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Tuesday, June 28, 2016 Tips for Editing Your Own Paper

It’s the night before your paper’s due and you feel like it needs a major overhaul. The format looks great, thanks to your roommate who’s a pro with Turabian, but you worry about what’s inside the paper. The Writing Center is closed, and you are starting to worry.

Don’t stress; sit down and check out these tips for editing your own paper.

1. Read your thesis (or add one if you don’t have it), then compare it to your paper as a whole.

Make sure that each paragraph relates to your thesis and that there is a logical flow to it. Look at the order of your paragraphs and make sure they transition from weakest argument to strongest argument. Also make sure your thesis reflects your major points in the same order as your paragraphs. This will help you see several things: whether you added random arguments in your paper, whether your paragraphs are ordered properly, and whether your thesis reflects a good argument.

2. Look at each paragraph as a whole.

Make sure that your topic sentence and your conclusion sentence (yes, you need a conclusion sentence) relate to each other in some capacity. It’s really easy to lose focus within a paragraph. Also make sure that you explicitly state your argument (or point) for each paragraph. Just because you thought about it while you were writing, doesn’t mean that it’s written down.

3. Look at each sentence as a whole.

Make sure that if you have a quote, you explain it. Make sure that each sentence transitions or relates to the following sentences. Make sure that you have varying sentence lengths (sentences that are the same length tend to make choppy, awkward papers).

4. Look at each word as a whole (and read backwards).

Make sure you don’t have any grammar mistakes! One tip that many coaches swear by is reading your paper backwards. You’ll catch tons of grammar mistakes that way. If you have a question about grammar, consult our other blog posts or other outside resources. You can do it!

Posted at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)
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