Revising is about more than fixing
mistakes, it is about re-visioning or seeing again. Given the
time between your first and final drafts, may have been able to do more
thinking and reading. You may have received feedback from a classmate
or the professor. Rereading your first draft might have sparked some
new ideas or revealed problem areas that you didn't notice the first time
Chs 14 & 17 (pp. 203-210; 249-269). If you are
able to, I also recommend that you take your drafts (along with the
relevant) assignment guidelines) to the
GRCC Writing Center (RLC 173, Mon-Fri 9 am - 3 pm;
online tutoring available; check hours for summer quarter) or the Tutoring and Resource Center on
the 2nd floor of Holman Library (check hours). These
centers have trained tutors who can
help you fulfill the requirements of your writing assignment, identify
problem areas, and help you to edit and revise your essays without doing the
work for you. Ultimately, your revision process and the
final draft are your own responsibility. Don't rely on anyone else,
including the professor of the course, to point out everything that needs to
be fixed, improved or reorganized.
In particular, beyond correcting
mistakes, you should even be attentive to improving your style. This
is very time-consuming, and only you can make the required effort to see
positive results in this regard. Below you will find a worksheet that
you can use to go through your draft several times to improve style and
Print out a hardcopy of your own papers and mark them up
heartlessly! Also go through any revising checklists in a handbook you
may have. You might use a highlighter and different colored pens for
the worksheet below.
- [ ] Bracket the first clause
or element (words or phrases) of each
sentence. Here are some examples: "[The hills] are alive
with the sound of music" (this sentence begins with the subject).
"[With the sound of music,] the hills are alive" (this sentence begins
with an adverbial (prepositional) clause). Going through your entire
draft and bracketing the beginning elements will allow you to see if you
have sentence variety or if you are relying on the same sentence structure
(the most common sentence structure is subject-verb, e.g., "I go."). If
your sentences don't have sufficient variety, change some of them: e.g.,
move some adverbs and adverbial modifiers to the beginning, or try inverting some
- D Place a triangle around each
use of a pronoun in your paper (it, I, me, she, they, him, these, etc.). What does
"it" refer to? In general, avoid the use of first person (I, me) in
academic writing unless you are relating a personal experience.
- X Put an "X" through filler words that add
clutter: e.g., there are, a lot, very, really, at this point, so (if it as an intensifier,
as in "so neat"); avoid beginning sentences with "It is."
- ===== Double underline all verbs: examine them for
interest, intensity, and precision. Instead of generic verbs, e.g., "We walked
through the park," stretch for more vivid possibilities: "We skipped, meandered,
- O Circle all
forms of the verb "to be": is, am, was, be, being, been, were, are, etc.,
and make them stronger, e.g., "The cows were eating in the pasture" can
become "Lazily, the cows grazed in the pasture." Correct unnecessary
instances of passive voice to active, e.g., "It is believed that this bill
will resolve the problems of deforestation" should become "Senator X
believes that this bill will resolve the problems of deforestation."
- ____ Underline the topic sentence of each paragraph. Make
sure you have just one. Does it connect to the thesis (main claim) of your paper?
Have you included support for the topic sentence? Have you analyzed the support,
explaining what it means, why it is important, and how it connects to your thesis?