How to edit an essay

When you’re rushing to meet a deadline sometimes it feels like there isn’t time to even have a quick read through, let alone a proper edit, but good editing can be the difference between an average grade and an excellent one! It’s really worth building ‘editing time’ into your work schedule to make sure your paper is as good as it can be. Here are some ways to make sure that time is well spent…

Tip 1:

When you’ve finished writing your paper put it aside for a bit. It’s hard to edit effectively when you’ve only just finished writing. Have a break, and come back to it.

Tip 2:

If there are mistakes you make regularly you probably won’t notice them. Make a list of your common mistakes before getting down to editing your paper, and use it as a check list. Try different ‘read-throughs’ each time paying attention to a specific grammar issue, such as verb conjugations or use of accents.

Tip 3:

Try reading your paper aloud. It can help you notice mistakes or parts that don’t make sense. It’s also a great way of checking the punctuation marks are in the right places.

Tip 4:

Keep in mind the important characteristics of a good essay: the focus or main idea, good structure, coherent argument, and clear development of ideas.

Your essay should contain a clear thesis statement;
It should be organized in several paragraphs logically connected to each other;
Each paragraph should include necessary evidence, arguments, and details that support your thesis.

Tip 5:

Check facts, statistics, quotations, etc. Make sure they are correct and reliable and that you have cited all sources properly.

Tip 6:

Try getting a friend to read through your paper – they can point out which parts don’t make sense. Or even better, come to the Writing Centre where a tutor can help you!

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