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16.02 Extent of revision

In establishing a revision method, you should keep in mind the time available, the cost of revision, the sensitivities of the person or persons whose work you are about to revise, and above all the end use of the document at hand. A report to be read by a small group of experts for information purposes may require proofreading, not revision, and attention to style and usage will be cursory. In revising a draft of your organization’s annual report, however, you will have to detect, and correct, errors of many different types. Revision in this context may entail making improvements to or even recasting portions of a document which contains few, if any, errors of typography, grammar or usage but which requires changes in style and a reorganization of ideas.

For most purposes, you will deliver a satisfactory product if you eliminate, in accordance with the recommendations in the relevant chapters of this guide, errors of the types listed in 16.05 Sequence. The guidelines presented below are based on the premise that the goal of revision is generally not to rewrite a text or make it conform to the reviser’s personal preferences, but to identify errors and correct them. They may be adapted to fit the specific conditions under which the work is being performed and the end use of the document.