guide specifications, too, if you’re really brave. (Note that none are recommended; read on for an explanation.)

So with all these technological wonders, why is it necessary to find a professional editor?

As advanced as the various word processing programs are, they’re not human and they miss things the human eye will catch. Further, there are times they suggest changes that are in fact not grammatically correct: for example, MS Word is awful about suggesting semi-colons where a comma is correct. Simply put, the human eye is best for the final edit of your document, and a professional editor is the best person for that job.

Why? Professional editors are those annoying people who find grammar and spelling mistakes in pretty much anything they set eyes on—without even trying. They just can’t help themselves: the errors leap off the page at them, as if they’re flashing neon lights.

Further, they’re the folks who, after reading a paragraph or two, will see ways to rearrange sentences and maybe even entire paragraphs to make your work flow more smoothly, consistently and logically. Can a computer-based program do that? Not well, at any rate!

Professional editors also know the various style manuals used in academia, and can make sure your paper meets whatever style manual your professor prefers. Word processing programs that claim to do this have, in my experience, a long way to go before they can claim anything near perfection. Turn the paper over to a professional academic editor, who can correct all your citations and references to the required style.

After spending hours, maybe weeks or months, laboring over your written creation, don’t jeopardize your work by relying on less-than-reliable editing. Hire a professional editor through a firm such as FirstEditing (firstediting) and know that your work has been given the attention to detail that it deserves.

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