Revising and Editing

Remember that editing is the last step in the process!

Tips for revising your paper

  • Review the thesis. Do you have a clear thesis statement in the introduction? What is the point of your paper? Does the reader have a good idea of what to expect to read or learn about in your paper?
  • Check your topic sentences. Are they all related to the thesis or did you go off the topic?
  • As you read each paragraph, make sure that the information connects to the topic sentence. Try restating the topic sentence at the end of the paragraph to see if it still sounds logical.
  • Are your examples relevant to the topic?
  • Find a better way to explain one idea/sentence in each paragraph. You can do this by rewriting a sentence so that it is more direct or more clearly written, or you can add another example with an explanation relating it to the main idea (topic sentence.)
  • Does one paragraph lead logically into the next? You can use an interesting sentence, example, question, transition word or phrase to keep the reader’s attention.
  • Is there a conclusion at the end of the paper? Is it clear? Don’t leave the reader hanging. What are the logical conclusions the reader should reach based on what you have written? You should include those in your paper and consider putting those ideas in your conclusion.

Hint: Give your paper to someone else to read. This can be a classmate, tutor, a professor or even a relative or friend. You can ask a professor to read 1-2 pages to see if you are on the right track. Remember, this may be more reasonable than expecting the professor to read and comment on the entire paper.

But don’t limit yourself to your professor. You might benefit from letting others read your paper as well:

  • A classmate will have some knowledge of the topic.
  • A tutor has experience helping others revise and edit.
  • A professor knows exactly what is desired.
  • A friend or relative will have a fresh eye since they are not in your class. They can ask questions that will tell you where to add information or explain your idea more clearly.

All readers should let you know what is clearly and informative and what is unclear or needs more information or details. If they don’t get it, you need to revise the paper and make it better!

Tips for editing a paper

When you edit a paper, you look for errors in grammar, punctuation, and sentence style.

  • Read your paper aloud to yourself. You will find that you are able to hear some of the errors and can correct them.
  • Learn your top 3 errors in writing. Focus on finding these types of errors in your paper.
  • Look for your usual errors in your paper by pointing to areas where they might be. For example, if you forget to use the past tense, point to the verbs and check the form of the verb. If you use commas instead of periods at the ends of sentences, point to all commas and make sure they are correct. Do you need a period there instead?

For more suggestions on revision and editing, consult Drafts, Editing, and Revision.

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