Why Cheap Proofreading Can Be Very Expensive

Proofreading is essential for ensuring that your documents and publications are presented at an acceptable standard for your readers. Organisations seeking cheap proofreading often don’t get the results they were looking for. The following case study highlights why cheap proofreading usually isn’t the best choice.

A local council learns about the true cost of cheap proofreading

In 2014, a local council hired us to proofread their annual report. The task was to mark up a PDF of the annual report and note errors, inconsistencies and style issues. Specifically, they needed the report to match the style conventions found in the Australian Style manual for authors, editors and printers. It took us around one week to proofread the annual report. This included hundreds of mark-ups in the PDF noting the mistakes and changes needed to conform to the style manual. After receiving the document, the local council was very happy with our proofreading work.

In 2015, the same council asked us to provide a quote for proofreading their annual report. A few weeks later they notified us that our quote was substantially higher than several others submitted. Given the cost savings, they decided to go with the cheap proofreading option.

In 2016, the local council got in touch with us again and wanted us to quote on proofreading their annual report. They admitted that the cheap proofreading service had not worked out for them. In fact, the person who did the proofreading had no understanding of the Australian style manual. We learned that the cheap proofreader had charged around 75 per cent less than we had charged in 2014. Unfortunately, the cheap proofreader did not know what they were doing and the local council was not satisfied with the work.

After trying the cheap proofreading service, the local council was willing to pay us substantially more because they needed professional proofreading. The lesson from this experience is that you get what you pay for. Proofreading is a skill that takes a large amount of study and practice to develop.  Unfortunately, anyone can claim to be a proofreader without having the necessary skills and knowledge. For example, we sometimes get calls from people wanting to work for us as proofreaders.  Our first question for them is ‘Do you know and use the Australian style manual?’ Amazingly, the response of many has been ‘What’s a style manual?’

This moral of the story is cheap proofreading might cost you more in the long run.

Michael Gladkoff

Editing Government Documents and Publications in Australia

Editing government documents and publications might seem like a challenge. But there are ways to simplify the task of editing government documents. Whether you are working in a government department or submitting a proposal to a government body, following the accepted standards for editing government documents and publications will help you maintain clarity and consistency.

For government departments in Australia, the Style manual for authors, editors and printers is the key publication that provides guidance for anyone who needs to prepare material for publication. It covers the textual, structural and design aspects of creating and editing government documents and publications.

The main sections of the 550-page Style manual include:

  • Part 1 – Planning the communication
  • Part 2 – Writing and editing
  • Part 3 – Designing and illustrating
  • Part 4 – Legal and compliance aspects of publishing
  • Part 5 – Producing and evaluating the product.

For editing government documents and publications, Part 2 is the most relevant. It covers the basics for clear and consistent communication. The sections of this part include:

  • Structuring documents for readers
  • Effective and inclusive language
  • Grammar
  • Spelling and word punctuation
  • Sentence punctuation
  • Capital letters
  • Textual contrast
  • Shortened forms
  • Numbers and measurement
  • Methods of citation
  • The components of a publication
  • Editing and proofreading
  • Indexing.

You can purchase the Style manual for authors, editors and printers at most major bookstores or through online booksellers. Additional information on the publication can be found at www.australia.gov.au/about-government/publications/style-manual.

Editing government documents at the state or local level

Most state and local governments base their writing and editing styles on the Style manual for authors, editors and printers, but include additions and exceptions. For example, the Victoria Department of Human Services writing style guide states: “‘DHS’ is not acceptable in departmental documents. Spell out ‘Department of Human Services’ in full, or use ‘the department’”.

The Department of Human Services writing_style_guide is a good example of what’s typically included in a government or corporate style manual.

If you are writing or editing government documents or publications for a state or local department, ask if they have a house style guide or if they use the Style manual for authors, editors and printers as their default guide.


Title Case, Sentence Case or All Capitals — Which Should You Use?

First, if you are not familiar with these terms:

Title case, or title style, is when you capitalise each word, except for conjunctions, prepositions and articles. For example, the article title above is in title case.

Sentence case, or sentence style, is when you capitalise only the first word. For example, Should you use title case or sentence case for headings on your website and in your documents?

All capitals, abbreviated as ALL CAPS, is when you capitalise all letters.

Using sentence case, title case or all capitals is a style choice, but be sure to use the style consistently throughout each document and publication.

The current style in Australia is to use minimal capitalisation, so sentence case seems to be more common in professionally written business and corporate documents. In addition, research on readability has shown that lower case letters are easier to read. The Australian Style manual notes:

The readability of lower case letters is greater than that of capitals. This is because the ascenders and descenders in the lower-case letterforms give a distinctive physical shape to each word. We read by recognising word shapes, which is way we sometimes misread words set in fonts that have idiosyncratic letterforms (specifically, non-conventional character widths).

As for all capitals, research conducted by Miles Tinkler and published in Legibility of Print found that using all capitals slowed reading speeds:

All-capital print greatly retards speed of reading in comparison with lower-case type. Also, most readers judge all capitals to be less legible. Faster reading of the lower-case print is due to the characteristic word forms furnished by this type. This permits reading by word units, while all capitals tend to be read letter by letter. Furthermore, since all-capital printing takes at least one-third more space than lower case, more fixation pauses are required for reading the same amount of material. The use of all capitals should be dispensed with in every printing situation.[1]

Some experts suggest that it’s okay to use all capitals for short amount of text, such as street signs and short headlines. It’s interesting to note that the Australian Style manual uses sentence case for chapter headings, all capitals for main headings within chapters and sentence case for sub-headings.  For example:

Chapter 14: Editing and proofreading



Categories of tasks

Comprehensive editing

The editing brief and timetable


Scope of tasks

Author collaboration and review

I was recently working with a graphic designer on updating the copy and design of a company brochure. The older version used title case for the subheadings and the designer noted that this was “old school”. So for modern-looking brochures, websites and publications, sentence case seems to be the most popular.

If you want to compromise and use both styles, a sound approach is to use title case for main headings and sentence case for subheadings.  If you believe the studies conducted on the readability of all capitals, you will want to avoid this style altogether.

Michael Gladkoff

  1. Tinker, Miles A. (1963). Legibility of Print. Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press. p. 65.

Annual Report Editing – Tips for Editing Annual Reports

An annual report is an important publication for communicating with shareholders, potential investors and the media. From experience editing and proofreading annual reports, we have come up with a list of points to keep in mind that will improve the content and effectiveness of your annual report.

Image of the term "annual report".

Annual Report Editing Tip#1: Eliminate robotic writing.

By robotic writing we mean writing that’s impersonal, unnatural and too formal. For example, avoid referring to the company by constantly repeating the company name in the text. Instead use pronouns such as “we”, “us” and “our” in the annual report to create a more natural and conversational tone.

Here’s how one multinational company applied this in their annual report.

People Excellence: We’ve established a high-performance culture throughout our company. Based on clear performance goals, this culture enables our people to realize their full potential. To increase our global talent pool, we’re fostering talented young people worldwide. We’ve created new career tracks for experts and redesigned our management development program.

Notice how they also use contractions in this example (such as we’re and we’ve) which are effective for creating a friendly and conversational style. Forget your high school English teachers’ instructions to avoid using contractions in all writing. They are appropriate in many types of business writing, such as brochures, websites and other marketing formats.

For more information on avoiding robotic copywriting, and how to avoid it, read What Makes Copywriting Robotic?

Annual Report Editing Tip #2: Edit your annual report’s headings to keep them consistent.

This means choosing heading styles and applying them consistently. For example, if you use sentence case (capitalising the first word only) for a heading level, you will want to make this is consistent throughout the annual report. If the copy was originally written in Word and the heading styles were set up correctly, the fonts and point sizes should be consistent. However, consistency in capitalisation is often overlooked. This will also affect the table of contents, so you will also want to check that the headings are consistent in the table of contents as well. The following example shows part of a table of contents with inconsistent capitalisation:

Performance Highlights
Chief Executive Officer’s report
Corporate governance
Director’s Report

Annual Report Editing Tip #3: Check your annual report for correct capitalisation in the text.

One of the most common errors we find when editing any type of business publication is incorrect capitalisation. As a general rule, the first word of a sentence, proper nouns, titles and acronyms should be capitalised. For example:

“Acme Systems Pty Ltd specialises in the design and implementation of IT Security Systems” should be “Acme Systems Pty Ltd specialises in the design and implementation of IT security systems” (security systems is not a proper noun, so it should not be capitalised).

“Due to competition for talent within the Oil and Gas Sector, it’s imperative that our human capital solution maintains a strong people focus” should be “Due to competition for talent within the oil and gas sector, it’s imperative that your human capital solution maintains a strong people focus” (oil and gas sector is not a proper noun, so it should not be capitalised).

For a quick guide on capitalisation, go to  http://www.monash.edu/about/editorialstyle/editing/capitalisation.

Annual Report Editing Tip #4: Edit your annual report to keep words and terminology consistent.

You can express words and phrases several ways. So when different people are writing parts of an annual report, they often use different spellings and styles. For example, one writer might write I.T. while another will write IT. Another example is how dates are expressed. One writer could express the date as June 30, 2015, while another could express it as 30 June 2015. Creating a style sheet and distributing it to the writers beforehand can help you avoid inconsistencies. Refer to the style sheet when editing and proofreading your annual report, and make changes to create consistency throughout the document.

Annual Report Editing Tip #5: Explain acronyms for readers who do not understand them.

If your annual report is going to a wide audience, it is likely that not all readers will understand the acronyms you use. So it’s a good idea to define acronyms in your annual report. When first introducing the term, spell it out and put the acronym in parentheses after the word. For example, “Eastern Industries uses several key performance indicators (KPIs) to track our progress over time.”

Annual Report Editing Tip #6: Keep your language as simple as possible and avoid long sentences.

Even if your annual report will be read by people with advanced reading skills, you will still want to make it as easy to read as possible. Avoiding long sentences and using the simplest words possible to convey your message are two steps for creating clear writing. If you find long sentences in your annual report, you can edit these into two sentences. For more details on simplifying your business writing, read Editing Your Business Writing to Make it More Readable.

By applying these simple tips when editing and proofreading your annual report, you will make it easier to read and more accessible to a larger audience.

Editing Hyphens, En Dashes and Em Dashes for Clearer and More Effective Business Writing

Based on our experience editing and proofreading many documents and publications, we have noticed that hyphens and dashes are commonly used incorrectly and inconsistently. In order to clear up the confusion, we’ll look at the hyphens and the different types of dashes to see how they should be used for more consistent and effective business writing.

–  The hyphen is found at the upper right of the keyboard between 0 and the equals sign.

‒  The en dash can be found by selecting Insert then Symbol in Word. You will find a selection of characters and symbols. The term En Dash will appear when you place the cursor over it.

—  The em dash is twice as long as the en dash and can be found by selecting Insert then Symbol.

Hyphens connect words that function together. In many cases, these are compound adjectives. For example, part-time work, eight-hour-day, 40-year-old man, well-known film, face-to-face meeting and 15-storey building. 

Hyphens are also used in other types of words to clarify meaning and prevent misreading. For example, pre-existing, re-enter, de-emphasise, de-ice, re-cover (cover again) and re-signed (signed again).

En dashes (also called en rules) are most often used to show spans of numbers, distance and time. For example, July–September quarter, 2014–2015 financial year, Sydney–Brisbane flight, pages 150–155.

Em dashes (also called em rules) are used to show a parenthetical statement, to introduce an explanation and to show a sudden change. For example:

Failing to plan for your taxation commitments—such as GST, BAS and income tax—can play havoc with your cash flow.

As the business owner, my goal is to develop long-term customers—and the only way to do this is to make sure you are completely satisfied with my service.

We are pleased to offer you a free professional photography session with a 14cm x 18cm desk-top portrait—valued at $99—for you to keep.

My work will show that people are fundamentally the same—sharing the same emotions and the same fundamental needs—and are bigger than their problems.

Here are a few examples of the types of errors and inconsistencies we find when editing business documents and publications:

July – September quarter (should be July–September quarter)

Part time work (should be part-time work)

Failing to plan for your taxation commitments – such as GST, BAS and income tax – can play havoc with your cash flow. (Should be em dashes as shown in the example above).

This summary of hyphens and dashes has only covered the basics of how they should be used correctly. For a more detailed explanation see the Style manual for authors, editors and printers (for Australian readers) and The Chicago Manual of Style or AP Style Guide (for US readers).

Editing Australian Writing for Audiences in the United States

Australian flag signifying Australian writing.If you  plan to sell your products and services in the United States, editing your writing to adapt to the local language is essential. Bear in mind that Australian writing is not always clear to readers in the United States.

For example, a few years ago we adapted a brochure for an Australian software company that sells its products in the US.  In the original version being distributed in the United States, the company was explaining how the software automatically completed a process fortnightly. This must have left many of their US prospects scratching their heads because Americans don’t use the word fortnight. Most don’t know what it means and use the terms every two weeks and biweekly to describe that length of time. Some Americans might have been exposed to the word fortnight through reading British literature or other sources, but the vast majority will have to look it up to understand what it means.

In addition, the way you spell your words can have an influence on the effectiveness of your message. I recently came across a website of an Australian motivational speaker and author living in the US. She speaks about parenting and writes about being a mum on her website. Although there is nothing wrong with the spelling the word mum, Americans spell it mom. US readers will understand the meaning but will be distracted by the unfamiliar spelling. For maximum effectiveness it would be better to use the US spelling in your writing for readers in the United States. Likewise, US businesses will get better results by editing their copy when selling to Australian consumers and businesses.

Here are a few of many terms and spellings that vary between US and Australian writing.

Australian term US equivalent
autumn fall
barrack for a team root for a team
biscuits cookies
bonnet (of a car) hood
boot (or a car) trunk
bushwalking hiking
CBD (central business district) downtown
cyclone hurricane
footpath sidewalk
hire a car rent a car
holiday vacation
jug pitcher
jumper sweater
lollies candy
maths math
mum mom
nappy diaper
petrol gas
pissed drunk
post code zip code
primary school elementary (or grammar) school
shopping centre shopping mall
shopping trolley shopping cart
spring onion (or shallots) scallion
tap faucet
thongs flip flops
torch flashlight
wardrobe closet


But there’s much more than spelling and word usage that differentiates Australian writing from US writing. Many aspects of style tend to differ between the two countries. A few of these include bulleted lists, acronyms, initials of names, dates and times, and dashes and hyphens. If you are not sure what the accepted style is in the United States, you can refer to the Chicago Manual of Style or The Associated Press (AP) Stylebook.

In some cases, you will need to decide where your main market is and have your writing edited accordingly. For example, we regularly edit books for Australian authors who sell their publications through Amazon. Given the size of the US market, compared with the UK and Commonwealth nations, these authors ask us to edit their work to create US versions. In a typical book, we make hundreds of changes when editing to adapt the spelling, words and style for US readers.

If you are delivering a speech or presentation to US audiences, you will want to get feedback from a native speaker or long-term resident to see if they understand everything you are saying.  Although not in a professional setting, I remember my young son shocking American relatives when he said, “I’m going to wash my hands in the toilet”. When speaking in public, you don’t want to get a similar reaction from your audience by saying something that they don’t understand or misinterpret.

So whether you’re writing a brochure, book or presentation for audiences in the United States, it pays to have your work edited and reviewed by a professional editor who understands the differences between words, expressions and style in Australia and the United States.

Michael Gladkoff

Proofreading for Consistency

Proofreading — There’s More Than Meets the Eye

Proofreading involves much more than checking and correcting grammar, spelling and punctuation. Creating consistency within one document or several is an important part of proofreading. Let’s look at how documents might lack consistency and what we can do overcome this issue.

Proofreading for consistency. Shows bright yellow text on a road "Be Consistent".Proofreading spelling and word usage

Correcting for consistency when proofreading can be especially important when several writers have contributed to a document.  For example, one writer might write programme while another might write program. Both are acceptable in Australia, but you need to choose which spelling you will use throughout your documents and publications. Once you have decided, you can use the Find and Replace function in Word to make the term consistent throughout the document.

Acronyms are another thing that should be checked for consistency when proofreading. Do you use full stops in your acronyms or not (for example, I.T. or IT)? Most current style guides call for no punctuation in acronyms but you will want to choose your preferred style.

Proofreading dates and numbers

One writer might express the date as October 25, 2012 while another might write 25 October 2012. To create consistency across an organisation’s publications it’s necessary to communicate the approved style.

Another example is expressing spans of time (such as a financial year). Would you write 2011-2012 Annual Report or 2011-12 Annual Report?  Either option would be correct, but one needs to be selected and kept consistent throughout the publication.

Proofreading bulleted lists

If your documents and publications have bulleted lists, they need to be in a consistent style. If you don’t know the accepted style conventions for bulleted lists in Australia, read our post on Editing and Proofreading Bulleted Lists.

Proofreading headings

In a larger document or publication, headings help readers navigate and find what they need. When proofreading, ensure that heading styles are consistent. If most main headings are in 16pt Arial while some are in 14pt New Times Roman, it can confuse your readers when they are trying to find information in your documents.  One way to avoid this is to set up heading styles in a Word template.  But you will still want to check the headings when proofreading because the template styles might not have been followed.

These are just a few points to consider when proofreading for consistency.  Creating a style guide will help you achieve consistency in your documents and publications when proofreading, especially when different writers are contributing to them.

If you are not familiar with style guides and what they include, here’s an example of a writing_style_guide from a government department. An excellent resource for proofreading is the Style manual for authors, editors and printers, which is the official guide for government and many corporations in Australia.

Document Editing – Tips for More Effective Business Documents

You can spend hours on your business writing, but this investment of time will generate greater results if you take the next step: editing your business documents.

Document editing requires more than finding and correcting errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation.

The following tips will help you go beyond the basics when document editing.

1. Check for consistency when document editing.  This is especially important when the document has been written by several people. For example:

  • Do you write I.T. (information technology) or IT?
  • How should you express dates? Should it be June 1st 2012 or 1 June 2012?
  • Which variant do you use when words have two accepted spellings? For example, should your write programme or program?

Part of the document editing process should be to make spelling and style consistent throughout. It will help if your company has a style guide that includes preferred spellings and styles.

2. Simplify complicated language when document editing. Break long sentences down into several if possible. Use the simple words you can without changing the meaning. For example, change at the present time to now. For ideas on how write simply and clearly see previous editing blog posts in this section.

3. Check the headings when document editing to ensure it will be easy for readers to ‘navigate’. Make sure the headings styles are distinguishable and make sense. The main headings and sub-headings should be consistent throughout the document. Use different sizes and different fonts to differentiate the heading levels.

4.  Think about the structure when document editing. Do the ideas flow logically? If content is not in the right place, you might need to move it. This can include rearranging paragraphs, sections or entire chapters.

5. Do a final check of the basics — including spelling, grammar and punctuation — when document editing. Technically, this stage is called proofreading.

6. If collaborating with others when document editing, use the Track Changes function in Word. By doing this, writers working with you on the document will be able to see the changes made.

Follow these document editing steps to ensure that your business documents are as effective as possible.

Book Editing Brilliance

Book editing is the ‘magic touch’ that makes all your hard work completing a book, report or other publication worthwhile. Why? Because eagle-eyed editing weaves your content together adding:

  • credibility
  • flow
  • cohesion
  • polish
  • clarity
  • flair.

These are all ‘must haves’ for a successful publication — whether it’s academic, fiction or a business publication. Readers are won over by captivating and compelling writing. Any work simply cannot boast these qualities without meticulous editing.

Readers will accept or reject your publication if it’s lacking the critical elements that make it readable. Book editing gets your manuscript ready for publication with:

  • tight logical structure and organisation
  • powerful character and/or argument development
  • sound plot and exposition
  • clear concise sentence structure
  • natural believable dialogue
  • savvy word choice.

In essence, book editing optimises your manuscript’s chance of being read and seriously considered by publishers and readers. So in this article we give you a helpful how-to guide to ensure editing does your manuscript justice.

Take a break when book editing

Sound counterproductive? It certainly isn’t. You’re close to your work — but effective book editing demands a fresh and critical pair of eyes.  After spending time on your publication, you need some time to come back and do your rigorous review.

Flip the script when book editing

Swap your creative writing mindset for serious critical reappraisal. Every word, sentence and paragraph must receive a thorough unsentimental going over. Sure your words may sound brilliant – even illuminating — but the cardinal rule of book editing is: if they are surplus to requirements they must go. This can be challenging for someone as close as you are to your work. But unemotional book editing is the way to go. Only then can you achieve concise and polished content.

Consistency is crucial when book editing

Writing a book or manuscript can take months — even years. Such long time periods make it easy for you to lose track of certain key elements. In fiction this could be plot elements and character traits; in academic writing it could be minor argument details. If you contradict yourself within your content or let gaps slip through the net, your readers will notice.

So prepare for editing as you go by compiling reference sheets. Simple bullet points on key aspects of character, plot, argument or other integral factors in your manuscript. Update these as your book develops. You will find reference sheets an invaluable resource at editing stage, helping you achieve consistency throughout.

Nail your narrative arc with book editing

Every writer knows the basic rule that a book needs a clear beginning, middle and end. Yet these are not always achieved in a final manuscript. How can you uphold the narrative arc in your piece of work? Simply keep its three steps at the forefront of your mind while writing. When it comes to book editing, make sure your three structural phases stand out clearly. It is always valuable to get someone unfamiliar with your book to double check this for you. After all, you know what is coming next. But your readers won’t.

Become a pedantic proofreader when book editing

Formatting is pivotal to effective book or manuscript editing.  Your format provides a visual framework for your content. So you need to ensure titles, subtitles, fonts and more are working hard at the right task. Besides formatting, you must proofread every section of your content. Let’s step through the different aspects of editing your book’s formatting and content:

  • Cover page: Do not overlook this opening window to your manuscript. You must check your title is spelled correctly and laid out according to relevant publishing guidelines.
  • Spine: Check the content on the spine and book jacket. Also check that all spine content is accurately centred with no ‘orphans’ scattering out onto your covers.
  • Fonts and margins: Ensure you have selected a clear and easily readable font. While you are at it, ensure your margins are consistent and tidy.
  • Headers and footers: Rigorously check headers and footers for spelling errors when editing. Make a mistake in one header or footer, and your bungle is likely to be repeated on every page!
  • Chapter headings, table of contents and index must all be checked for spelling and grammatical accuracy. Be sure too that your table of contents and index match your chapter headings.
  • Check your pictures, tables and descriptions when editing: These are important to your story, business case or academic findings. So be sure they earn their keep by being correctly placed and accurately spelled — and bearing the right data.

Get a fresh, trained set of eyes for book editing

Another option is to hire a professional editor to review your manuscript. This investment can determine whether your book achieves its purpose or gets published if you are submitting it to publishers.



Editing Business Writing to Get Rid of Clutter

Editing business writing can make a big difference in communication effectively, with you clients, prospects, staff and others.

You might have seen the television programs showing extremely cluttered homes that are a result of hoarding. In a similar way, business writing can be full of clutter. Clichés, jargon, complicated words and phrases, and unnecessary words will muddle your business writing and make it difficult to read.

editing business writing

Follow these steps when editing your business writing to get rid of clutter, make it more readable and get the results you want.

1.    Remove clichés and overused terms when editing business writing.

Examples include:
·    At the end of the day
·    Back to the drawing board
·    Core values
·    The fact of the matter is
·    For all intents and purposes
·    On the back burner
·    Seriously consider
·    Up in the air
·    World’s best practice

2.    Replace complicated words with simple ones when possible when editing business writing.

Instead of: Write:
accomplish do
ascertain find out
dissmeminate send out
employ use
endeavour try
expedite hasten, speed up
facilitate make easier, help
facility building, warehouse
locality place
optimum best, greatest
utilise use
numerous many
substantiate prove


3. Remove unnecessary words when editing business writing.

Instead of: Write:
train up train
Monday through to Friday Monday through Friday
in three weeks’ time in three weeks
in close proximity to close to
up until until

4.    Replace phrases with single words when editing business writing.

Instead of: Write:
in regard to about
by means of by
in the event that if
until such time as until
at the same time as while
subsequent to after
it would appear that apparently
adequate number of enough
due to the fact that because

5.    Turn nouns into verbs when editing business writing.

‘The requirement of the department is that employees work seven and a half hours a day’

can be reduced to:

‘The department requires employees to work seven and a half hours a day.’

(From 16 words to 13 words.)
‘You will work on the establishment of goals for the hiring, training and promotion of designated group employees’

can be reduced to:

‘You will establish goals for hiring, training and promoting designated group employees.’

(From 18 words to 12 words.)

This also applies to what are called nominalised phrases.

Nominalised phrase Succinct revision
gave a report reported
made a decision decided
offered a suggestion suggested
resulted in an increase increased
issued an announcement announced
led to the destruction of destroyed

For more information on nominalisation go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nominalization

6.    Replace passive sentences with active ones when editing business writing.

Computer hardware is manufactured and distributed by us. (Passive voice)

We manufacture and distribute computer hardware. (Active voice)

The proposal was completed and submitted by the project manager. (Passive voice)

The project manager completed and submitted the proposal.  (Active voice)

Applying these editing tips to remove a few words here and there might not seem like much. But if you consistently do this when editing your business documents, you can de-clutter your business writing, make it easier to read and increase its effectiveness.