Revising your paper is not skimming a paper while watching TV or
listening to a CD. Revising is focusing on many elements in your draft.
- Does everything in your paper support your thesis, or have you
gone off the topic? No matter how much you like a point or a
sentence, if it is off the topic, you must cut it.
- Does one generalization follow naturally from the previous one?
and lead naturally to the next generalization? Will their
connection be clear to the reader? Fill in any jumps between
- Have you made clear how the details are connected to a
generalization? If not, connect them.
- Have you organized your material so that all your discussion of
a generalization is in one place in your essay, or does the same
generalization get discussed in more than one place in the essay?
Combine all discussion of one generalization in one place, and cut any
- Have you repeated a point more than once? Have you said the
same thing over and over? Are you being repetitious, as I am right
now? If so, cut the repetitions.
- Is the grammar correct? For example, do the verbs and subjects
agree? have you used the correct verb forms?
- Is the punctuation correct? For example, do you have any run-on sentences or fragments?
- Have you used the correct form of a word (e.g., believe
rather than belief)?
- Are words spelled correctly? With spell check, there is no
excuse for misspelled words.
Once you write a complete draft of your essay, you revise it--adding material, deleting
material, and making corrections. You wordprocess or handwrite a draft which incorporates
all your changes and corrections. You then continue the revision process--
you revise your paper again...and then again...and then maybe
revise it some more, even if you are sick of working on the paper. Now you are ready
to hand in your paper.
Online Writing Resources
If you have questions about writing, grammar, punctuation, footnotes, etc., you will probably
find the answer on these Websites.
The Purdue Online Writing Lab
Handouts on general Language (such as writing for an American
audience and help with English conventions), grammar, spelling, and punctuation,
research and documenting sources (including MLA and APA styles), professional writing
(such as resumes and cover letters), and writing across the curriculum (incorporating
writing into a variety of disciplines).
Online Resources Provided by Writing Centers
Comprehensive list of resources for writers. Index of handouts provided by writing centers across the country. Directory
of grammar hotlines. Online tutoring. Online writing resources, like Strunk and White's Elements of Style,
dictionaries, and a Guide to Grammar and Writing.
Writer's Reference Desk.