Difference Between Editing and Revising
Editing and revising are two ways of looking over something – usually writing – in order to improve it and fix mistakes.
‘Edit’ is both a noun and a verb. An edit is a change made to a document or another form of media. To edit is to change a document, usually for the better.
The word comes from the word ‘editor’, which means a person, or sometimes a program, who makes those changes. An editor can have a few different roles, and the word ‘edit’ can apply to all of those. For example, in a publishing house, an editor is typically the one who screens books and decides which ones will be accepted and which ones will be rejected. After that, if it is accepted, then an editor will review the book and make any necessary changes, and also attempt to convince the author to accept those changes. All of that is considered the job of editing. In a newspaper, on the other hand, an editor is a person who helps design the layout of the newspaper, decide which articles will be kept in, and also check those articles for mistakes. That is also editing.
With that in mind, ‘edit’ can also mean the act of working as an editor for a company. That might be referred to as editing for the company in question, or editing the document. Still, the most common use is to change something, most often a document or a video.
‘Revision’ comes from a similar etymology as the word ‘review’, and the words are related. To revise a document is to reread it to see if any changes need to be made. In England, Australia, and New Zealand, ‘revising’ is also commonly used in the sense of ‘revising for exams’, or going over what they’ve previously learned so that they can remember it more easily during the exam.
The word ‘edit’ was created from the word ‘editor’, which in turn comes from the Latin word ‘editus’, which was a form of the word ‘edo’, which meant to bring something into being, including to publish something.
‘Revise’, on the other hand, comes from the prefix re-, which means ‘again’, and the root word ‘visere’, which meant to examine something on a regular basis.
Judging by these etymologies and meanings, the word ‘edit’ refers to making changes, while the word ‘revise’ means to look over a document to see if those changes need to be made. However, that is not quite the case. While the words are more associated with those meanings, their meanings have bled together. It’s a little difficult to edit something without looking at it first, so the process of looking something over can also be considered editing, especially if it is being done by a professional. Likewise, there’s not much point in revising a document if no improvements are made if they’re seen, so changing the document is also part of revising.
The word ‘editing’ can also be seen as more professional than ‘revising’, since editing has long been associated with publishing, and editing is a career while revising is not. It is also used more often with novels, other stories, and videos. Since revising is more often used with students, especially in Europe and Oceania, it is also more used in schools or in other informal circumstances.
To summarize, ‘editing’ is changing something, usually a document or video. ‘Revising’ is the act of looking over something in order to check it. Because one implies the other, it’s common to use editing to refer to looking something over and to use revising to talk about making changes. Editing is also the name of a profession, so it’s more likely to see it used to talk about professional editing or revising.
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